Religion refers to the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
It may also refer to a particular system of faith or worship. On the other hand, theology comes from the Greek and it literally means knowledge about God. Theo means God and logy means the study of. Doctrine on the other hand means a system of particular beliefs. Therefore theology is the study of the nature of God and religious beliefs, which incorporates both the religious beliefs and theory that is systematically developed.
Biblical theology is a very important discipline due to these reasons; first it helps humans to determine the themes and truths of the scriptures that are really important to them. Relying on systematic theology alone helps in knowing the truths about the angels, man, redemption and sin but cannot help to tell which of those truths are the most important, the most emphasized and developed in the history of special revelation. The urge to seek understanding how the scriptures naturally unfold and how the themes are developed to grow even more mature which enables us to know what is really being emphasized for it is very important to know about cherubim and seraphim as it is to understand about redemption and justification.( Thomas, Owen C., and Ellen K.
Wondra. Introduction to theology. Church Publishing, Inc., 2002.)In seeking an answer to the question” why did God become man”, Graham Cole followed the bibles Old Testament themes of preparation, messianic hope, and theophany through to the New Testaments witness to the foretold divine event. His new studies in biblical theology concludes with existential and consideration implications of theological incarnation of God. In addressing the key issues in biblical theology, help the Christians to better understand the bible, aiming to simultaneously instruct, edify and interact with current situation in order to point a way ahead. Biblical theology is therefore the theological interpretation of the scripture in and for the church, by maintaining the sight of the bibles overarching narrative and Christocentric focus.
It is distinguished from other kinds of biblical interpretation such as allegorical, historical and critical methods such as redaction criticism yet it maintains some parallels with the neo-orthodox theology. (Cole, Graham. 2013. “The God Who Became Human” : A Biblical Theology of Incarnation. Illinois: InterVarsity Press. Accessed February 12, 2018.
ProQuest Ebook Central.) Biblical theology gives ‘the big picture’ and shows how the truths in the bible coheres and relate to each other, thus making sense as a whole. The reason behind this is because the bible was not given to mankind as a handbook of various doctrines and truths, but as a fundamental epic story in which those truths exist to depict the glory of one great being, the super Hero, foreshadowed, promised, and prepared for in the Old Testament and then finally accomplishing his magnificent and many faceted work in the New Testament. Systematic theology alone does not give the epic of Christ-centered sense of the bible as a one unified whole that testifies to the great and mighty work of Gods redemption through his only eternal Son, the triumphant Jesus Christ. The biblical theology is therefore helpful in demanding the application of rigorous historical and grammatical hermeneutic in exegesis. By its nature it should thus take into account the context and history of a special revelation, answering the questions of why maybe a particular book was written at a particular time, the problem it addressed and how it further prepared the people of God for the coming of the savior Jesus Christ. For this reason, it is healthy corrective to any tendencies of careless proof-texting.
(Hamilton, James M. Jr. “What is Biblical Theology?” Illinois: Crossway, 2001.)In the bible also, the importance of theology is also clearly stated in the book of Timothy that, if anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing.
They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. Theology is therefore deals with ones understanding of who God is and what he has done for them. Theological concepts are accompanied by theological responses. Justification means we are completely forgiven by God by what Christ has done, Gods righteousness covers us. Our justification is that we do not have to fear the expectations of others or of our own failure because God accepts us.
Therefore we do not need to withdraw gossip or even manipulate to be overly driven by success. You need not tom please others for self approval(Lawrence, Michael. “Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church,” A Guide for Ministry. Wheaton: Crossway, (2010).)Theology strengthens Christians’ ability to articulate to key doctrinal beliefs in so many ways. One being that it is required for salvation and since a certain amount of knowledge is required according to the parable of the seeds, i.e.
then he told them many things in parables saying; a farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and birds came and ate them up (Mt 13:3-4) “listen to what the parable of the sower means: when anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path (Mt 13; 18-19). It is however important to note that no amount of theological study will qualify us for salvation. One can study Jesus their entire life without knowing Him as their savior hence it is only through Gods revelation through the Holy Spirit that we can confess him as Lord.
