There are a lot of remarks people make that can discourage or frustrate me.
“We’re leaving the church.”
“I got a detention.”
“The doctor just called, and it’s not good.”
One that really gets me is when a Christian says: “Yeah, well, I’m just not a theologian. You study the theology. I just want a relationship with God.”
Here’s the truth: If you are alive, you are a theologian; that is, you have beliefs about God. Now, your theology may not be specialized (Systematic, Reformed, Historical, etc.). Your theology might even be “God doesn’t exist.” But you are a theologian, and that means that theology is important for you and it should be important to you.
Let me give you just two reasons for why studying/learning biblical theology is a good thing. The first I’ll take from another writer. The second will come from Scripture.
1. Learning biblical theology is learning what God said about himself.
“Theological categories enable us to more fully and more deeply rejoice in God’s glory. Simple truths are wonderful. It is good for us to sing simple songs like “God is good. All the time!” If you sing that in sincere faith, the Lord is very pleased. But he is also pleased when we can sing and pray about how exactly he has been good to us in the plan of salvation and in the scope of salvation history. He is pleased when we can glory in the completed work of Christ, and rest in his all-encompassing providence, and marvel at his infinity and aseity, when we can delight in his holiness and mediate on his three-ness and one-ness and stand in awe at his omniscience and omnipotence. These theological categories are not meant to give us bigger heads, but bigger hearts that worship deeper and higher because of what we’ve seen in God.”
Kevin DeYoung, “Why We Must Be Unapologetically Theological”
For me, sitting down and reading the Bible (not for study or teaching prep, just reading) is like having coffee with an old friend. There’s just something “good” about it. But part of a strong, growing friendship is probing each other for knowledge and insight into each other’s worlds. You can have coffee with an acquaintance; a friendship takes much more.
God wants to be far more than just your acquaintance or Savior or God. A strong relationship with God does not happen without learning biblical theology at some level. Knowing him better leads to loving him more.
2. Studying biblical theology is God’s will for every Christian.
“[God] wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:4
“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the honor both now and on that eternal day.” 2 Peter 3:18
In case the practical side didn’t quite do it for you, here’s the other side. God not only wants you to have a strong friendship with him, he wants you to want a strong friendship with him. So, by command, he encourages us, “Learn about Me. Grow in your knowledge about Me.”
And just to make sure that we had no excuses, he gave us 1) the written Bible to read and study on our own; 2) the Holy Spirit to provide insight and cause growth; and 3) human teachers to teach us directly and answer our questions.
So, what’s holding you back from being the theologian that God wants you to be?