Why study theology?
The Christian life depends on it. That sounds too simplistic, so let me explain. Theology is the study of God, specifically who He is and what He has done. There are many ways to go about studying theology. We can learn about God generally through examining creation and the world that He has made. We can get together with people from other faith traditions and compare notes. But as Christians we believe that God has most fully revealed Himself through the Bible. When we make claims like, “Jesus is Lord” or ask the question, “How can I be saved?,” we are doing more than quoting Bible verses. We are doing theology. But you might reply, “All I need is God’s Word, not theology.” Yes, indeed. The Bible is what we use to study theology. God’s Word is the source, theology is the result.
One practical way to learn theology is to study the Bible in a systematic or topical fashion. Why study theology “systematically?” Why not just study the individual books of the Bible verse-by-verse? To be sure, verse-by-verse studies are fantastic. Getting down to the details of sentence structure and word studies are essential. But systematic theology seeks to zoom out and look at the whole of what God says about certain topics.
Theologian Wayne Grudem says that “Systematic theology is any study that answers the question, ‘What does the whole Bible teach us today?’ about any given topic.”
Systematic theology is studying the whole Bible with an eye toward application to our situation today. Anytime we say, “The Bible says…” or “Doesn’t the Bible teach…,” we are engaging in systematic theology. The late theologian R. C. Sproul said that everyone is a theologian; the question is: Are you a good or bad one? Are you using the whole Bible or just a part of it?
How can I become a better theologian?
This is what Theology For Breakfast is all about. Theology For Breakfast is a class open to men and women, young and old, who want to know God more deeply so that they can love and obey Him more fully. It is a combination of lecture and discussion based on weekly work that people will do beforehand (yes, there will be homework). The primary text is the Bible itself, though there is a workbook (which we will print off and supply) as well as supplemental reading from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. Some of the topics we will cover this Spring will be what the Bible teaches on angels and demons, creation/evolution, the image of God, sin and fallen humanity (“total depravity”), the person of Christ, the resurrection, and the atonement (including its various theories, limited vs. unlimited, and the extent).
This spring we will be offering two identical Theology For Breakfast classes:
Monday Evenings: This class meets every other Monday evening from 7:00-8:30pm starting February 1st for 12 weeks (so 6 meetings total) on Zoom.
Tuesday Mornings: This class meets every other Tuesday morning from 6:30-8:00am starting February 2nd for 12 weeks (so 6 meetings total) on Zoom.
We learn best by personal study that carries over into community. But knowledge of God is not enough. Theology must be applied to life. James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word…do what it says.” Likewise, Jesus plainly commands, “If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14:15) So the goal of studying theology is love for God that shows through action. Good theologians not only have sound theology but also put theology into action. Your Christian life depends on good theology, and good theology starts with God’s Word and leads to obedience. We study theology to know God more deeply so that they can love and obey Him more fully.
We want to be a church in Defiance, Ohio that makes disciples who are known for having good theology that bears fruit of love in the lives of those around us. So if you want to grow in your understanding of and obedience to God and His Word, Theology For Breakfast might just be for you. You have the choice between an evening and morning class, so sign up for whichever one best fits with your schedule.
For more information about or to sign up for Theology For Breakfast, fill out the form below.