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Owen
Apr 24th 2007, 07:59 AM
I have a question for all of the people who like to study theology in some form or fashion.

Why do you study theology?

Jesusinmyheart
Apr 24th 2007, 02:29 PM
Yeah, i'm curious myself. I study the Word, which leads me to the right Faith and all that needs to go along with that. Why study anything else ?

aurora77
Apr 24th 2007, 02:35 PM
It's fascinating. I study theology, because in the 2000 year history of Christianity there have been some amazing Bible scholars and religious thinkers. Their wisdom is a treasure for all of us.

threebigrocks
Apr 24th 2007, 02:53 PM
For myself for understanding of scripture, directive toward sanctification and righteousness out of love and desire to know the character of the One who gave His life so that I may have life.

Thing is, the more I know the more I can't keep it to myself. The more I have to do and share.

Toolman
Apr 24th 2007, 03:25 PM
To know God and to help others know Him.

Frances
Apr 24th 2007, 05:41 PM
Why do you study theology?

Are you asking why folk study the Word of God? or why they get involved in what is taught at theological colleges? in my experience they are 2 different things.

punk
Apr 24th 2007, 06:01 PM
Personally, I'm always looking for new and different ways to look at things (be it the world around me or a text). I don't see any reason to assume the way I've looked at things up to now is the correct one, or even any reason to assume the way the majority of peole look at something (and have looked at it for centuries) is the right one.

So I read theology to find new ways to look at biblical passages, and maybe find that the way I've read it the past is totally wrong.

I certainly don't find much interest in reading things that I assume I'm already largely going to agree with.

matthew94
Apr 24th 2007, 06:19 PM
To know God and to help others know Him.

I'll second that

Souled Out
Apr 24th 2007, 08:00 PM
Cause I was immature in my thinking, reasoning that "If the bible said to do it, then I’m just going to do it," figuring I was being obedient, not understanding what the sum of God’s word meant. There was a whole lotta doin' and not much growin' . It didn't profit much.

Jesusinmyheart
Apr 24th 2007, 08:05 PM
Personally, I'm always looking for new and different ways to look at things (be it the world around me or a text). I don't see any reason to assume the way I've looked at things up to now is the correct one, or even any reason to assume the way the majority of peole look at something (and have looked at it for centuries) is the right one.

Agreed, not a bad thing, but i tend to go to scripture first to make sure i'm certain i understand what God is saying before i read Commentaries or theological pieces. Then i only do so for further clarification and maybe deeper understanding.
However, i remain very openminded to multiple applications to the Word.


So I read theology to find new ways to look at biblical passages, and maybe find that the way I've read it the past is totally wrong.

I'm curious, how do determine that what you've read in the past is totally wrong ?

Owen
Apr 24th 2007, 08:41 PM
Are you asking why folk study the Word of God? or why they get involved in what is taught at theological colleges? in my experience they are 2 different things.

I am referring to the whole pursuit of theology for a Christian, which generally includes both.

Owen
Apr 24th 2007, 08:42 PM
To know God and to help others know Him.

By knowing God, what do you mean? And how does it help you to know God?

Owen
Apr 24th 2007, 08:46 PM
For myself for understanding of scripture, directive toward sanctification and righteousness out of love and desire to know the character of the One who gave His life so that I may have life.

Thing is, the more I know the more I can't keep it to myself. The more I have to do and share.

So do you pursue theology for holiness or do you mean something else? And is your pursuit of theology driven for oneself or for others as well? You said you can't keep it to yourself, but is it naturally a burden you take upon to help others?

Owen
Apr 24th 2007, 08:46 PM
Personally, I'm always looking for new and different ways to look at things (be it the world around me or a text). I don't see any reason to assume the way I've looked at things up to now is the correct one, or even any reason to assume the way the majority of peole look at something (and have looked at it for centuries) is the right one.

So I read theology to find new ways to look at biblical passages, and maybe find that the way I've read it the past is totally wrong.

I certainly don't find much interest in reading things that I assume I'm already largely going to agree with.

And why do you continue to search for the right understanding?

Teke
Apr 24th 2007, 08:50 PM
I have a question for all of the people who like to study theology in some form or fashion.

