What is Theology?



A good question this is. Often you can get very different answers to the question depending on who you talk to. More importantly, there are multiple layers of depth of understanding, some simple, others quite complex.

Simply put, theology means the study of faith in God. Specifically, Christian theology looks at who God is through a Christian lens. The reality is that every Christian is a theologian whether or not they believe it to be true. The deeper question is one going to be a good theologian or a not so good one?

We are called to be disciples of Christ. This intimate relationship involves knowing Him, and being known by Him as well. Out theology must be woven into a relational framework. And without faith, it is impossible to be pleasing to God.

Alister McGrath has some good information about the subject of theology in his work titled Theology, the Basics. While the title implies basic, the content is actually quite robust and helpful to look at. In the introduction he quotes many of the great church leaders of history, describing how they define the nature of theology. I would like to mention some them here to help us see how there are deep levels for us to consider.

Karl Rahner: “Theology is the science of faith. It is the conscious and methodical explanation of the divine revelation received and grasped by faith.”

Sarah Coakly: “Theology is an integrated presentation of Christian truth, which attempts to provide a coherent and alluring vision of the Christian faith.”

Alister McGrath: “Theology is a reflective inhabitation of the Cristian faith through which we become aware of Christianity’s capacity to engage both the rationality and the beauty of our world.

Anselm of Canterbury: “Theology as faith seeking understanding.”

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You can see that there is a beautiful combination of faith and intellect working together in understanding how creation and salvation are the core principles of the study of Theology.

So, let’s get good at theology. Let’s embrace the disciplines of what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus. We are called to love God with all of our heart, mind soul and strength. We should take the initiative to study to show ourselves approved.

To learn more about the subject, I highly recommend this short video by Alister.

Theology Basics Overview