I love to read. I get excited to see the new releases each month and typically read anywhere from 4-10 books a month. I love to read fiction books, but my real love lies in Christian non-fiction.
In fact, I issued a Christian reading challenge for women this year and several thousand women are all reading together this year and encouraging one another in that endeavor. It’s really fun and encouraging!
But because I’m such an avid reader, one very sad thing becomes all too apparent: The Christian book market is riddled with books marketed to women that are full of fluff. They are devoid of anything of substance and many of them have very wrong and un-Biblical teaching inside.
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And yes, we women eat them up and recommend them to our friends. I’m not saying that every popular book out there is trash…but somewhere in our popular Christian culture, we forgot to be discerning with what we read, what we take in, and what our theology is.
It scares me and troubles me to see the fluff and down right false teaching that is circulating as “good Christian books”. So what’s the answer?
We women (and all believers) need to know God’s Word. We need to be well versed in the Bible so that when that fluff or false teaching comes around, we can recognize it for what it is. We need to be discerning so that we can bring every thought, deed, and action back to God’s Word to measure it against what God has to say…not man (or that popular woman blogger)!
I’ve been doing a lot of study on this topic lately. And my biggest encouragement and takeaway has been that women need to learn theology. We need to live in, dwell in, and know God’s Word. Having a firm grasp of theology is essential for the life of the believer.
You might be thinking that this is a boring topic. And you are about ready to tune out. But there are some intensely practical reasons for studying theology. We will discuss that below. But first:
What is theology?
What do I mean when I say we will spend the next four weeks studying practical theology? Will I be sharing really boring books and quotes from people who died a long time ago? Will you be falling asleep at the wheel from long boring talks? Absolutely not! A good decision on practical theology has deep roots into all aspects of our lives.
“The word ‘theology’ comes from two Greek words that combined mean ‘the study of God.’ Christian theology is simply an attempt to understand God as He is revealed in the Bible. No theology will ever fully explain God and His ways because God is infinitely and eternally higher than we are. Therefore, any attempt to describe Him will fall short (Romans 11:33-36). However, God does want us to know Him insofar as we are able, and theology is the art and science of knowing what we can know and understand about God in an organized and understandable manner. Some people try to avoid theology because they believe it is divisive. Properly understood, though, theology is uniting. Proper, biblical theology is a good thing; it is the teaching of God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17).” – Got Questions
Our “theology” is what we know about God. So studying theology simple means learning more about God. And the idea of practical theology couples our knowledge of God with those practical parts of our life.
“Don’t be content with the Christian desk calendar approach to Christianity. Don’t be satisfied with a daily practical saying or some three-step process for being a good wife or a better friend. God has called you and equipped you to know him. We have no excuse to remain ignorant of his character. Seek God’s face. Understand his character. Pursue knowledge of him, for apart from the ‘fear of the Lord’ and ‘the knowledge of the Holy One” (Proverbs 9:1) we have no hope for being a wise mother, sister, wife, or friend.
“So, what is theology and why should I care? Theology is basically just the study of God – who he is and what he does. Proverbs says that such knowledge of God is the foundation for wise living. So we study theology that we may know God and be enlightened to the benefits of our relationship with him.” – Practical Theology for Women, pages 26-27
Why do women need theology?
To Know God More
As believers, we are called to love God.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” – Matthew 22:36-37
How do we learn to love God with our entire heart, soul, and mind? By studying God’s Word. By learning his character and his heart. By getting to know God. And we do this by studying God’s Word and learning “theology.”
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight’ (Proverbs 9:10). Most church attendees admit that they need wisdom. Each Sunday many come to church hoping for the preacher to give some principle that they can apply to their lves in the coming week that will mae them a wiser parent, spouse, employer, or employee. Proverbs 9:10 hols the answer. The Bible repeatedly says that wisdom in practical daily living is preceded by ‘the fear of the LORD’ and ‘the knowledge of the Holy One.’ – Practical Theology for Women, pages 26-27
The beginning of all wisdom and knowing the Lord is fearing Him and obeying His commandments. How do we grow in that fear and knowledge of the Lord? By reading His word!
“It’s obvious from these Scriptures [Job 28:28, Psalm 111:10, Provers 15:33] that wise, practical daily living is preceded by a knowledge of God that leads to fear, awe, and reverence of him, his power, and his purpose. In other words, theology is the root, foundation, and framework for practical living that reflects wisdom and understanding.” – Practical Theology for Women, pages 25
To teach our children (and future generations)
For those of us who are moms, we have a great responsibility for teaching and training up our kids in the Lord. We are not meant to simply care for their physical needs, we are to care for their spiritual needs as well.
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-9
“Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6
We have a personal responsibility before the Lord to know Him more and more. But we also have a parental responsibility before the Lord to be daily teaching and instructing our children. We are called to use small examples and things from our day to teach our children about the Gospel.
We are to use those moments of sin and discipline, fights and anger, bitterness and jealousy, to teach our children that Jesus died on the cross for believers and that if they would repent and trust in Jesus, they can be saved. In order to know how to instruct our children, we have to first know this stuff.
In order to model godly living, we have to first know what it means to live a godly life. In order to train them up in the Lord, we have to first know God with our entire heart, soul, and mind. And so, as a mom, practical theology becomes incredible important.
And the incredible thing is then, we have no idea how far reaching our influence may be. The work we are sowing today, may reach down many generations as we teach our kids, who teach their kids, who teach their kids, and so on.
To discern false or wrong teaching
Like I said at the beginning, popular Christianity today is riddled with false or wrong teaching and is full of books that are basically fluff. Saying lots of things about lots of things but never actually speaking truth, or maybe only speaking truth in part.
The sheer amount of information that’s out there and the things we come across by the minute is insane. Even in the last 2-3 years, the information at our fingertips has exploded. These numbers don’t even seem real. It’s said that 90% of the world’s data has been created in just the last 2 years alone!
For example, in 2012 Facebook had over 600,000 shares a minute! In 2014 that number jumped to almost 2.5 million shares a minute. And I’m sure that number has exploded in the last three years. In 2012, Google had around 2 million searches a minute, 2014 that jumped to 4 million, and has gone up from there.
With so much information at our finger tips, every single second, it’s more important than ever that we are discerning with what we read, the doctrines and theology we come across, and who we let into our homes through books, podcasts, sermons, and videos.
It might not seem like that big of a deal, but there is so much false teaching out there that is dangerous and can cause us to be led stray from God and His Word. It’s more important than ever that we have discerning hearts and minds. And the only way to do that, is to know what God’s Word has to say!
Protects our hearts
As humans, it’s so so easy to find our identity and our worth in other things, rather than in the Lord. And as women, we have a very big danger of finding our worth in our homes, our roles as wives, in our motherhood, and all that we get wrapped up in every day.
It’s so easy to find our identity in those things. To store our hope in our children, to find our worth in posting perfect Instagram stories, to find our identity as wives. When we place our identity and our worth in these things, we are making idols out of them.
“I am often tempted to find my identity and value in ministry outside my house, but God regularly reminds me that finding my identity and value in anything other than him is idolatry.” – Practical Theology for Women, pages 19-20