(The New King James Version (NKJV) Bible)Theology increases our faith. After conversion, one continues to increase their knowledge which in turn increases their faith by believing in God’s word. One cannot however believe the bible unless what it says is understood. It leads to discipleship, godliness and also guarantees answers to our prayers. The bible says if you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you (John 15:7). Another requirement for an answered prayer is to pray according to Jesus’ will (John 14; 14), since our Lord has spoken to us through the entirety of the scripture, that we must know and obey it in order to claim the promise. It gives us sound biblical foundation and protects us from false doctrine.
The sound doctrine protects us from false prophets, teachers, and different forms of satanic deception. According to the book of Colossians,” my purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine sounding arguments (Col 2:2-4).( Lindbeck, George A. The nature of doctrine: Religion and theology in a postliberal age. Westminster John Knox Press, 1984.)It helps us build a proper Christian world view.
This allows us to properly interpret the aspects of life and culture and also learn to think Gods thoughts after Him by aligning all our will to His. The teachings that we hear shall all be filtered through our world view. It also helps us to keep the right path(discernment) and since most modernists always talk of not needing the scripture, and that they just let the holy spirit be their guide but the bible in the book of Psalms 119:105 says,” your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path”. Since there are false spirits, there is need for absolute source in order to properly test the spirits, rather than employing our own fallible human reasoning. Theology also helps one grow, mature, defend our faith, and fuel our worship to the Lord. If we don’t know who God is, and what he’s like, how can we worship him? John piper offers this said analogy of worship that, the furnace of worship is our heart and the fuel of worship is the truth we know about God. Theology is the foundation of hope, peace and joy and if we don’t understand it, we miss out on hope, joy and peace that come from beholding what a great God we serve.
( Mosala, Itumeleng J. “Biblical hermeneutics and black theology in South Africa.” PhD diss., University of Cape Town, 1987.)It strengthens Christians in a way since God himself is not a good self-help instructor, and since the American culture tends to surround us with the notion that we possess within ourselves all those resources necessary for success and happiness. It is so u8nfortunate that this notion has found its way to the Christian faith, worship and preaching. Dietrich Bonheoffer reminds us that theology is not in the business of exploiting human limitations and weaknesses, rather than understanding God in terms of human life which should be defined by the power of God in Jesus Christ.
Since God is not a cosmic dictator, Christians find comfort in the belief that God is always in control of their lives and since he always has a perfect plan, not only providing salvation, but also offering solace in the times of great suffering. Perhaps it is not a surprise during the times of political chaos fuelled by inability to settle on a common candidate, we always find assurance in a cosmic decider, making such clear and final decisions regarding the same. It is not what Christians believe in that matters, it is why you believe in it and how and we are always convinced that engaging in careful theological thought is an essential task of the Christian life. There is no way we can abandon theology the way we can abandon God, since it is involved in some fashion whenever we speak or think about God.
( Niebuhr, Reinhold. The Nature and Destiny of Man: A Christian Interpretation: Human Nature. Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.)Theology fuels obedience since if we have a great view of God and deep joy in him, we shall have a strong motivation to obey him.e.g.
Striving to be holy because God is holy is a stronger motive for obedience than just simply the right thing to do. It also unites Christians, since there is always a strong and powerful fellowship in unity among a group of believers that share common vision and beliefs. It therefore provides a great encouragement that is always hard to find elsewhere. By the above, it strengthens the church. The church of God seems to be in great danger today; William Lane Craig once said that “our churches are filled with Christians who are idling in intellectual neutral. As Christians their minds are going to waste. One of a result to this is immature and superficial faith.
People who simply ride the roller coaster of emotional experience are cheating themselves out of a deeper and richer Christian faith by neglecting the intellectual side of that faith. In our modern times however it is much more common to find churches teaching a watered-down, speaker-friendly, man-centered, non-accountable religion that attempts to synchronize with rather than transforming the world.(Dillon, Michele. Catholic identity: Balancing reason, faith, and power. Cambridge University Press, 1999.)