What Exactly is Theology?

Over the past few days you’ve seen my opinion that theology is immensely practical, and even more so.  I believe the pursuit of correct theological understanding is a necessity for the Christian life because it is the Christians chief pursuit to know God, and we cannot know God in any real sense of the word, unless we know things about Him.

The underlying premise of all good theology is this: God Himself is the foundation and source of all truth.

If we’re to learn anything truthfully in this world we must endeavor to learn it and understand it in light of God. This is why throughout every century throughout history except ours, theology has been called ‘the queen of the sciences.’ Theology was seen as the queen of the sciences and the profession of ‘theologian’ and even the ‘Christian philosopher’ was seen as a noble calling and an extremely important vocation. It is a shame that today this queen has been removed from her throne, and a phony now reigns in her place. (R.C. Sproul makes this argument well)

I want the queen to regain her throne, so I study myself, I preach, I teach, and I blog to spread these things.  Theology is the most grand of subjects, but before we go any further let’s do something we haven’t done yet – define theology.

What is theology?

And in particular what is the science of systematic theology?

The answer to this question is given to us in the word ‘theology’ itself. Many of you have been to schools or universities where you studied things like biology, anthropology, or psychology. These words, along with theology, all share the same ending ‘ology.’ This ending comes from the Greek word ‘logos’ (think John 1:1) and literally means the ‘word’ or the ‘logic’ of something. When this word is attached onto the end of a word most people translate it as ‘the study of’ a certain subject. So biology is the study of ‘bios’ or life. Anthropology is the study of ‘anthropos’ or man. Psychology is the study of ‘psyche’ or the mind and it’s behavior.

When ‘logos’ is attached to the Greek word ‘these’ (which means God) it becomes ‘theology’ and is translated ‘the study of God.’  Simply put – Theology is the study of God.

Where does this leave us?

‘We find ourselves in the position of a mountain climber who, after looking at a grand mountain from a distance and traveling near it, finds himself in the position to approach it directly with the intention of climbing it.’ (J.I. Packer)

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