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Sunday School: “What’s Theology and Why Should I Care About It?”

Theology. For many years, theology was something only pastors and elderly seminary professors were concerned with, but I think that’s only because the average person doesn’t really understand what theology is. When I first learned to read the Bible from a theological point of view, I was a little nervous. I didn’t think I was smart enough to understand what seemed like such an intellectual, Christian word, but when you get down to it, theology isn’t all that difficult.

So, what is theology?

The study of theology is by definition the quest for the ultimate truth about God, about ourselves and about the world we live in (Larry Hart, Truth Aflame).

Why should you care about theology?

Without realizing it, you and I think about and discuss theology every day! Yes, you do. If you have an opinion about what life is all about, what we humans are up to, what God is up to (and who hasn’t wondered about that!), or what’s important in life, then you’re a theologian. Everyone’s a theologian.

As we work out relationships in our lives, we need to figure out what is and should be important to us. This involves understanding our place in our relationships with God, other people, the planet we live on and ourselves.

I have a word of caution about developing theology for you. Theology is very personal, but at the same time, it’s also universally applicable. This means that what you come to understand about God, humanity and the world around us may be personal to you, but it must also be universally true. Good theology is not only true to the person who developed it, but to other people as well.

For those of you interested in learning to develop your theology further, here are five basic theological questions to ask when you read your Bible:

1. What does the passage teach us about God?
2. What does the passage teach us about humankind?
3. What does the passage teach us about the relationship between God and humankind?
4. What does the passage teach us about the responsibilities God gives to humankind?
5. What does the passage teach us about how people should treat each other, particularly in light of our relationship to God?

Let’s take a simple example.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world His eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things He has made. So they are without excuse (Romans 1:18-20).

How many things can you find that this passage teaches us about God? Let me give you two things to start: 1. God has shown humanity what can be known about Him, and 2. God’s power and nature are understood through the things He has made. I can count at least four more things this passage teaches us about God…can you find them?

This passage also teaches us that God wants humanity to know and understand Him to the best of our ability. If He didn’t want us to know Him, He wouldn’t have revealed Himself through His creation.

Theology is important to everyone because it helps us answer the questions we have about life and God. It’s important for us to develop theology on our own by studying our Bibles so that we are less likely to be led astray by someone else’s bad theology or false teaching.

Girls, I hope this article has helped you understand how important theology is to your individual life.

Before reading this article, did you consider yourself a theologian? Do you now?

But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a goof conscience and a sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5).

More Stories Like This on Project Inspired:

Sunday School: Do We Have a Choice in How We Show Praise to God?
Sunday School: How Far Would You Go to Reach Jesus?
Sunday School: Are You Ready for Jesus to Make You Well?

Image: iStockPhoto, ThinkStock

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3 Comments

  1. olburrows

    Posted by olburrows on May 7, 2013 at 11:10

    I never had a clear understanding of theology. Thanks for describing it in such great detail, Jenn! Wonderful article!Keep it coming! 😀

  2. jesslt

    Posted by jesslt on May 7, 2013 at 08:09

    Thanks for this article, it came at just the right time, I was a little uncertain about theological interpretation of the Bible, on whether or not it may produce misinterpretations of the Bible, but this article has cleared up a few things for me, when you said that it should not only be personal but also a universal truth, which I agree with whole heartedly, thanks again 🙂

  3. Project Inspired

    Posted by hfryman17 on May 6, 2013 at 19:23

    I love the quote. what is theology? The quest for the ultimate truth of God. I guess I never looked at it like this. Thank you for giving me a better understanding. I want to be a missionary and I love studying the Bible but I never looked at it as theology. This changed my way of thinking. 🙂