Theology 101 An Introduction Feature Image

This article announces a series of studies to be presented on the greatest subject in the universe: The Triune God.

The inquiry is entitled Theology 101 because it is, as the title suggests, a fundamental study. Thus, it will be accessible to those who do not have formal theological training or who haven’t read much theology. However, it should not be inferred that the studies will be simplistic.

What is theology? Three definitions will answer the question. Simply put, theology is the study of God.

Theology professor, Kevin Zuber, provides further illumination. He writes, “The goal of theology is personal knowledge of God Himself and a close, living relationship with Him.” Zuber presents the meaning of theology in terms of its intended end. His understanding of theology in these terms comports with the words of Jesus in His high priestly prayer found in John 17:3. There, theology takes on the dimension that it has eternal consequences.

Another theologian, John Frame, offers this definition, “The application of the Word of God to all areas of life.”

Theological inquiry is not a mere intellectual exercise; though, without question, the intellect must be exercised. Theology involves all of our life. These theologians connect theology to the practical and eternal life of the student of theology.

The great British pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) expressed the practical reality of theology. At the tender age of twenty years, Spurgeon preached with characteristic eloquence the following words about the study of God:

“There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the      Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity… no subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind than thoughts of God. But while the subject humbles the mind, it also expands it…

The most excellent study of the soul is the science of Christ, and Him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing magnifies the soul of a man as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity.”

Spurgeon’s words reveal an understanding of the comprehensive benediction conferred on the believer’s inner life in the study of God.

In addition to these great blessings that attend the student engaged in the study of God, Spurgeon addresses the consolatory effects of contemplating the Deity:

“Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief, and in the influence of the Holy Spirit, there is a balsam for every sore.

Would you lose your sorrow? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in His immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated.”

“Theology is not an ivory tower pursuit disconnected from the sometimes-difficult facts of life in a sin-cursed, fallen world,” Spurgeon contends. He is right! God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). This is a theological statement. It relates God to our trouble and the protection and strength He grants us.

Such a God is worthy of our growing knowledge. Do not retreat from knowing Him better. Instead, embrace the investigation of Him from Whom all things come, Who sustains all things, and for Whom all things exist (Romans 11:36).

Christians should also study God to become better theologians. All people are theologians; they are either good or bad ones. The importance of thinking rightly about God is illustrated in Job 42:7-8. There, God is angry with two of the patriarch’s friend-counselors who had spoken wrongly about God. Their theological pronouncements about Job’s sufferings were not only errant, but Yahweh called it “folly.”

Far be it from us to have our understanding of God labeled folly by Him. To avoid that, we will draw from God’s self-revelation—Scripture, rightly interpreted to study Him.