Contrary to the popular belief that theology is an abstract knowledge only intellectuals can pursue, theology is, in its simplest sense, what we do daily. Theology comes from two Greek words—”Theos”, which means God, and “Logos”, which means word, logic, idea, or concept. Theology is, therefore, the idea of God or the logic of God. The concept of God is not a mere intellectual pursuit but also one that involves one’s heart, mind, soul and strength (Mark 12:30). Every human being, whether a deist or an atheist, all have an idea of God. The former has entertained the idea that God exists, while the latter has entertained the idea that God does not exist. The constant in both is God. Each is spending time studying whether God exists. Paul emphasises that God has made everything that can be known about him clear to everyone through his creation. God’s invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature, are perceived throughout God’s creation (Romans 1:18-20).
Furthermore, we all know that everyone has a moral compass -the conscience. Paul says that the ability of Gentiles to naturally do what the law requires of them, without having the law, is proof that they have the idea of God in that they show the work of the law is written in their hearts. So their conscience bears witness against them when they do evil or excuses them when they do the right thing (Romans 2:14-16). Everyone, Christians and non-Christians alike, has an idea or a concept of God, so we are all theologians. Theology is not only for the mind but what we do daily. Therefore, our theology informs how much we walk in faith and how much we believe in God. The strength of your faith is directly proportional to your idea of God.
How Does Theology Strengthen Our Faith?
At the onset, one can not come to God without some form of knowledge of God because faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). God uses his word to bring about the gift of faith in man so that man can believe in him. To all who believe in him, he gives them the right to be called children of God (John 1:12). God uses his word as the primary tool to deliver people from destruction. In the opening of his gospel, John begins by likening Christ to the word of God, that “in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God”. The Psalmist in Psalms 107:20 says that God sent out his word, which healed them and delivered them from their destruction. The right theology is essential because it brings us to repentance and healing and delivers us from our destruction. This does not mean we are saved by how much we know about God. Since knowledge does not save us, we are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from ourselves. It is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Theology Increases the Knowledge of God.
The more you know someone, the more you are interested in them, especially the more you know how perfect they are. To be a Christian means you are in a relationship with Jesus. So many things about Jesus are mind-blowing yet fulfilling. Knowing, for example, that Christ is the only mediator between God and man(1 Timothy 2:5) gives us confidence to approach the throne of God through Christ in times of trouble so that we can obtain grace and mercy (Hebrews 4:15). Knowing that we cannot take ourselves to God except through Christ (John 14:6-7) deepens our trust in him and encourages us to pursue him even more. The same is true of studying God the Father and the Holy Spirit. The more we dive into the deep sea of the knowledge of God, the lesser life becomes about us, and the more it becomes about God. In the sea of God, we drown self and live more for God (John 3:30; Mark 8:35).
Theology Helps Us to Live Righteously.
James reminds us that genuine faith bears good works (righteous works). James 2:26 instructs his readers that faith that does not bring forth works is dead. By believing in Christ, you ought to live a life that is God-honouring. The quality of our lives as Christians is directly proportional to how much we know God. The less we know about God, the fewer our righteous acts. To fight sin and overcome it, we must hide the word of God in our hearts. The Psalmist poses a question in Psalms 119:9: how can a young man keep his ways pure? The answer: by guarding his ways according to God’s word. He continues by saying that a young man can also keep his ways pure by seeking God with all his heart. He does this by not wandering from God’s commandments. The Psalmist concludes by saying that he has hidden God’s word in his heart so that he may not sin against God (Psalms 119:9-11). The Psalmist knew that his purity was connected to his knowledge of God. Therefore he desired to be taught the word of God (Psalms 119:12), and he wanted his mouth to be filled with God’s word (Psalms 119:13). Are you struggling with sin? Is your walk in righteousness compromised? Turn to the word of God, seek to know him, and find delight in teachings about him, and you will see God giving you victory over that sin you are battling today.