Why do you study theology?
:)
As Lossky said,
"Christian theology is always in the last resort a means: a unity of knowledge subserving an end which transcends all knowledge. This ultimate end is union with God."

Toolman
Apr 24th 2007, 08:54 PM
By knowing God, what do you mean?

Well, I believe that the scriptures are a supernatural revelation of God (i.e. not just the natural revelation). Therefore when I study the scriptures (i.e. study God) and study what the Body understands from the scriptures then I am learning things about God that do not come naturally.

When I learn of the Trinity (theology), or justification by faith in Christ alone (soteriology), or Christ's dual nature (Christology), or man's sinful condition (anthropology), or God's view of justice or His love for sinners (God's attributes), etc. it shows me who God is and how He thinks, helping me to better understand His thoughts and know Him (even if through a glass darkly).


And how does it help you to know God?

Because the scripture is the supernatural revelation of God that cannot be had naturally. The scripture reveals God in a manner that is not found elsewhere.

Faith (knowing God) comes from hearing the word of God. Without knowing God, through His word, we come up short in understanding His revelation to us of Himself.

Those are my thoughts anyhoo :)

Owen
Apr 24th 2007, 09:17 PM
Well, I believe that the scriptures are a supernatural revelation of God (i.e. not just the natural revelation). Therefore when I study the scriptures (i.e. study God) and study what the Body understands from the scriptures then I am learning things about God that do not come naturally.

But what about the skeptic who studies the Bible and Christian theology? Do they receive the same benefit?


When I learn of the Trinity (theology), or justification by faith in Christ alone (soteriology), or Christ's dual nature (Christology), or man's sinful condition (anthropology), or God's view of justice or His love for sinners (God's attributes), etc. it shows me who God is and how He thinks, helping me to better understand His thoughts and know Him (even if through a glass darkly).

What is the benefit of understanding His thoughts and knowing Him (I am assuming you mean in the intellectual sense)? What are you pursuing the knowledge of God for?


Because the scripture is the supernatural revelation of God that cannot be had naturally. The scripture reveals God in a manner that is not found elsewhere.

Faith (knowing God) comes from hearing the word of God. Without knowing God, through His word, we come up short in understanding His revelation to us of Himself.

Why do we need to understand God's revelation for us?

Owen
Apr 24th 2007, 09:18 PM
:)
As Lossky said,
"Christian theology is always in the last resort a means: a unity of knowledge subserving an end which transcends all knowledge. This ultimate end is union with God."

How does theology create a union with God?

BTW I know I am asking a lot of questions without making any statements. I am trying to make a point by getting y'all to think it through.

aurora77
Apr 24th 2007, 09:27 PM
While cooking supper, I was thinking about this question. Another good reason to study theology is to avoid re-inventing the wheel. After all, most of us are not in the position to be full-time Bible scholars, we have familes, jobs, etc. Not to say that studying God's word isn't important, it is, but we also have to deal with the realities of daily life. If we need help with apologetics, or just have a question ourselves about a particular issue, why not go to someone who has thought the issue through before us. I tend to think of the study of theology as a Bible study with people more knowledgeable than I.

TrustingFollower
Apr 24th 2007, 09:31 PM
How does theology create a union with God?

BTW I know I am asking a lot of questions without making any statements. I am trying to make a point by getting y'all to think it through.
Are you going to eventually reveal your thoughts on this? I have not given theology much thought. I have just concentrated on the bible itself up to this point, there is enough there to keep me busy for quite some time.

Bandit
Apr 24th 2007, 09:40 PM
I have a question for all of the people who like to study theology in some form or fashion.

Why do you study theology?



For me, I study the word of God because when I was younger I realized that different churches taught different things, so who was I to believe? For instance, I spent 5 years in a ‘Church of Christ’ after which I could honestly say that I had no clue who Jesus was, for they denied His deity! I later spent another few years in a Southern Baptist Church which claimed that one could be saved by a 'faith' which made no requirements or expectations upon how one lived - what a heresy! So after being mislead by blind religious leaders who knew nothing but the mindless dogma they were taught, I decided to take matters into my own hands - especially since I realized that I would one day be judged according to my own faith and deeds - regardless of what others may have claimed. I simply refused to be a blind dog led around by other blind dogs. I hate to say it, but it is my opinion that many pastors (and perhaps most) are further away from the truth of God than I am. So why should I submit myself to the teaching of such blind men? Wouldn’t that make me a fool?

