Theology sounds like such a dull word to many. When you hear the word “theology” what do you picture? I used to imagine a bunch of old wazee sitting around drinking chai and talking about something deep in the Bible. They speak very slowly, and it makes me want to fall asleep. Another thing that I pictured is those same wazee getting mad over some small phrase or insignificant thought in the Bible and then not wanting to talk with one another. Sadly that picture is the picture that I grew up with in my head whenever I heard the word “theology.” That’s because I did see wazee get angry and decide not to talk with one another on some disagreements on theology. I thought that theology was terrible and was just a way to divide godly people.
Like many things in this life, we need to investigate it fairly and then see it for what it is. So what is theology? The word theology comes from two words which include “Theos” which refers to God and “logos” which refers to knowledge. Therefore, theology is knowledge of God. With that definition in mind, who doesn’t want to learn more about God? It is a powerful thing to have more knowledge about God. Theology is not merely knowledge about God, but it leads to having a powerful effect on your worship and your response to life issues. Consider the powerful impact that theology had on David in Psalm 23.
“He” Theological Statements
Psalm 23 was something that I only heard read and preached on in funerals after someone had died. However, there are incredible lessons on theology and its impacts. David makes some powerful theological statements about who God is that follow the pronoun “He (Psalm 23:1-3).” However, the first theological statement about God is “The Lord is my shepherd… (Psalm 23:1),” which does not follow a “He,” but it never the less makes a theological statement about who God is, God is a shepherd. David carries on and says “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters (Psalm 23:2),” which shows me that God the shepherd leads his sheep in restful places. The character of God, the shepherd, is to lead his sheep into areas of rest. Another theological statement that David makes about God is that “He restores my soul (Psalm 23:3).” David is making a theological statement saying that God is a restorer.
God, the shepherd’s character is also shown through another theological statement in Psalm 23:3 which says “He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” This teaches us that God is a God that restores, refreshes, and revives the soul of his sheep. He does this for “His name’s sake (Psalm 23:3)” to preserve his reputation for being true to his revealed character, a good “shepherd (Psalm 23:1).” With so many incredible statements about who God is, we can see that theology was important to David, the man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). He found it essential to know this God that he served and loved.
“You” Theological Statements
After David makes all of the “He” statements in Psalm 23:1-3, he does not just sit proudly with this information feeling that he is smarter than everyone else. Instead, he uses these theological statements to worship God with. David worships God with “you” and “your” statements found in Psalm 23:4-5. For example, consider that David says “…you are with me (Psalm 23:4).” If “He” is a “shepherd (Psalm 23:1)” then, of course, he will always be with his sheep even in fearful places like “the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4).” David worships God and thanks him for being a good shepherd who is always with him in horrifying places. He goes on further to say that “your” rod and your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4),” because of course a shepherd would have a “rod” and “staff.” The rod and staff were used by the shepherd to fight off thieves who would try and steal the sheep, and it was used to protect the sheep from wild animals. David’s theology of God being a shepherd leads him to worship God and say that his rod and staff bring him “comfort” because he fights off evil things that can harm him. He is clearly grateful for God being a shepherd.
A great lesson from the “you” statements that follow the “he” statements is that we are not made to simply internalise theology it is to be used to worship God with. We’re to use it to give God glory. Not using theology to worship God leads to pride, being puffed up, and getting into fights. However, theology that is used to worship God leads to humility and unity. Another point to draw from this is that the more theology that you know, the more that you can worship God with. This is such an important point to consider. Think about many of the songs that we sing in churches, Christian Unions, and other gatherings. We sing so many songs that say “Hakuna Mungu kama wewe” or “Nani kama wewe.” There are a hundred songs that say this same basic message. We also say the name of Jesus over and over again in many choruses. Ok, it is true that there is no other God like God and that Jesus’ name is Jesus, but doesn’t it show that we don’t have much more to say because we’re laking theology? A great indicator of our theology is the songs that we write and sing to worship God with.
“I” Theological Statements
Theology does not just affect your worship, but it will also impact the way that you respond to life issues. Consider the “I” and “me” statements that David makes in Psalm 23. These “I” and “me” statements are directly impacted by the theology of the “He” statements. David says “I walk through the valley of the of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil (Psalm 23:4).” David can say this because of the theology that God is a “shepherd”, and that “He leads me beside still waters (Psalm 23:1).” David also says that “…I shall not want (Psalm 23:1),” which is directly connected to the fact that God is a shepherd. If God is your shepherd, then you don’t need to worry about walking in crazy places because he protects you with a “rod” and “staff (Psalm 23:4).” You don’t need to “want” for your basics in life because he leads you to where you will find provision (Psalm 23:2-3). He also leads you to places where you can find rest and refreshment (Psalm 23:1-3). Therefore, you don’t need to want (Psalm 23:1) or fear crazy places that you might go to. You will be bolder than ever before if your theology is in the right place.
Theology is a powerful tool to help you overcome anxiety, fear, and worry through worshipping such a wonderful God! Do not snub your nose at theology. Stop thinking it is a bad thing. Stop saying that the “Bible is hard to understand.” There are incredible truths that are in the Bible that will build your theology and understanding of who this amazing God is. The statement the “Bible is hard to understand” usually is rooted in laziness and indiscipline. It shows we are not willing to attempt to understand it. Press into the Word of God because you can know this great God and develop powerful theological statements that will help you worship him and defeat fear and worry in your life. What you believe about God will greatly impact how you will live in this life. It will be a life-based in fear or one of bravery that leads you to walk anywhere, even “…the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4).” So, what do you believe about God?