When theology is mentioned in a circle of women I have often found the response to be less than enthusiastic. Mention books on homemaking, marriage or parenting, on the other hand, and everyone seems interested. Why is that? I have heard comments like, “I’m just not smart enough”, “I will leave the study of theology to the men”, or “I don’t need theology I just need to read my Bible.”
But the truth is no one is “smart enough” to know God on their own. It is only because God has revealed himself to sinners that we can know him at all. And leaving the study of theology to the men is like saying no to a beautiful dinner prepared by a master chef, only allowing some of the guests to eat. And reading the Bible is itself a theological effort. There is no reading your Bible without theology. Ultimately it is impossible for any Christian to ignore theology (the study of God) and grow strong in the faith. It’s not that I believe we need fewer books on marriage and homemaking, but that we need more theology in and around everything we do.
Here are 6 reasons women should study theology:
1. To know God
Many women’s ministries and books focus on “practical Christian living” that is too often divorced from doctrine which gives us guidelines and rules rather than a Guide and redemption. We are made and saved to know God. This is the essence of eternal life (John 17:3). We are God’s children, adopted into his royal family. Wouldn't it make sense to get to know our father as best we can? Peter calls us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of God (2 Peter 3:18). Do you want to know God? Then you must be a theologian. This doesn’t mean you have to be measure up to R.C Sproul, but it means you must strive to know your God as best as you can. If you don’t you are robbing yourself of the knowledge of God and more than likely developing bad doctrine along the way?
If you do not listen to theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones— bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas. - C. S. Lewis
2. To handle life’s hardships
Practical living flows from our theology, whether we realize it or not. This is especially true in regards to how we handle hard days. How we think about and respond to the way our children argue with each other or disobey us is directly influenced by what we believe about God. How we interact in our marriages, how we handle financial strain, illnesses and tragedies, directly flow from our theology. Is God in this darkness? Does he have a plan? Does he still love me? Is he angry? Is he still in control? What does he want from me in this? This is theology.
3. To give an answer for what we believe
We are told in 1 Peter 3:15 that we need to able to give an account for what we believe. Without theology we cannot answer the big questions about life, death, suffering, and purpose from a Biblical view point. Those are theological questions. Neither can we share the gospel apart from theology. Telling people about Jesus is theological discourse. Consider than you are called to bear witness to a resurrected savior, and made a part of a people who were created to proclaim God’s excellencies.
4. To obey Scripture
We are called to love God will all of our heart, strength and mind. (Jer. 9:23,24; Matt 22:37) In order to love God with your mind you need to know who he is and what he has done. The deeper you study his character the more strongly our love for him will grow. A cold heart usually is the result of a lack of mediation on the things of God.
5. To strengthen worship
How can we praise God when we don’t know much about him? How can we sing of his goodness if we don’t know what it is? In corporate worship or private worship, the better your theology the louder your praise. We are called to worship God in spirit and in truth. This “truth” is found the study his word (Jn. 4:24).
6. To keep us humble
Pride has a way of making us think that we have it all figured out. But the more we study God in all his different facets we begin to see how huge he is and how small we are. How holy he is and how tainted by sin we are; how kind, gentle, and good he is compared to how petty, easily angered, and impatient we are. Theology keeps a woman humble. If not, she’s doing it wrong.
There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a study of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. - C.H. Spurgeon
Theology is extremely important and deeply practical. It will determine how you handle the mundane things of life. It will be the driving force behind your worship. And it will increase your thankfulness. Most importantly it will reveal to you the greatness and holiness of the God who made you and takes care of you.
Jen Thorn lives in Illinois where she serves alongside her husband, Joe, at Redeemer Fellowship. She loves studying theology, reading the Puritans, and has a passion for all things chocolate. Jen has 4 children and blogs at jenthorn.com as well as lovegodgreatly.com. Follow her on Twitter @jenlthorn or on Facebook: Jen Thorn