Theology in a Nutshell
Theology. Its a word comprised of two Greek words: THEOS (θεος) = God and LOGOS (λογος‚) = "Word". Taken literally "Theology" might mean "A word about God.". Unfortunately the study of Theology has come to be considered boring or irrelevant; yet the study of Theology was once considered to be the "queen of all science" not only because the study of God naturally leads to study of his universe and it's inhabitants; but because the study of God is infinitely larger than any depth of study be it cellular mitosis, subatomic particles or the intricate workings of the human body.
Conceptually we consider theology to be almost anything that the bible teaches. Generally we don't make much distinction between words like "Theology" and "Doctrine". (Doctrine is a word that simply means "Teaching"). Because of it's broadest application we're going to start by using "theology" as the catchword for all the "-ologies" or doctrinal studies that matter to Christians.
As a realm of study, Theology is easily dividable into specific areas of study; starting with "Theology Proper" "“ which is the study of God. Since God has revealed himself as Father, Son and Spirit we can have an area of study devoted to each:
Paterology "“ The Study of God the Father,
Pneumatology "“ the Study of God's Spirit, and
Christology "“ the Study of the person and work of Jesus Christ the Son-of-God.
Bibliology "“ The study of the word of God (where God Reveals himself to us).
Angelology, Demonology, Satanology "“ The study of angels, demons and Satan respectively.
Anthropology "“ The study of the nature of mankind.
Hamartiology "“ The study of sin,
Soteriology "“ The study of salvation,
Ecclesiology – The Study of the church.
Eschatology "“ The study of the end times, or more properly, "last things".
As you can see there is lot's of ground to cover. I don't intend to teach every detail, I just want to give a snapshot overview. We can deal more in depth as questions come up, but for now my plan is to try to paint the big picture first.
Each week We'll get a broad overview of one of these topics, we'll see how it relates to daily life, and we'll have one memory verse that will help us make the most of it. As a prelude however, we need to ask the question: Why Study This Stuff? How does learning theology help my life today?
Knowing Right from Wrong
Have you ever asked yourself, "What is the right thing to do?" In order for there to be a "right thing" there has to be a "wrong thing". But how do you identify something as the right thing? You need a reference point. If you look at a line on a page it may be difficult to tell if it is straight or crooked, but place a ruler next to it and you can tell instantly. The Study of theology helps us to determine right from wrong because we learn about the "ruler". If we study the Holy, we are able to recognize the unholy.
Living in Faith
An important principle in the Bible is found in Luke 6:45 "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart ." Together with proverbs 23:7 "as a man thinks in his heart so is he"¦" I would summarize the principle of these verses as: "Belief determines Behavior."
It is obvious to me that you believe the church pews are sturdy, or else you wouldn't have sat in them. As you get to know the character of God you will learn to trust Him more; and you will be willing to risk more for Him "“ in short the more you know God the more you will live for him.
As we read and study the Bible and learn theology along the way we learn who God is. It's certainly a case where "to know Him is to love Him." In John 17 Jesus describes eternal life as Knowing God (John 17:3). Later in 1 John, John also says this:
1 John 2:3-5 "By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. " As you learn more and more about God, yourself, your sin, your salvation and God's eternal plans for you "“ you will love Him more.
With all of that said, I think there are lots of good reasons to Study Theology
2 Timothy 2:15
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth."