The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction... Proverbs 1:7
Wait; wait just a minute now! Didn’t you say that religion is just the made-up rules and traditions of men and that Jesus frowned on the traditions developed and imposed on the assembly by religious leaders… that Jesus wants us to have a relationship with God and not a rules based religious connection with God? “Yup I did.”
So what are you proposing here as far as a Do and a Don’t for me? “Please, walk this way…”
- Theology means the study of God (Theo – God, ology – study). And there are many types of theology:
- Historical: how Christians in different periods understood the various theological topics.
- Biblical: gives special attention to the teachings of individual authors and sections of Scripture.
- Systematic: what does the Bible teach us about specific topics: God, man, sin, angels, etc.
- Apologetics: provides a defense of the truthfulness of the Christian faith.
- Philosophical: studying theology without depending upon the Bible; philosophical reasoning.
- Practical/Applied: the application of theological insights to our lives.
So one can see from these many types of theology that an individual can spend a lot of time with their nose in-the-books studying about God. However there can be a real difference between the study of God and a relationship with God. And there lies the Don’t. Don’t forget to spend time with God: Meditate on His word; Talk to Him in prayer; Spend time with Him in reflection… maybe in a quiet place (park?) without other people present (others with you that is).
In the New Testament we find that our Lord spent a lot of time alone with God the Father: in Olive groves and on quiet hillsides; during the day and often at night. In fact, after one of His special miraculous days (feeding five thousand) He sent the people and the Apostles away, avoiding His due adulation, and just spent some quiet time with the Father. Then later that night, He walked on water! Maybe that was the key, spending time with the Father; who knew?
But seriously, Do Not forget to spend time with God; and yet Do spend time in His word. It is to your benefit to study what the Scriptures say about God; after all the Scriptures are God’s revelation of Himself to us. He provided His written word so everybody could study it for themselves; and in that way everybody could hear from God themselves – directly.
However you do not want to be so concerned with the intellectual intricacies of theology that you lose sight of the relational aspects of the Christian faith. As one scholar put it, “Isolated from spirituality, theology can become dry and barren. But isolated from theology, spirituality can drift into platitudinous piety. So Theology and Spirituality must be bound together in a mutually nourishing relationship” (Demarest, p. 292). Now that’s definitely Doable!