If you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
A simple explanation of the word “theology” goes like this: the word we use to refer to what we know about God. In our culture today, this term is often a topic to be avoided, even among a majority of Christian circles. Unfortunately, it has mainly been seen by many to be only divisive, irrelevant, and confusing. Once we allow for the smoke of contention to clear and then grasp onto a proper, non-complicated definition of what theology actually is, we are then able to discover many reasons why studying theology is vital to our lives, both personally and relationally.
- One of the most essential reasons for studying theology is to seek a right understanding of who God really is. Our omniscient Father knows us fully and offers Himself to be known in increasing capacity by His children. When we seek to feed our minds with the nourishment of correct teaching, then we are able to lay a pure foundation of truth from which our joy, praise, and adoration can be securely erected. Without a solid frame of a true view of God, an unhealthy-- even eternally risky-- imbalance is constructed that will falter over time. John Piper in his book, “Think,” makes a worthy statement regarding this particular imbalance: “The apex of glorifying God is enjoying him with the heart. But this is an empty emotionalism where that joy is not awakened and sustained by true views of God for who he really is.”
- Another important reason for studying theology actually goes hand in hand with the previous one. As we build a healthy framework of a sufficient understanding of who God is, we are then better equipped for reading and comprehending the Word He has given us. The primary tool that God has given us to study and learn about Himself is His written word, the Bible. Because He is our ultimate source of truth, then the very words that He has provided us with are our foremost vein to receive true teaching about Himself. When we allow ourselves to go deeper into his revealed truth as we add to our right thinking about him, then we move on from not only knowing about God, but actually knowing Him, our Creator and Lord.
- Not only is studying theology healthy for us personally, but it is also crucial for the health of the ministries that we lead. The very last thing we as ministry leaders should be guilty of is unintentionally directing souls down the road to hell via our good intentions and deficient teaching about the Lord. The Bible is very direct about the seriousness of the role of teachers in ministry: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (James 3:1). God is the holy Author of all truth. Those of us who desire to lead others to Him must fully embrace the expectations that are placed upon us by tirelessly digging, wrestling, and desiring to know God for who He really is.
- Last, but not least, one of the most provoking reasons to study theology and accordingly teach truth to others is to be a platform for which the Holy Spirit’s work and movement is unleashed and not hindered. One particular example of this position from Scripture is found in Acts 19:1-7. In this situation, Paul encounters a dozen Christians in Ephesus who were being discipled, yet were being taught crucial doctrines incorrectly. Once this was discovered by Paul, he began to teach them the solid truths of the gospel. It wasn’t until this confrontation with truth that the Holy Spirit’s blessing was unleashed upon them. Until this point, God had withheld the pouring out of his Spirit until they had received right teaching about Himself. Those of us who desire to teach others about God must grasp the importance of seeking and discerning factual views of the Lord in order to be a catalyst for the Spirit’s blessing and not a stumbling block. Paul’s specific directions to Timothy were, “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16).
As we grow in our knowledge and understanding of God, then we are led even further to worship, which would be the primary goal of studying theology. The deeper we dig for insight and seek for understanding like silver, the more we are able to truly and accurately behold our Maker. We find that each glimpse leaves us craving another and our souls are increasingly satisfied. We then discover the promised “hidden treasure” of theology... the treasure of delighting in Him.