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What Is Theology?

What is theology, and why should we study it? Theology is the study of God, and as we learn more about His person and works we come to know God more, we are able to grow closer to Him. Below you will find the lesson handout used in our recent Sunday School class, and you can download the PDF file to view the slideshow of the lesson. (Sources for the series include “A Dispensational Theology” by Charles F. Baker, “Systematic Theology” by Wayne Grudem, and “The Moody Handbook of Theology” by Paul Enns)

Theology: The Study of God (based on Charles F. Baker, “A Dispensational Theology,” chapters 3-4” p.22-31)

Do you need to be a great theologian in order to study theology?

No!  Everyone who opens the Bible engages in theology.

What is Theology?

  • theos =
  • logos =
  • theology =

a.) Charles Baker offers this definition: “Theology in its narrowest sense is the science or study of God. In its broadest sense it includes the study, not only of God, but of all of the relationships which exist between God and His universe. Theology may be thought of as a systematizing of the teachings of the Bible.” (Charles F. Baker “A Dispensational Theology,” p.22)

 

b.) When we study theology, we are asking the question “what does the Bible teach about this particular topic?”

  • What does the Bible teach about G_______________, His character and actions?
  • What kind of book is S_______________ and how should we understand its message?
  • What does the Bible say about h______________, who we are and how we got here?
  • What does the Bible say about J___________________?
  • What does the Bible say about s___________________?
  • What does the Bible say about the C____________________, and its mission?
  • What does the Bible say about the f___________________ and end times?

 

c.) To answer these questions, we must search the entire Bible for all relevant passages that help us come to a biblical understanding.  (1 Timothy 4:6)

 

Why Study Theology?

Someone might ask, “Isn’t the Bible all we need, why bother with theology?”  This is a valid question that deserves a thoughtful answer:

  1. Theology is not a s____________________ for the Bible (Matthew 15:9)
  • Good theology is built on the teaching of Scripture
  • We may not call it “theology” but that’s what we’re doing as we draw conclusions based on our reading of Scripture

 

  1. The Bible encourages thorough study of God’s t_____________ (1 Tim. 4:6,13)
  • All throughout the Bible God’s people are called to study, search, meditate upon, know and obey the truth contained in Scripture (see also Acts 17:11)
  • An understanding of theology helps us grow in our Christian walk

 

  1. If we are not well g_____________ in the major doctrines of the Christian faith, we will be easily led astray (Ephesians 4:14)
  • There are many competing ideas floating around the world today
  • It’s important to know what we believe and why we believe it

 

  1. What might appear to be c____________________ or inconsistencies in the Bible are resolved by an orderly study of Scripture. (Colossians 1:26)
  • The Bible is not a textbook or an encyclopedia. It records the unfolding story of salvation over an extended period of time.
  • A person will be confused if they do not consider what the whole Bible teaches (i.e. diet)

 

Possible Objections:

  • Isn’t theology cold, academic, and impractical? (Ps. 19:8; 119:14)
  • I don’t need theology, I just need the Bible.

 

Different Approaches to Studying Theology:

The term “theology” is quite broad, and there are various disciplines that fit within this pursuit.  (Similar to way “farming” might describe growing crops, raising cattle, or producing dairy).  There are several ways we can go about studying theology:

  • Biblical Theology –
  • Systematic Theology –
  • Historical Theology –
  • Dogmatic Theology –

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