Today’s post seeks to demonstrate that there are different approaches that can be applied to theology and highlights the value theology can bring to any Christian, whether a Christian is in a leadership role or not.
The foremost importance in theology is to understand what theology is. Then, this post seeks to demonstrate the different approaches to theology and how theology can be applied not only to an intellectual understanding of theology but also a relational adoption of theology in your relationship with the Holy Trinity. In essence; this post will demonstrate how to be (and not be) an advocate for theology (Smith 2013).
In our pursuit of theology we yearn to understand God’s nature and purpose better, so we can live in accordance with His will in our lifetime and have the knowledge necessary to pass it down to the generations to come (Smith 2013:23).
The methods of theology
Theology uses four important words to explain how Theologians should reason and discourse with scripture are; hermeneutical, critical, correlational and dialogical (Smith 2013: 40).
These words imply theologians must have the ability to interpret the word of God, texts, events, actions and traditions in a biblical sense, but theologians cannot rely solely on their own interpretations, theologians rely on others, they rely on church traditions and they interrupt situations and experiences (Smith 2013:40).
Theologians must be able to carefully evaluate and examine interpretations by reviewing and understanding their own works and the works of others before them, of Christian texts, beliefs and practices.
Theologians cannot simply accept that a specific interpretation is correct nor do they evaluate and examine with the intention of finding fault in previous interpretations. It simply means we must evaluate interpretations by the Spirit, but test them all and hold onto what is good (Smith 2013 :40; 1 Thes 5:21).
Theologians must begin a dialogue with other Christians, that is to discuss a subject until there is a clear and unified understanding of the interpretation. Our understanding of God is deepened through discussion with other Christians (Smith 2013: 43).
Theologians search for relationships between interpretations of texts, traditions, trends, teachings, theories, ideas and practices and so on, those of the past and those of today. We often do this by looking for relationships between the word of God and our world (Smith 2013: 44). There is no limit to how many things and the nature of things we can search to find a relationship in (Smith 2013: 46).
The Holy Bible: New International Version. 2011 Biblica, Inc.
Smith, KG. 2013. ‘Introduction to Theology’ Johannesburg, South Africa: SATS Press.
Smith, KG. 2015. ‘Sceptics on the Value of Theology.’ Johannesburg: South African Theological Seminary.
Segal M 2015. You cannot serve both God and theology. Online article. Accessed from http://www.desiringgod.org, 2019-08-07.