One of the most important things we can do to lead our hearts into adoration and praise of our Creator and Father, Savior and Lord, Comforter and Counselor; is to remember the many things he has given to us and consequently, done for us. In doing so we discover who God is. As we begin to think on these things, we develop a theology.
Oh I know many a preacher and fellow Christian has mocked theologians and downplayed theology as if it is the high-falutin mumbo-jumbo of Christianity. But theology is nothing more than the study and understanding of who God is.
Everyone who professes faith in any God is a theologian in that they all have an understanding of who that God is. The question is, "Are they a good theologian or a bad theologian?" And on what God is their theology centered? For Christians this theology must be based in the word of God and that God must be the author of that scripture.
I want to give credit where it is due. This concept and question have their origins for my part, in the teachings of and specifically a book written by Dr. R.C. Sproul, a world-renowned theologian and the founder of Ligonier ministries. His book is entitled, "Everyone is a Theologian". I confess I have not read the book, but I have listened to him speak on it, listened to him teach enough in general, and read another book in which he makes the same point to have an idea what he is getting at.
This is not a new idea and Dr. Sproul would be the first to admit that this idea does not originate with him. It goes all the way back to the New Testament. I am striving however, to take us on a journey through theology or "the study of God" by considering what He has given us and consequently done for us. And I want to do it, by simply scanning scripture and looking for the many blessings He has poured out on us.
What Do We Know or Not Know?
Here you will find an article discussing biblical illiteracy among Americans, many of which profess to be evangelical Christians. Concerningly, it suggests that fewer than half of all Americans can name the four Gospels and 60% of Americans can't name even five of the Ten Commandments.
It also states, among other things, that, 82% of Americans believe that "God helps those who help themselves" is a bible verse, 12% of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife, and over fifty percent of graduating high school seniors in a study thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife. To top it all off, a considerable amount of respondents to one poll thought that The Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.
It is important to note that while many of these stat's are generally found among the American secular population, similar studies show that biblical illiteracy of this nature is prevalent among the church as well. You may think this is ridiculous or you may be shocked to find yourself realizing some serious bible ignorance of your own. I have been there myself. These stats are based on fairly rudimentary biblical knowledge.
I shared these stats with a professing unbeliever who stated, "I actually knew the answer to all of those stats because I have actually read your bible." This person had read it and it wasn't even his! This simply reinforces the fact that reading the bible gives you much knowledge that you should be able to understand without great difficulty however, by itself it will not change the heart. The word of God must be applied to the heart of man by the Holy Spirit in order for regeneration(a heart change) to take place.
However, if you are a true convert to Christianity, you should quickly discover some of these basic truths. And, you should hunger and thirst for biblical knowledge more often than not. Trust me, the more you study, the more you realize how much you don't know; not because it is difficult to know or somehow unavailable, but because the opportunities for learning more from scripture are endless. This is true of all of us however, what you must know for salvation is clear in scripture for even the most basic of Christians.
The truth is that ignorance is extremely dangerous as a follower of Christ. We are subject to all kinds of false teaching and deception. Knowledge of the word of God not only gives us the necessary weapons to defeat the enemy in the many battles we will face, but it allows us to remember continually the sweetness of what Christ did for us, who we are in Him, and what He wants to do through us.
We must not be careless and lazy in our pursuit of the knowledge of God. He gave everything for us. Should we not give everything for Him?
The Sweetness of Discovery!Even if you consider yourself to be a pretty well read Christian as it relates to the bible, have you ever journeyed from beginning to end and gotten an overview of all that God has given us? Have you ever really spent time considering not just what He did for us yesterday, but what he has been doing from the beginning; even from eternity past?
There are many Christians, even academic theologians who do not properly understand that the OT and NT are not separate stories, nor are they speaking of two different natures of God, i.e. God of wrath(OT) and God of Love(NT).
The bible is one grand narrative; a beautiful love story from beginning to end full of love and wrath, grace and judgement, mercy and punishment, war and peace; but the Creator of the universe is the God of that whole story.
He is self-sufficient, all knowing, and all powerful. He needs nothing, is surprised by nothing, and in his sovereignty, is in control over everything.
If you think of theology that way, rather than thinking of it as some academic study about God that is for doctoral students in seminary, I promise you will discover life-giving truths about the loving and generous nature of God. I am not talking about the rose-colored glasses approach that picks and chooses which parts to believe and pay attention to. I mean discovering all of who God is.
He is not only love, He is also wrath; not just a forgiving Savior but a righteous and just judge; and while he is all knowing and always in control, he still allows us to be a part of His plan through the obedience of prayer, evangelism, and living a life worthy of the gospel.No matter how well read you are, there is always a fresh discovery to be made. Sometimes it is old knowledge renewed, but it is made all the sweeter in your remembrance. Sometimes whether new or old, truth is applied to your life in such a way as to make it come alive in ways you never thought possible.
God is loving and personal; and he wants you to know and understand who he is and consequently, who you are. What amazes me most is that in knowing God, you become known by Him!(Galatians 4:9, 1 Corinthians 8:3)
It has been a while since I have written here but I find that when I blog, it helps me to dig deeper and stay more faithfully plugged in to His word and all that it has to teach me. For this reason, it is important enough to me to try to blog regularly even while going to school and working. Lord willing I will be able to be consistent. I pray it is as much a blessing to those who read it as it is to me as I write it.
So will you come with me? Will you journey on a series that will give an overview of the goodness of God to His creation, most especially humanity?
Along the way, we will likely consider the importance of bible study, which is the means by which we discover all that we need to know about who God is to us and who we are to God.
I confess, I have an idea of what we will discover, but I fully expect to be freshly reminded, excited, and renewed by the truths that scripture reveals about the only God whom is worthy of worship on this earth today.
I hope you will join me.