Bandit

Owen
Apr 24th 2007, 09:51 PM
For me, I study the word of God because when I was younger I realized that different churches taught different things, so who was I to believe? For instance, I spent 5 years in a ‘Church of Christ’ after which I could honestly say that I had no clue who Jesus was, for they denied His deity! I later spent another few years in a Southern Baptist Church which claimed that one could be saved by a 'faith' which made no requirements or expectations upon how one lived - what a heresy! So after being mislead by blind religious leaders who knew nothing but the mindless dogma they were taught, I decided to take matters into my own hands - especially since I realized that I would one day be judged according to my own faith and deeds - regardless of what others may have claimed. I simply refused to be a blind dog led around by other blind dogs. I hate to say it, but it is my opinion that many pastors (and perhaps most) are further away from the truth of God than I am. So why should I submit myself to the teaching of such blind men? Wouldn’t that make me a fool?

Bandit

Why is it important that you have the correct knowledge and not be mislead and blinded?

aurora77
Apr 24th 2007, 10:04 PM
Why is it important that you have the correct knowledge and not be mislead and blinded? 2 Peter 2:1-2 sums it up well. "There were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will introduce destructive heresies and even deny the Master who ransomed them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their licentious ways, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled."

There are many false teachers in our world today, teaching heresy as though it were truth. We, as Christians, must be able to sort through these heresies. Through the study of the Bible and theology, we are better equipped to do so. It wouldn't do to stake our salvation on a lie, would it?

threebigrocks
Apr 24th 2007, 10:12 PM
I have a question for all of the people who like to study theology in some form or fashion.

Why do you study theology?


I'm gonna reanswer. I should have waited earlier, it deserved a better answer than the time I gave it.

I study because I can't not study. :D It's who I am because God is who He is.

It is my faith I walk personally with the Lord, and my faith (as an action) with other people. I've been known to get into some pretty good discussions at home with the family, and I'm working at discussing better with others and taking advantage of openings that hollar "Insert God Here" in conversations at work without it seeming totally wierd. Today I wasn't able to get the conversation quite there, but I saw the opportunity and got stared at funny for a moment so I musta said the right thing. Why do I see it? Because I know my faith, I know what scripture says because I study.

It all goes round and round. Intertwined yet seperate.


So do you pursue theology for holiness or do you mean something else? And is your pursuit of theology driven for oneself or for others as well? You said you can't keep it to yourself, but is it naturally a burden you take upon to help others?

So the simple answer to your other question: yes. :P

Teke
Apr 24th 2007, 10:40 PM
How does theology create a union with God?

BTW I know I am asking a lot of questions without making any statements. I am trying to make a point by getting y'all to think it through.

By our spirituality.
There is of course mysticism associated with theology.;)

Owen
Apr 24th 2007, 10:40 PM
2 Peter 2:1-2 sums it up well. "There were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will introduce destructive heresies and even deny the Master who ransomed them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their licentious ways, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled."

There are many false teachers in our world today, teaching heresy as though it were truth. We, as Christians, must be able to sort through these heresies. Through the study of the Bible and theology, we are better equipped to do so. It wouldn't do to stake our salvation on a lie, would it?

Why is it important to have the right knowledge though? What makes it different from the nonchristian who learns and understands Christian theology?

TrustingFollower
Apr 24th 2007, 10:51 PM
Why is it important to have the right knowledge though? What makes it different from the nonchristian who learns and understands Christian theology?
John 3:16 ?

Owen
Apr 24th 2007, 11:01 PM
John 3:16 ?

But certainly many people here believe in Jesus Christ, and yet they still pursue theology. They study aspects they claim do not make you saved if you believe or don't believe. Coming to faith in Jesus isn't ultimately why.

Owen
Apr 24th 2007, 11:02 PM
By our spirituality.
There is of course mysticism associated with theology.;)

But is it just the study of theology itself that draws us closer to God or is there something else?

