What is Theology? — Introduction

By Timothy, Resident Rope Theologian

I suppose this probably should have been my first post as the resident “theology writer” at The Rope. Over the next couple of weeks I will be writing a series of posts exploring the field of theology. The goal of this series is to explain what exactly it is I am doing on this blog, as well as to hopefully be a bit educational in the process. Theology is something that I’m intensely passionate about, it’s something that I’m devoting my life to and I hope that my passion comes through and keeps all of this interesting. If it isn’t interesting to you, just come hit me or something.

So what exactly is theology?

Speaking in the simplest terms, theology is speech about God.

The word comes from two Greek words, theos, which means God, and logos, which means word. So broadly speaking, theology is words about God.

But theology is, of course, more complex than that. It’s broken down into different categories and disciplines, it covers multiple doctrines and time periods, and can use some pretty dense language. The goal over the next couple of weeks is to expose you to these different disciplines and doctrines and explain the importance of each. But what is the importance of theology in general?

Without theology, the church would have no idea who God is or how to worship him.

Theology is the discipline where theologians take the Word of God and translate them into contemporary practice and language. Theology is always interpretation, it’s always an attempt to further worship and discipleship within the church.

Theology is, therefore, a servant of the church first and foremost. While there certainly are academic conversations around theology that won’t be understood by the common church member, the best theologians are able to take these complex conversations and translate them in such a way that the average everyday church member can understand them.

Theology should always have love as its guiding principle.

Love for God and for our neighbor is what drives us to do theology. If we really love someone, we get to know them, we try to know them better each day. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t learn something new about my wife. I love her with everything that I am so I’m always trying to get to know her better. It’s the same with God. If we truly love God we should constantly be trying to understand him better, to know him more intimately. Theology does not just belong to theologians, then. It belongs to everyone. Every Christian should be doing theology, they should be seeking to understand the message of God more clearly.

Next week I will begin going through the different disciplines of theology. There are primarily three disciplines I will talk about: systematic theology, biblical theology, and historical theology. I hope you’ll come back.


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