Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up (1 Cor. 8:1 ESV)
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “theology”? Does God care about it? Many people will spontaneously think about biblical scholars, formal academic studies of God, seminaries, Bible schools or even their pastor who took some advanced theological course to be a “better preacher.” Sadly enough, these are only one facet of theology, and in fact, they are not the fundamental idea.
For the sake of simplicity, I would distinguish two related but distinct arms of theology. The first arm falls under the formal systems of academic studies mentioned above. The second is given to us in the verse above with the words “all of us possess knowledge.” What does this have to do with theology, you may ask? Theology is essentially YOUR UNDERSTANDING OR KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. Every single one of us has an understanding of God. In fact, even the Atheist is a theologian, because his or her knowledge of God is that there is no God.
As a believer, the totality of your knowledge and understanding about God is YOUR THEOLOGY, irrespective of where you got that knowledge from. We are all personal theologians. Some move on to become “professional theologians”. Your theology is the most important thing you have in life besides God. I mean what I just wrote! It will determine whether you will end up in heaven or hell. It will determine your intimacy and fellowship with the Spirit of God, your perspective of life, the quality of life you will live here, etc. Many of us have not yet understood the paramount importance of our personal knowledge of God. Does God care about theology? He does not only care but He does so one million percent! He is the Author of Theology and He founded it when He chose to reveal Himself to humanity through knowledge and especially words. This is what He says “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col. 3:16 ESV), in other words, excel in personal theology!
The right formal theological studies can significantly accelerate your knowledge of God, but sadly, that is not always the case, especially in this day and age. While knowledge to God is only a MEANS to an intimate relationship with Him, it is the END OR GOAL for most formal theological systems of study. This is why it is possible to find an excellent theologian who might have no personal knowledge or experience of God. After years of experience in the Word, I came to the conclusion that the best place to find the greatest miracles or personal experiences of intimacy with the Spirit of God would have been in seminaries. Why? Because of the concentrated focus on the knowledge of God that in theory is supposed to be in these places and God is in His knowledge. Sadly, that is not the case in most, not all, formal theological circles. Why? Because while God’s focus is on the relationship through knowledge, many formal academic systems focus on knowlege as their goal. Paul sums it up beautifully above in words “ knowledge puffs up.”
Nevertheless, God wants you to pay attention to your theology. If He leads to you take an advanced theological study, go for it. If not, you do not have to wait to go to seminary to know God!
Did you ever consider yourself a theologian?
APPLY THE WORD
I urge you with the words of Col. 3:16 to grow richly in the word and knowledge of Christ.
Ask the Spirit to help you grow in your theology and to keep you from falling prey into erroneous and mistaken knowledge of God.