I’m a seminary student right now… that means I’m going to school and academically studying the Christian faith and the Bible. I’m really not sure why, to be honest. I feel sometimes that it’s a bit like dissecting something that you’re not supposed to dissect, lest it lose its wholeness and character… like listening to a beautiful song and missing its beauty because you’re too busy analyzing its measures, notes, cadences, and syncopation.
For instance: I’m taking a class on the Revelation of John (which is the last book in the Bible). When I first re-read the book before starting my class, I was profoundly struck my the metaphors, the imagery, the way Christ is depicted that sometimes we often forget, and the unfolding of human history all the way up to its climax in the “return of the King.” But then when we began to dissect it, and read all the commentaries and views about what certain phrases mean, and approach it as an academic subject, it loses some of its impact. I understand the value in this exercise, for there are things that cannot be fully understood or explained except by disciplined and scrupulous academic attention, but it also causes me to consider a statement by the Apostle Paul in the Bible that I haven’t for awhile:
“knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”
Education can be a person’s greatest tool, or their worst hindrance in being influential in this world. I don’t ever want to become an “ivory tower theologian,” parading my views and opinions around as if to say “I’m more spiritual or closer to God than you because I have an education in the Bible.”
Theology, the study of God, is not primarily meant for the academicians, the scholars, the bishops, the pastors, or the priests. Its meant for the common man and woman. Its meant for daily life. Its meant to be told not mainly in abstractions, propositions, and creeds, but in stories, anecdotes, narrative. Its meant to be simple, but profound at the same time. That’s why I’m undertaking an education in theology: so that someday I can translate theology into hope for the simple person.
Because I agree with Tozer: “what you think about God is the most important thing about you.” That’s why its important to “think rightly about God.”