How To Become A Better Theologian
Between the “already” of our conversion and the “not yet” of our final home going, few things are more important in our Christian life than a practical and functional level of biblical literacy.
But if you’re anything like me, disciplining ourselves to increase that literacy will be a struggle. So here are four more reasons to study the Bible, even when you don’t “feel” like it:
You are a theologian. Not an academic theologian, studying biblical history and languages in the library of a seminary, but an “everyday theologian.” Every day, you and I interpret our experiences through the lens of theology. We make assumptions and draw conclusions about God, ourselves, and our world.
Dangerously, most of us do this on the fly, without valid biblical reasoning. And perhaps even more dangerously, we don’t even know that we’re making them! This is why Bible study is so wonderfully helpful. It gives us an “origin-to-destiny” perspective on all that was, all that is, and all that will be, so we can correctly understand our world and respond appropriately to it.
There’s never been a day when we don’t need a practical, functional, “street-level” direction for everyday living.
- What should I say in this conversation?
- How should I respond to that situation?
- What should I plan to do in this location?
Nearly every hour is marked with moments of decision, not huge, life-changing decisions, but 10,000 little moments of decision that will shape our life and legacy.
Because we live in 10,000 little moments of decision, it’s so comforting to know that God’s Word operates as “a lamp to our feet and a light to our path” (Psalm 119:105). When we study the Scriptures, we’re unlocking a spiritual GPS that helps us navigate these 10,000 moments of decision.
Commitment to Ministry
God’s Word reminds us again and again that the most significant work in the universe is his work of redemption. We are not only blessed to be recipients of grace but simultaneously called to be instruments of that same grace in the lives of others.
The Bible defines how we participate in the ministry of grace. There are many passages in Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:20, 1 Peter 5:1-10, and 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 are just a few. The more you study the Word of God, the more you will be committed to and skilled in the practical ministry lifestyle to which all of us have been called.
A Deeper Love For Jesus
The Bible is not a collection of stories or a catalog of wisdom statements, but rather a single narrative running from cover to cover – the celebration of Jesus. Every passage looks forward to him, puts hope in him, points to what he alone can fix, or looks back at him with gratitude.
Do you want to love Jesus more? Then study your Bible more! Increasing your practical and functional level of biblical literacy will do so much more than give you academic expertise. It will put Jesus before you, reminding you again and again of his presence, plan, power, and promises. It will cause you to remember that Jesus is God’s greatest gift to you, and the result will be a deeper love for him and a more vibrant celebration of his grace.
1. Have you made any theological assumptions “on the fly” recently that were determined more by emotion or circumstance than Scripture? Even if they were temporary, how can these conclusions be dangerous to your spiritual health and relationship with Christ?
2. Review two or three of the 10,000 little moments of decision that you had to make this week. How did the Word of God provide you with direction and light for those moments? Be specific.
3. Consider a moment of decision when you followed God’s direction. How did that result in blessing? Consider another moment of decision when you followed your way instead? What was the result?
4. Where is God calling you to be an instrument of grace? How can you practically make the invisible grace of Jesus visible to someone who needs it? Commit right now to do something different this week to free you up for ministry opportunities.
5. As cliché as it sounds, why do you love Jesus? Be specific in your answer, considering how his presence, plan, power, and promises have radically changed your life. How should your love for Jesus radically change the way you live today?