Bandit
Apr 24th 2007, 11:03 PM
Why is it important that you have the correct knowledge and not be mislead and blinded?

I thought aurora77 summed it up pretty well.


2 Peter 2:1-2 sums it up well. "There were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will introduce destructive heresies and even deny the Master who ransomed them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their licentious ways, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled."

There are many false teachers in our world today, teaching heresy as though it were truth. We, as Christians, must be able to sort through these heresies. Through the study of the Bible and theology, we are better equipped to do so. It wouldn't do to stake our salvation on a lie, would it?


It should be clearly understood that God holds each one personally responsible and accountable for his actions, as Paul says in Romans 2:6

"[God] will render to each one according to his deeds: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality, but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness - indignation and wrath..."

To know what God expects, to know His will, we must seek His truth. To not be diligent in this regard is to not be diligent in one's relationship with God. And those who are willingly mislead have no excuse.

Bandit

Owen
Apr 24th 2007, 11:08 PM
I thought aurora77 summed it up pretty well.




It should be clearly understood that God holds each one personally responsible and accountable for his actions, as Paul says in Romans 2:6

"[God] will render to each one according to his deeds: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality, but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness - indignation and wrath..."

To know what God expects, to know His will, we must seek His truth. To not be diligent in this regard is to not be diligent in one's relationship with God. And those who are willingly mislead have no excuse.

But what do theological topics such as the atonement of Christ for instance have to do with what God expects of us?

Teke
Apr 24th 2007, 11:33 PM
But is it just the study of theology itself that draws us closer to God or is there something else?

Theology alone will not. As I said, there is the mystical aspect involved. An example (besides the sacraments of the Church, which is a mystery also) would be, "awakening grace", as St Theophan the Recluse would call it. Which involves prayer and repentance with faith. :saint:

Owen
Apr 24th 2007, 11:43 PM
Theology alone will not. As I said, there is the mystical aspect involved. An example (besides the sacraments of the Church, which is a mystery also) would be, "awakening grace", as St Theophan the Recluse would call it. Which involves prayer and repentance with faith. :saint:

So considering all this, how are we to use theology?

Teke
Apr 24th 2007, 11:56 PM
So considering all this, how are we to use theology?

As something the heart contemplates (noetically) as it awakens, or opens to God. Theology has then helped establish our spirituality (or spiritual walk if you prefer). As scripture says of God to us, "come let us reason". Theologically we reason with God or vice versa by the noetic heart.

Owen
Apr 25th 2007, 12:05 AM
As something the heart contemplates (noetically) as it awakens, or opens to God. Theology has then helped establish our spirituality (or spiritual walk if you prefer). As scripture says of God to us, "come let us reason". Theologically we reason with God or vice versa by the noetic heart.

Your getting at the point I am trying to make (or one of them). I'll make one point now.

Often times we fall short in our pursuit of the study of theology correctly. When we know we often times fail to actually make this idea a whole part of our life. It only affects us intellectually, but not spiritually, morally, or emotionally. Often times, this comes as a result of a person thinking knowledge increases ones spiritual life, but in fact if there is nothing else added, it deadens it.

If theology is not used to bring ourselves as more a more holy servant before God, then it is in vain. The problem is, many people study theology vainly. They become arrogant and prideful, but their moral life is no better than the day before they started to pursue theology.

That is part of the point I am trying to get at. In the end though, I am saying that we often times study theology without the proper purpose. In that way then, knowledge produces arrogance. It produced it in me and took me a couple years to overcome that and I have seen it produce that in other people (both here and people I have known personally).

Theology should be pursued in the proper context and not merely for the pursuit of knowledge, or to become smarter, or to know about God more. These ends have no value on themselves and it only makes people prideful.

aurora77
Apr 25th 2007, 12:06 AM
C'mon Owen, we've given you lots of answers, how about letting us in on how you feel?

Whoops! I posted just as you were!

I agree with what you are saying--the intellectual pursuit of theology without the corresponding spiritually falls short.

Walstib
Apr 25th 2007, 12:12 AM
I see a battle in myself here.

My flesh wants to study to wise in my own understanding.

My spirit to learn how to better serve others in love.

Edit: (written before I read your answer...)

