What is Theology?

Theology. It tends to have a negative connotation for many Christians. It conjures up images of stuffy old men spending hours studying scripture just so they can tell people when they are wrong about God. It’s often tied to those who are judgmental, hypocritical, and angry.

For many Christians, just the mention of the word makes their eyes gloss over. We simply don’t understand what theology means.

Theology Defined

Theology in its most basic form is the study of God and religious belief. It’s learning about who God is, how He thinks, what He values, and how we as men and women should respond to Him.

To put it in terms of a relationship, theology is those moments where you learn something new about the person you’re dating. It’s those exciting deeper glimpses into the truth of the object of your affection.

Theology is all about getting to know the truth about who God really is. Something that should be of utmost importance to any follower of Christ.

Why Theology is Important

A.W. Tozer, a well-known early 20th century theologian, is famous for saying:

What you think about when you think about God is the most important thing about you.

Think about that for a minute. The thoughts you have concerning God are the most important part of who you are. Not because nothing else in your life is important. But what you think about concerning God shapes you more than any other experience, relationship, or circumstance in your life.

If you think God is distant and uncaring, you will go through life believing you don’t matter.

If you think God is some universal punisher, you will be afraid to ever make a mistake.

If you think God is just up there waiting to strike you down, you will never want to grow close to Him.

If you think God is just some nice old man who has a hard time moving, you will never make Him the center of your life.

If you think God doesn’t exist, you’ll spend your life trying to prove to others that He isn’t real.

What you think about when you think about God shapes you more than you know. That’s why theology — the study of God and our relationship to Him — is so important.

The wrong thought about God left unchecked can set you down a path of ruin in your life.

Where Do I Start?

So where do you start in this study of God? How do you know if the thoughts you have about God are true?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Get involved in a local church or a campus ministry group. Hearing the Word of God taught on a regular basis will help you understand more about who God is and will reveal the areas where you might have the wrong ideas about God.
  • Read the Bible. There is no way around this. If you want to know who God is, you need to read the Bible. It’s through the Bible that God reveals Himself to us. You can find a number of resources to help you get into scripture and understand it in the resources section of our website.
  • Find a mentor. Having someone who can take an outside look into your life will help you see where you might have some wrong thoughts about God. A good mentor will lovingly point out where your actions, words, and thoughts don’t line up with who God truly is.
  • Read the works of other theologians. People like Jonathan Edwards, Martin Luther, AW Tozer, Ignatius, Brother Lawrence, CS Lewis, and countless others will help you get a clearly image of God.

Theology is incredibly important for any one choosing to follow after Christ. Don’t allow the perception around theology cause you to miss out on learning more about this God we follow.

What other resources would you suggest for getting to know God on a deeper level? Leave a comment below.

Image via fusion-of-horizons cc