Why Should I Bother To Study Theology?

Why should I be interested in Theology, at all, let alone study it?  Isn’t the study of Theology something that pastors, or ministers of religion, do?  Isn’t Theology just for scholars?

There is no doubt that many persons believe only pastors should study Theology or that all theologians are scholars.  Some may even believe that only scholars should become theologians.  That, however, is not true.  Indeed, some would say that everyone should become a theologian.  Listen, for example, to what Charles Ryrie had to say:  

“Theology is for everyone. Indeed, everyone needs to be a theologian. In reality, everyone is a theologian — of one sort or another. And therein lies the problem. There is nothing wrong with being an amateur theologian or a professional theologian, but there is everything wrong with being an ignorant or sloppy theologian.”  — Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology (Wheaton, IL: 1986), 9.

Based on what Ryrie is quoted as saying, each of us (including you) NEEDS to be a theologian.  I agree with him and I do so for two main reasons: 1) We are already theologians and 2) our theologies affect us in many, many ways, almost daily.

We are already theologians in the sense that each of us has a theology.  How is that possible, you ask?  Well, the answer lies in understanding that a theologian is, essentially, anyone who has a belief about God, about how God is and about what God does.  To put it another way … IF you have a view about why there is something instead of nothing … about why you are here or the purpose of life … about the difference between right and wrong … and about what happens after death, THEN you have a theology … and you are a theologian.

In addition to that fact — that each of us has a theology — there is the reality that the theologies we have guide us and influence us in a number of ways, including …

  • when we think about God,
  • when we read the Bible,
  • when we decide which church to attend,
  • when we choose schools for our children,
  • when we get sick, 
  • when we lose a loved one,
  • when we defend what we believe,
  • when we vote,
  • when we plan for the future,
  • when we decide on whom to marry.

Charles Ryrie, quoted above, said that we all need to become theologians.  Well, truth be told, we are already theologians.  So, the important question is really NOT about whether or not we should become theologians or whether we should study Theology.  The important question is about what kind of theologians are we going to be.  Will we be good theologians … or bad theologians?  will we embrace good theology … or bad theology? 

It seems logical to me that IF theology influences behaviour and the the choices we make, THEN bad theology will lead to bad behaviour and wrong choices AND it behoves us, therefore, to do what we can to ensure we embrace good theology and become good theologians.  If that means we “bother” to study Theology, then so be it.

NOTE:  Over the next few days and weeks, visitors to this site, should see more articles on the subject of Theology and, hopefully, in the not too distant future, a course (or courses) on theological, as well as biblical, studies.  So, stay tuned. The best is yet to come.  /MM



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