A little while back, when I was snatched from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the kingdom of light, my heart burned with the desire to grow in the knowledge of my Lord and God. I therefore sought a church that I could be a part of, a fellowship unlike the Roman Catholic church where I had been brought up … starved of the truth.
This hunger for truth led me to a church where Jesus Christ was proclaimed as the only way, the truth and life; and oh! how refreshing this was for me, a man who had been brought up being taught a salvation by works. My hunger for knowledge of this great Savior and salvation kept growing more and more.
And then one day, it happened.
As I sat listening intently with my notebook at hand jotting down the lesson of the day, the preacher gave us a warning. This warning came in form of a joke which went something like this:
“Do you know what a theologian is?”
I stared blankly at him.
“is a person who goes into a dark room to find a black cat that doesn’t exist and still manages to find it!”
We all burst out laughing. Unbeknownst to me, this was a red herring being used to demonize Biblical theology, making us more susceptible to the doctrines of those who claimed to have received new revelations from God—even when those revelations contradicted the Bible.
One incident that stands out for me is when a preacher stood at the pulpit and declared that “on the day when the church parking lot shall be filled with expensive vehicles owned by us, and people see us still bow before God, that is the day when God shall receive the most glory and shall be able to attract many to give their lives to Christ.” I still didn’t know what theology was back then, but alarm bells started going off in my head. And when I questioned this statement, I was warned not to “touch the man of God”. My study of God’s word had revealed to me that God drew men through the power of the gospel preached unashamedly. And if a preacher, who ought to have been preaching the word of God, could not even articulate this simple fact concerning how God saves men, then how could I continue to be there?
My search for a church that was committed to preaching the truth landed me at another church where the very thing I had been warned about existed—theology. And instead of being repelled by it, I found myself being refreshed Sunday by Sunday, with us going through the Bible verse by verse. Being led by teachers who applied the words of Paul to Timothy.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth
— 2 Timothy 2:15
So, what is theology? (And no, it is not a non-existent black cat in a dark room). Theology comes from two Greek words: ‘theos’ meaning God; and ‘logos’ meaning the word about God. Simply speaking, theology is the study about God. For a Christian, theology is the attempt to understand God as he has revealed himself in his word.
I dare say theology is part and parcel of Christian life and that’s why we seek to acquire copies of the Bible and seek a fellowship where we can be faithfully taught from the word of God.
J.I. Packer put it beautifully in His book, Knowing God:
Disregard the study of God and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfold, as it were, with no sense of direction, and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.
May the Lord help us to embrace the diligent study of Scripture and not despise it, for he himself has said:
Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.
— 2 Tim 3:16-17