By now, maybe you’ve got an idea why I earnestly want to read through the whole Bible this year and why you should too. It’s not too late to start. Grab yourself an ESV Every Day Bible which divides up passages into daily chunks, or follow one of the reading plans attached somewhere to this episode on our website.
But you might be confused, and maybe laugh a little, at the fact that I’m deciding to read these fat academic looking books. ‘Well, Hans is nerdy like that’ you might say. I’m not saying you’ve got to read these exact books, but I do want to say that doing theology is not just for theologians and scholars, or for older people like our pastors and parents. Theology is for every Christian young and old.
Theology comes from the greek words Theos which means ‘God’ and logia which means ‘study’ or ‘speech’. So theology is the study of God. Although, as I said in the previous episode, studying about God is different from the study of science or any of your other school subjects because God is the creator and we are His creation. When we study God He’s greater than us so we’re totally dependant on His grace to reveal Himself to us, we need humility, we need to submit to what He says, and our study must lead to our obedience and worship of Him.
But here’s the problem in our generation. Regardless of how smart you think you are, we’re all getting the best education history knows about. At school we’re striving hard to learn algebra, classical literature, genetics, modern history, environmental sustainability, physics, the list goes on. We study hard for school assessments, we ask questions when we don’t understand, we want to know how these things work.
However, when it comes to understanding the Bible, God, God’s plan, who we are as humans before God, Christ’s work on the cross, we’re happy with our kindergarten level abc’s.
Yes, the Bible’s confusing at times to understand, yes there are hard passages which don’t seem to make sense at first glance, yes you might feel parts of it are unrelated at times. But the Bible is God’s Word! It’s our story. It’s what will make sense of our broken lives and point us to the True Hope. Don’t you want to put a little more effort to understanding this book?
There are many branches of theology that work together to answer this one question, “what does the Bible say?” There are those who do Exegetical Theology where they study the original languages and uncover what the texts say with all the nuances of the original human authors. Then there are Biblical Theologians who trace the whole narrative of the Bible and how God revealed Himself to us humans throughout God’s grand plan of redemptive history. Then there are those who do Systematic Theology and compile and sort the Bible’s teachings into categories so we can understand what the Bible teaches ‘systematically’.
Of course all human efforts to do theology is flawed. We’re sinful and we’re human. Our knowledge of God is so small and limited. Beeke illustrated it this way. If God was the vast, grand and mighty ocean, then our knowledge of God is like a two-year-old who can only say, “blue!”, “wet!”, “big!”. The two-year-old doesn’t know about its depth, width, wave patterns, density, temperature qualities, and all the other complexities of that vast ocean. So it is with our knowledge of God and so it should humble us.
Still, with lowly and needy hearts, I want us to learn about God and His attributes, about who we really are as man before God, about Christ , about the Holy Spirit, about God’s saving work in our lives, about the church and our calling to be part of it in this time and age, and about the last days when God will judge the world and reign fully over all things.
I hope that from a young age, as teens, we can start to know God, to start to “taste and see that the LORD is good”. I hope that we can start to see God’s glory dimly and praise Him for it, and I hope that this trajectory for life can be set now for eternity.
Bible Reading Plans: https://www.esv.org/resources/reading-plans/
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