Okay…not really. (In regards to the title of this post.) But do I have your attention? What I am actually suggesting is studying the Christian faith in a different way. It seems many Christians are Bible-studied nearly to death. They have regularly attended Bible studies for years. Bible studies are typically on a certain book of the Bible, on a character in the Bible, or a certain passage – like the fruit of the Spirit. Yes, of course, this is a good thing – but there is something missing.
What’s missing? We are studying pieces and parts of the Bible, and inadvertently forgetting the whole. We have a piecemeal faith. We know a little from the study on Galatians, a little from the study on King David, and a little from the study on Genesis. When I interact with believers in church groups, I am increasingly troubled by the inability of people to connect-the-dots of what they believe. Prior to several years ago, it was similar for me.
I’ve had posts in the past emphasizing the importance of theology. It was my theology classes in seminary that changed my life. For the first time I got a big picture view of the Christian faith. My beliefs had been like scattered puzzle pieces, and theology classes put the puzzle together. Finally, I could see the whole picture instead of fragmented parts.
I’m referring to systematic theology, which takes different topics (such as salvation, sanctification, or sin) and looks at all that the Bible has to say on that topic and “systematizes” or organizes it. Instead of only looking at what the book of John says about salvation, systematic theology considers what the entire Bible says about salvation. [In case you are interested, the technical term for the study of salvation is soteriology.]
Some people are not systematic theology fans, for various reasons. Some would see it as just another way to “divide” the Bible. Yet, systematic theology truly did connect the dots for me. I realize that someone else’s experience could be different, but I am sharing my own.
Don’t misunderstand…Studying books of the Bible is important. I appreciate expository preaching, that goes verse by verse through a book of the Bible. I’ve led expository style classes through a book of the Bible. But theological study matters too. I’d love to see more churches offering theology classes instead of only Bible classes. Theology can be presented in a practical and relevant way for the everyday people in our churches.
In closing, the study of theology was like becoming an eagle for me. I flew above and was able to see the broader expanse of Christian faith and belief. Perhaps for you also?