Q&A: Why Study Theology?

Why Study Theology?

Question

Why is studying theology important or relevant? Can't we just read the Bible?

Answer

Any interpretation of the Bible, any understanding of it at all, is theology. We can't even approach the Bible to read it without carrying with us certain theological assumptions (at the very least, we are assuming that the Bible says something, or that reading the Bible is somehow worth while). If we adopt John Frame's approach (as I do), theology also includes application. In no event is theology/application ever irrelevant, and in no event can we understand the Bible without it.

Further, the biblical authors themselves possessed a certain theological understanding, and they assumed that their audiences likewise possessed certain theological understandings. Apart from studying and learning these theologies we cannot know the contexts or the meanings of their teachings.

While it is possible to have a skewed approach to theology such that one becomes more interested in philosophical debates than in understanding and applying Scripture, it is not possible to have any responsible approach to Scripture without at the same time doing and assuming theology. Interpretation, application and theology are inseparable, symbiotic disciplines.

Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.