Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Theology Matters

When I went to seminary I had one goal in view. I wanted to be equipped to teach women the Bible. I wanted to grow in my understanding of God’s word and gain a solid theological foundation because I firmly believe that women (like all of us) need a deep and unshakable foundation in the God of the Bible. I enjoy studying and learning. I’ve seen fruit in my own life from studying. And I believe that God can do the same in the lives of many women.

While I didn’t graduate from seminary, I was privileged to take a few semesters worth of classes—and I’m so grateful for my time in the classroom. In the years since I went to seminary I have been able to be involved in the lives of women in a variety of capacities. Regardless of their circumstances, stories, struggles with sin, or season in life, one thing has united every situation together. Theology matters.

Maybe that feels a bit overwhelming to you. You might be thinking, “But I’m not a theologian!” Or maybe the word theology scares you. It seems too high and lofty. You think theology is something that is relegated to the thinkers and the bookworm types, not everyday women like you and me. Let’s think about that for a minute.

What is theology? Theology, simply put, is the study of God. Now it can be deep and challenging at times, but at its core it is really about understanding and knowing God. When you read your Bible, interpret it, and apply it to your life—you are studying theology. So all of us are actually theologians. The real question is whether we are good ones. What we believe about God matters. Without a right understanding of God, we cannot rightly understand ourselves, and more importantly, our need for a Savior.

Theology is also important because it gives us hope. When we understand who God is, we are able to make sense of the world we live in. Without theology, any attempts at right living are in vain. Theology takes the practical and gives it teeth. What was once impossible on your own now has a basis for possibility because you know the God who loves you and gives you a way of escape. As I’ve worked with young women over the years this has been the resounding truth as I’ve discipled them. The Bible is powerful. Studying God and his word is life changing. And it is in this process of studying the Bible and formulating ideas about God that we all become theologians.

We have to get away from the mentality that theology is scary and daunting. It’s not just for our pastors, teachers, professors, or even our husbands. It’s for us too. This doesn’t mean you have to read the entire works of Jonathan Edwards now. But it does mean that by the sheer fact that you are a Christian, you will take time to study and know the God who saved you. That’s all that theology is.

In the most difficult moments of trying to help women see God (and even in my own struggles) the thing that helps me most is knowing God and his word. His word contains everything we need for this life (2 Tim. 3:16-17). No amount of learning the myriad of practical, psychological, or emotional responses to a particular sin will replace (or improve upon) the abiding truths of Scripture. Theology matters. And it is in the study of God that we learn how to live, not the other way around.

As my husband relays to me all of the amazing things he is learning this week at Together for the Gospel, I am excited and encouraged to continue my pursuit of theology. I love being a part of a church where knowing God and his word is of first importance for everyone—men, women, and children. And I’m convinced now, more than ever, that what our souls need, in times of want or plenty, is more of God and less of our own ideas.

Yes, theology matters, but not in the big, scary seminary classroom way. It matters in the more mundane spaces, like the kitchen table, the commute to work, and in the quiet corners of our own hearts. May we all be biblical theologians, for the good of our souls and the glory of God.

2 comments:

kathryn said...

Courtney-

Thank you for this very insightful and helpful post! I too have a conviction of the importance of theology in lives of men AND women. I think that the discipline of studying theology is more intimidating for women than it is for men, and for that reason rarely do you find women's Bible studies, church programs, etc. that are geared toward growing women's knowledge of theological truths. I appreciate your simplicity and straightforwardness when talking about the importance of theology in discipling other women. Thanks again for this post!

-Kathryn Sumner

Courtney Reissig said...

Kathryn,

Thanks for reading! I look forward to getting to know you through your blog! Glad to know another woman likes theology! :)