Why study theology? In our past studies, one of the most compelling and important books we studied was A.W. Pink’s book, “The Sovereignty of God.” This book is about the Absolute Sovereign God of the universe. It is a book about the study of God (theology) and doctrine. The question was asked, “Why do we need to study and understand this doctrine?” In answer to that question, I shared some of my reasons for our study of this most profound and God-glorifying doctrine and the importance of why we must study it and the negative consequences if we do not.
My first answer would be that if one does not know who God is in His absolute sovereignty, then they are unable to understand or make heads or tails out of God’s Word and thus they are disabled in their ability to live the Christian life as commanded in Scripture. Understanding God’s sovereignty thus enables believers to apply practically what they know theologically to their Christian life.
Secondly, they are denied the peace that Christ gives that passes understanding because they are tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine. They are insecure because of their inability to understand the why and wherefore of life, and to know who is ruling all of Creation. Understanding God’s sovereignty gives stability, soundness of faith and peace to heart and life. It answers the questions of life.
Thirdly, they have no understanding of the God of salvation and of God’s providence and plan for redemption for His people. Thus, they have a God that cannot save or keep those whom He has redeemed. The result of their lack of knowledge is an erroneous works-motivated, works-related salvation or, as some would say, no salvation at all. Understanding God’s sovereignty increases faith and trust in God alone and His predeterminate counsel and wisdom in salvation from eternity past to eternity future.
Fourthly, they do not have the understanding to teach and train others and thus fulfill their responsibilities as Christians in their homes and in society. Understanding God’s sovereignty equips the saints with the tool[s] necessary to teach, train and disciple God’s people to live a life that is “pleasing” to Christ.
We, as Reformed women, understand the importance of doctrine in the Christian life and how that without understanding doctrine, it is impossible to understand and practically work out how we must live and serve Christ in this present world. Thus, we know that “doctrine” or the “theology” of what we believe is important as foundational to understanding the Christian life. This is why Reformed believers study the Bible, the confessions and creeds and why we train our children in Bible and catechism memorization. It is so that we have a firm and biblical foundation of understanding so that we can “rightly” apply the Scriptures in a “daily” and “practical” way in our lives. Thus, we are seeking to be a reflection of God’s glory “daily” as we live out the Christian life.
Christ tells us in Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” That means that we are to “know” God in His fullness and when we do, we will have “understanding.” The Bible is God’s “revealed” will and word to us so that we can gain this understanding and for us to truly “know” Him as He is. God has also given us good pastors, teachers and books to help us in this understanding. We are additionally commanded in 2 Timothy 2:15 to “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Thus, we must study and be educated believers in God’s doctrines.
I am reminded of Dr. Philip Ryken’s admonition that women are “commanded to learn Christ” and that “every Christian woman is called to be a theologian.” In other words, we are commanded to “know” Christ and to truly know Him, we must study about Him. Theology is the study of God. We read this book by Pink and we read and study other sound, biblical theologians and enjoy their works of diligence in understanding this doctrine. We have great tools to help us “grow in grace and knowledge.” May we learn in great humility of mind and submission to His Word and be truly “women of the Book” as we serve our Mighty God and Saviour in the role He has for us. My prayer for this study is that He alone receives all glory, honor and praise and that we grow more in faithfulness and thankfulness for such a great salvation that He has freely given to us.
“Which in his times He shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” I Timothy 6:15-16
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