Second edit: Did I feel the need to tell you this out of pride? Please God help me. A moment by moment struggle.

threebigrocks
Apr 25th 2007, 12:31 AM
That line between ego and knowledge can indeed be a very thin line, and sometimes much closer than we realize.

Teke
Apr 25th 2007, 01:24 AM
Your getting at the point I am trying to make (or one of them). I'll make one point now.

Often times we fall short in our pursuit of the study of theology correctly. When we know we often times fail to actually make this idea a whole part of our life. It only affects us intellectually, but not spiritually, morally, or emotionally. Often times, this comes as a result of a person thinking knowledge increases ones spiritual life, but in fact if there is nothing else added, it deadens it.

If theology is not used to bring ourselves as more a more holy servant before God, then it is in vain. The problem is, many people study theology vainly. They become arrogant and prideful, but their moral life is no better than the day before they started to pursue theology.

That is part of the point I am trying to get at. In the end though, I am saying that we often times study theology without the proper purpose. In that way then, knowledge produces arrogance. It produced it in me and took me a couple years to overcome that and I have seen it produce that in other people (both here and people I have known personally).

Theology should be pursued in the proper context and not merely for the pursuit of knowledge, or to become smarter, or to know about God more. These ends have no value on themselves and it only makes people prideful.

Is this a follow up of your questions on your blog, What is a Theologian? :)
I don't know if I agree with numbers 8 and 12 from your list.:D

Jesusinmyheart
Apr 25th 2007, 03:15 AM
Owen,

I study the Word, cause of several reasons:
I want to know God, and i want to know what He expects of me.
I want to understand how He relates to me, and what i mean to Him.
I want to understand enough to be able to answer many questions to those i may witness to.
I am Hungry to know the Word.

I do understand what you say about becoming arrogant and pridefull.
However, i want to apply the Word to my life, and to so correctly. I do not desire to be only a hearer of the Word, but a doer.

There will always be someone who knows more than i do.....

awestruckchild
Apr 25th 2007, 06:42 AM
hmmmmm....Allow the 10 month old to jump in here. I don't know if this will make any sense to any of you, but I thought about why I study the Bible and why I seem to be so caught up in it to the point that no one I know wants to talk to me anymore because I think they see me as boring now. At first, it hurt my feelings a little, but then I had to laugh because I realized that I was reading the look in their eyes correctly - I bored them. But the funny part was........they bored me now too!! I didn't want to play cards on the weekend anymore or get together to watch the newest movie from Blockbuster - I get lonely for people, but everything they want to do doesn't amuse or grab my attention.
But WHY do I leave late for work every day and become a shut-in on my days off to read the Bible?
Because it seems............more real to me than..............reality. Is that bizarre or what? Nothing else seems real. Am I having a psychotic break with reality??
It's like when birds fly into a window because they see a reflection of the trees and don't know the window is there. If you discover the window is there, the false reflection isn't interesting at all. In fact, once you see the window, you forget about the false reflection - it recedes and loses all of its............importance? relevance?

Toolman
Apr 25th 2007, 02:02 PM
But what about the skeptic who studies the Bible and Christian theology? Do they receive the same benefit?

Only as God wills and the Spirit illuminates.


What is the benefit of understanding His thoughts and knowing Him (I am assuming you mean in the intellectual sense)? What are you pursuing the knowledge of God for?

Well, I don't mean strictly in the intellectual sense but in all ways that God would reveal Himself through the scripture, which IMO effects more than the intellect.

God is life. To not know Him is death. I have experienced both and there is something in me causing me to desire life. That something is God. My created purpose is to know Him and fellowship with Him.


Why do we need to understand God's revelation for us?

God is working through a plan of redeeming creation. Part of that plan is our sanctification in this life, whereby we come to know Him deeper and through knowing Him deeper become more and more conformed to the image of His Son.
This is God's will for His Church.

Toolman
Apr 25th 2007, 02:12 PM
How does theology create a union with God?

BTW I know I am asking a lot of questions without making any statements. I am trying to make a point by getting y'all to think it through.

Hehe.. I read your blog so I think I have an idea on some of the ideas you are driving toward. Feels like I cheated on a test :blush: