Theology is fun. Do you believe that? Perhaps you’re one who finds theology intimidating—even boring. I think all Christians can fall into that boat on occasion. But do you remain in that boat?
For many Christians, theology is a buzzkill. They simply want Jesus, nothing else. Problem is, when someone asks who Jesus is, your answer is—wait for it!—theology. As much as some may desire to avoid all things theology, as Christians, we can’t escape it. Nor should we want to.
As a matter of fact, we need theology. As the study of God, simply defined, theology is the way we come to know God through His Word. Without theology, knowing God would be impossible. That is why it’s so vital to be students of the Word, for that is what theology really is: being students of the Word.
So what does theology do?
Inform Your Mind
Theology should be informative. At the base level, when you study theology, you’re going to know more about God. You’re going to be more intelligent when it comes to various doctrines of our faith and understand things better. That’s great. We want to be informed, for we cannot know God intimately if we do not know Him intellectually.
The pitfall, of course, is when we use theology as the end goal. Theology is not meant to be the end, but simply the means to an end—the end being worshiping and knowing God. When theology becomes the end is when we dive into idolatry.
As Marshall Segal writes at Desiring God:
We have often loved what we’ve learned about God more than God himself….Good theology is a means to enjoying and worshiping God, or it is useless.
If we seek to honor, worship, and praise God correctly, we must understand theology as a means to that end—not that end itself. Scary enough, it’s more than possible to be a theological egghead and not be in Christ. Theology doesn’t save you. Jesus does.
Soften Your Heart
Theology should soften your heart. The more you study theology, the softer and more receptive your heart should be to God’s commands. To be sure, God is the one who softens our hearts, we but we have responsibility for receptiveness as well.
John Piper said this:
God is the decisive cause of unhardening my heart, but my acting is a real, essential part of the miracle taking place.
Who softens the heart: God or man? Yes. And I when we study theology, what we’re really doing is just learning more and more about God. If we are in the right mindset, the truths we learn and comprehend will penetrate our hearts and soften them. Our hearts, even as Christians, are oftentimes too hard. When we do theology, our hearts show soften—soften to God’s promises, God’s commands, and God’s rule and reign.
But when our hearts do soften, we will take great comfort in our God. We will believe His promises more, seek Him more earnestly, and obey Him more faithfully.
Worship Your God
Theology should, in the end, cause us to worship God. That is the end goal—to adore and praise God! We study theology, study Scripture, to learn more about God and all the ways He is faithful. When we read theology, allow it to soften our hearts, that will naturally lead to worship.
It doesn’t matter what theological topic you’re reading—whether it’s the account of creation, the atonement of Jesus Christ, the intricacies of the Trinity, or the second coming of Christ—all theology should lead us to worship God.
Studying the account of creation should cause us to worship God and His creative power.
Reading about the atonement of Jesus Christ should compel us to worship God and His sovereign grace in offering His Son for our sins.
Reviewing the second coming of Christ should make us worship God and His promise to come back in the person of Jesus Christ and fulfill all His promises.
Christian, you should read theology. Whether it’s studying different theological concepts in Scripture or reading the latest systematic theology, you must do all things to the end of worshiping and praising God for what He’s done. Don’t be intimidated by theology; go at your own pace.
We will not come to know God more if we neglect to read theology and study His Word. So study up!