man with BibleWhy study theology?  Sometimes people look at the Semester in Scotland programme and think that it is for ministry majors.  Why would any other student need classes such as Systematic Theology?  Surely there are more relevant classes to take for other majors.

No.  Theology is what grounds us in the faith, which is the most important thing of all.  Paul, in writing to the Ephesians, calls on them all to attain to maturity, “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine.”  Do you want to be grounded in the faith, or are you happy being tossed to and fro?  There is one true and orthodox doctrine, and that doctrine is in the Scriptures.

But it is not enough simply to know the words of Scripture.  We must understand the doctrine that those words teach.  Heroes and heretics will use the same words, but they will mean different things; both will quote Scripture, but who uses it correctly?  Will you be grounded or will you be tossed?  We must search the Scriptures like the Bereans to understand its doctrine.

Since our faith affects every area of our lives, it changes the way we look at Science and Maths, or History and Music.  Our worldview alters our actions, whether we are a teacher or a vet, an artist or plumber.  If our faith is grounded by good theology it will lead us in right paths in any profession.  If our theology is not sound, our faith will be ungrounded and we will experience the turbulence that ensues.

Do all Christian students need theology?  Absolutely!  We all engage in it every time we open our Bibles to study its meaning.  When we are asked questions about God or sin or faith or church or right and wrong, we systematise our thoughts into concrete statements of doctrine.  When we consider the place of God in our major or profession we have to engage in theology since the Bible may not directly address that job.  But do we want our doctrine to be Biblical?  Are we prepared to go back and challenge our views in the light of the Scriptures?  Why not do this while you are still a student?

Stephen McCollum

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