The series Doctrines in the Kitchen continues and I have been so blessed by each of the posts our hosts have served us. At the same time I am very grateful for each one of you, our readers. Thank you for coming and taking the time to feast with us.
When you have a big book like this one (1245 pages) that will lead you by the hand through different doctrines taught throughout the Bible, it is very encouraging to read these words in the first chapters:
“Nowhere in Scripture do we find doctrine studied for its own sake or in isolation from life. The biblical writers consistently apply their teaching to life. Therefore, any Christian reading this book should find his or her Christian life enriched and deepened during this study; indeed, if personal spiritual growth does not occur, then the book has not been written properly by the author or the material has not been rightly studied by the reader…”
These words are so important to consider, please, read them again “Therefore, any Christian reading this book should find his or her Christian life enriched and deepened during this study; indeed, if personal spiritual growth does not occur, then the book has not been written properly by the author or the material has not been rightly studied by the reader…”
That is the purpose of studying the Scriptures, of reading the “big books”, of digging deeper into the Word: to grow spiritually. Our goal is never to know more for the sake of knowing more, but to know more for the sake of wanting to grow more.
This is another quote that speaks of my own experience, and it is of great weigh when considering getting deeper into the Word:
“…it is inevitable that someone studying a systematic theology text or taking a course in systematic theology for the first time will have many of his or her own personal beliefs challenged or modified, refined or enriched. It is of utmost importance therefore that each person beginning such a course firmly resolve in his or her own mind to abandon as false any idea which is found to be clearly contradicted by the teaching of Scripture. But it is also very important for each person to resolve not to believe any individual doctrine simply because this textbook or some other textbook or teacher says that it is true, unless this book or the instructor in a course can convince the student from the text of Scripture itself. It is Scripture alone, not “conservative evangelical tradition” or any other human authority, that must function as the normative authority for the definition of what we should believe.”
This happened to me. I had learned and learned well so many things that were not grounded in the Scriptures (even though I thought they were), but as soon as I started to dig deep into the Word, I had to put aside most of what I have learned and start aligning my beliefs (and conscience) to the Holy Scriptures, and not only to those few verses I liked and were out of context. Oh, how I love my Lord and His Word which is forever true!
Grudem lists several reasons on “Why Should Christians Study Theology? Why should Christians study systematic theology? That is, why should we engage in the process of collecting and summarizing the teachings of many individual Bible passages on particular topics? Why is it not sufficient simply to continue reading the Bible regularly every day of our lives? :
On Grudem’s words:
“1.The basic reason for studying systematic theology, then, is that it enables us to teach ourselves and others what the whole Bible says, thus fulfilling the second part of the Great Commission.
2. The Benefits to Our Lives:
* First, studying theology helps us overcome our wrong ideas (rebellious ideas).
* Second, studying systematic theology helps us to be able to make better decisions later on new questions of doctrine that may arise.
* Third, studying systematic theology will help us grow as Christians. The more we know about God, about his Word, about his relationships to the world and mankind, the better we will trust him, the more fully we will praise him, and the more readily we will obey him. Studying systematic theology rightly will make us more mature Christians. If it does not do this, we are not studying it in the way God intends.”
And how should we study Systematic Theology?
Grudem lists 6 ways:
1. We Should Study Systematic Theology With Prayer.
2. We Should Study Systematic Theology With Humility.
3. We Should Study Systematic Theology With Reason.
4. We Should Study Systematic Theology With Help From Others.
5. We Should Study Systematic Theology by Collecting and Understanding All the Relevant Passages of Scripture on Any Topic.
6. We Should Study Systematic Theology With Rejoicing and Praise.
Dear friends, it is our prayer that God will draw us to a deeper relationship with Him. And the only way we can know that we are indeed walking close to Him, in a close relationship with Him, is if we are digging deep into His precious Word, if our soul is only satisfied when we drink from the only fountain of Living Water, the Perfect Word of God, and we are then transformed day after day by its power.