Theology Helps to Increase Your Faith.
When looking for a mechanic to fix my bike, I always looked for one who has been in that trade longer and with a good reputation for fixing bikes. So once I found this older man, who had been fixing bikes since the 80s, I didn’t look any further because his old age came with experience, and once he looked at my bike and heard the sound of its engine, he knew exactly what was wrong and how to fix it. I trusted this mechanic with my bike from that point onwards. So it is with God. He has more experience than anyone and anything since he has been in eternity. He was there before time (Psalm 90:2, Proverbs 8:23) existed and is still here and forever will be.
Furthermore, he is the creator of everything (Genesis 1:1-2). The more I know about God, the more I have faith in him, and the more my faith grows from strength to strength (Psalms 84:7). The Gospel is the word of God, and in it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16-17), for in the Gospel (word of God) the righteousness of God is revealed from Faith for Faith. Do you want to be glorified with Christ? You only need to behold him, fixating on his beauty as revealed in the scriptures. By doing so, we are being transformed from one degree of glory to another.
Sound doctrine is what brings a believer to maturity of faith. They grow from being babes, unable to distinguish truth from a lie, to mature believers, becoming discerning in the knowledge of God and instructing others as well (Hebrews 5:11-6:3).
Theology Leads to Worship.
Worship is the way we express our faith. It is the feeling and expression of reverence and adoration to God. Worship is seen in how we speak about God, what we think about him, and how we live our lives in light of our knowledge of Him. It can also be expressed through arts like music and poetry. The knowledge of God elicits proper worship. Paul is notorious for this; every time he explains a heavy concept about God, he ends them with an expression of worship. For example, in Romans 11:33, he bursts into worship because of God’s deep and rich wisdom and knowledge! he exclaims, “How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable are his ways!” The more you know God, the richer your worship.
Theology Encourages Evangelism.
We only tell people about things we know. If you know nothing about God, you will have difficulty telling anyone about him. Christ charged his disciples to go and make disciples from all nations, teaching them all that he (Christ) taught them and baptising them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20). In the same way, Christ has charged us to herald his truths to every nation on earth. On the way to Emmaus, Christ explained to two of his disciples, beginning with Moses and all the prophets in the scriptures, the things concerning himself (Luke 24:27). When the promised Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, Peter (Acts 2:14-42) went ahead by what he knew from the scriptures, preaching about Jesus. Those who received his word were baptised, and about three thousand people came to Christ (Acts 2:41). Similarly, we also need to know more about Christ in the scriptures to be confident while sharing the Gospel.
Theology Guards Us Against False Teachers.
In 1 Timothy, the apostle Paul reminds Timothy to command and teach all that he was trained in faith and the sound doctrine he was following (1 Timothy 4:11;6). The sound doctrine was what Paul toiled and strived to share among the Gentiles. He preached only Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jew and foolishness to the gentiles (1 Corinthians 1:23). Timothy was to keep a close watch on his life and the sound doctrine. He should persist in it, for by doing so, he would save himself and his hearers (1 Timothy 4:16). Many seek to deceive people with irreverent, silly myths that add no value to our faith or encourage godliness (1 Timothy 4:7). Some men seek to lead people astray, even the elect of God. They use false doctrines and claim they are the Lord’s prophets. They will claim they are Christ and show great signs and wonders to lead people away from God (Matthew 24:24). We should keep a close watch on our lives and doctrine because of such people. You should endeavour to study God for yourself, to know him so that you become a workman approved who is not ashamed because you are rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
Are you listening to someone who is teaching wrong things about God? Do you notice when someone says or teaches something that’s not true about God? Are you disturbed by those men and women claiming to be God’s servants, yet taking advantage of people in the name of God by tithes or sowing seeds? Do you have a friend or a family member who is deceived? To help them, study theology and teach it with patience and love, and always remember that only God can save them from such deceptions.