Why Does Theology Matter?

Alex Ghelli

When we embark on the journey of theology, we often confine it to the walls of classrooms and Bible schools. However, theology is not just a subject of study but a vast and all-encompassing field that invites us to explore the very nature of God and the profound implications of His word in our lives. Let us delve into the etymology of the word theology. (Theos)—God Ology—The study of. According to (Erickson,2001), Theology is defined as the careful systematic study, analysis, and statement of doctrine. 

So that leads to the question of how one studies the God of creation and the universe. How do we learn sound doctrine and theology? We study the Bible, which is God’s word. The Bible, as the primary source of theological knowledge, provides us with a comprehensive understanding of God’s character and His will for our lives. When we think of theology, we must stay faithful to the bible as stated in Titus 1:9: “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to instruct in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” (Titus 1:9; ESV). This is the only way to protect and accurately understand theological concepts through scripture study. We also look to early church fathers and experiences to learn more about these theological concepts.  For example, we can look at the canonization of scripture; the canonization of scripture was done to protect the doctrine of Christianity, according to (Highfield,2008). This was to stop those spreading a false gospel and certify the accurate teachings. “Since canonization was completed, the church has expected all its teachers to root their teaching in canonical Scripture. Teachers who want to be recognized as “Christian” should expect to have their theology judged by Scripture.” (Highfield,2008) This was also to protect faithful bible teachers from going “bad” or pulling people into a false doctrine.

So, this leads to why theology is essential to the average believer. The average believer might argue that they are not a bible teacher, so why would it matter? Why is this important to me, Alex? I would tell you that theology is your opportunity to know God more intimately and thoroughly. That is critical to the entirety of the Christian life. This should be the desire of all who call themselves Christians to get closer to God and grow that relationship. On top of that, I would argue that understanding fundamental theological principles protects you from the dangers of false teachers. We know many out there will twist the word of God. This protects you from making decisions based on false teachings.  If part of theology is teaching, which, according to Sarah Coakley, it is by calling theology “an integrated presentation of Christian truth . . . [that] must attempt to provide a coherent, and alluring, vision of the Christian faith.” (Bird, 2020) This leads to the point that if we investigate scripture, we are all called to be teachers of the word of God and the doctrine of Christianity. Jesus ‘ greatest commandment is to make disciples of all nations and to teach them. The key here is in this verse. “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20; ESV) This was not just a suggestion from Jesus. It was a command. That is why Theology is essential to all believers, regardless of their role in the church or society.

References

Bird, M. F. (2020). Evangelical theology (2nd ed.). Zondervan Academic.

Highfield, R. (2008). Great is the lord. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Erickson, M. J. (2001). Introducing Christian Doctrine (1st ed., pp. 16–18). Baker Academic.

English Standard Version Bible. (2001)

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