Theology is for Everyone

To most Christians, the idea of learning “Theology” is an overwhelming and daunting suggestion. “I’m not a scholar,” or “I’m not interested in working for a Ph.D” is a very common thought process that shuts the door on the subject.

However, Theology is NOT just a scholar’s domain. The learning and the application of Theology to our own heart, mind, and daily life is of the utmost godly value!

“Theology”—though it does include some branches with extremely deep waters—is basically the study of God: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, and how He interacts with humanity. Every believer who is committed to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior needs to know as much as they can from the scriptures about their God.

As attenders of [good] churches, we have a tremendous number of opportunities to grow in our knowledge about God (“Theology”) so that we can also grow in knowing Him personally. Faulty thinking about who God is and how He interacts with humanity leaves us very, VERY susceptible to failures and deceptions.

The writer to the Hebrews (most consider this author to be the Apostle Paul, as do I) was teaching and developing their understanding of God and their walking through life in the Spirit of Jesus. Here is what he summarizes as being the foundation or elementary teachings [of Theology] that every believer SHOULD have well established so they can build and grow the rest of their life.

“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”‭‭

( Hebrews‬ ‭6:1-2 )

Unfortunately, there are too many believers who have had their faith in Christ for 10, 20, or 30 years, but their maturity in truly knowing the things of God and living a godly life are at an “elementary” level. Using a school analogy, by now they should be graduates, instead they are repeating the 1st Grade over and over, not having grasped the basics and not yet demonstrated a practical proficiency in godly knowledge, wisdom, and behavior.

To be clear, though I used a school analogy, growing in Theology is not necessarily about formal academics. It is about growing in the personal study of God’s scripture, and the prayerful application of the scriptures to personal and daily life.

“Let us go on to perfection” means to grow in maturity. It means to shed more and more imperfection, and to draw closer and closer to Christ and the perfection He represents.
Most of us will never be “Theologians” in an academic setting with a Ph.D next to our name, but each of us should be growing in our Theology of God. Anything less than our constant growth in our knowledge of God is not part of God’s great plan for our life. Let’s be sure, every day, that we progressively “go on to perfection” in Him.

See you at the altar of Christ as we read the scriptures, pray, and build each other up in the Theology of our great God.

#PastorsTip

Study of Scripture

A Daily Thought Provoker Quote
from Heart & Path Journal at HeartPathJournal.net
Online Publications of David J. Hall

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“For those of us in a formal preaching and/or teaching ministry (i.e. pastors), do we study the scriptures diligently just for the development of our professional skills, or primarily because we love God and want to know Him more today than we knew Him yesterday?”

( David J. Hall )

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#PastorsTip #DTP

Surgical Discernment

Introspection and discernment of personal thoughts and motives are skills sorely lacking in the patterns of our society.

The constant bombardment by entertainment and news (through our addiction to multimedia technologies) contributes to a personal condition that keeps us from dealing with anything deeper than the first few inches of the surface of the deep oceans of our hearts.

Taking time for devotions involves reading the scriptures, prayer, and personal introspection and discernment of our daily thoughts and motives. The more time we invest in personal training in the use of the Sword of the Spirit (the scriptures) and in prayer the more accurate we will be in doing surgery within our own hearts and lives.

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

‭‭( Hebrews‬ ‭4:12‬ )

The more surgical precision we can develop for use in our own lives, the more accurately and effectively we can help others who might ask for our counsel or feedback.

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#PastorsTip

Studying Zechariah & John

I just finished a study of the Old Testament book of Zechariah. While the book contains many levels of prophetic complexity, every chapter contains a handful of verses that stand out with a beautiful simplicity. If you have the opportunity, choose the book of Zechariah for a read-through. Highlight and meditate upon a handful of verses that stand-out to you in each chapter.

This week, having finished one book, I started a study in the New Testament book of John. A few days into it, I am still reading and re-reading the very first verse:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

~ John 1:1

At the rate that I am advancing in my word-by-word and phrase-by-phrase studies of the book of John, I figure I will complete the 21 chapters by Christmas time in the year 2032. I’ll be 67 years old.

Thankfully, when we study the scriptures our goal is not volume and speed. Instead, our goal is depth and quality of study that inspires transformation and a drawing near to The Lord, our God.

Please feel free to post a comment, letting us know what you are studying and how it is going for you. In so doing,“Let us encourage one another…”

Are You Snorkeling in the Sand, or Deep Sea Diving?

Wow, the Scriptures have such incredible depth! I feel like I could “deep sea dive” into the Word, and never arrive at the bottom or the end.

I have found that if I am reading the Word, and I am being bored, the fault is not the Scriptures’. The problem is my own. I am not “deep sea diving,” I am just snorkeling… in the sand of the beach!

Our primary teacher of God’s Word is… God! Specifically, the Holy Spirit is our teacher. When I am not making progress in my reading of The Word in my devotional life, my first step is to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help me with understanding the revelation of the Scriptures.

When I take the step to pray and ask, this is tantamount to moving from snorkeling on the beach to skin diving in the water. The Holy Spirit is our “dive partner,” and our instructor. He enjoys teaching us and mentoring us, all in accordance with the Scriptures.

In the Book of Acts, the Christians in Berea are highlighted and pointed to as good examples because they diligently studied the Scriptures as part of their personal discipleship practice.

It is imperative that the Holy Spirit be our teacher and mentor in the Scriptures. Yes, God has given to us, “Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers, to train [us] the people” (Ephesians 4:11-12), but just as the Holy Spirit is to be THEIR primary teacher, so the Spirit is to be OUR primary teacher, followed by (in a secondary role) these others who have been called and anointed-for-ministry.

Thank you for reading, my friend. I pray that the Holy Spirit will answer your prayer… the prayer where you ask Him to join you as your instructor in “deep sea diving” into the limitless depths of the Scriptures, the Word of God.

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