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The Real Purpose of Theology

The Real Purpose of Theology

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“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, NIV)

The formal study of theology involves many of the characteristics of learning any established and long-explored field of study.  To study theology properly, one must learn nuances of theological language, including terms that are difficult to pronounce. We explore trends in thought, various methods of interpretation, and disputed aspects of Scriptural texts, among other things. 

All of these nuances associated with the study of theology can help us a great deal.  We can learn much about God, the people of God, the Scriptures, and the ways in which God seems to move throughout history.  However, perhaps the most overlooked reason for studying theology is its relational aspect: we can get to know God and God’s ways better!

There is an old Latin saying: Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi.  Loosely translated, this phrase means, “As we worship, so shall we live, and so shall we believe.”  Our worship is connected with our theology and these are connected with how we live out the Christian faith!

A good doctor is committed to the ins and outs of her profession not so that she can spout off scholarly sounding things about the human body or medicine, but so that she can best serve those who are in need of such knowledge in order to get well. 

Likewise, we as pastors, the theologians of our congregations, study theology so that we and those to whom we minister may worship and live in accordance with God’s purposes. These purposes are revealed to us through the Scriptures and in particular through the person and work of Jesus Christ. 

As we study Scripture in preparation for our week – whether we are preparing to teach and preach it, or simply preparing to center ourselves on the ways of God – let us approach our study of theology with the ultimate of goal of doxology – living lives of praise, adoration, and service to this loving God who created us and who has a mission for us!

Prayer for the Week:

Living God, whose will it is that all should come to you
through your Son Jesus Christ: Inspire our witness to Him,
that all may know the power of His forgiveness and the hope
of His resurrection; who lives and reigns with you and the
Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

(From The Book of Common Prayer)

Charles W. Christian is managing editor of Holiness Today.  

Written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today.