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A Little Book for New Theologians | Book Review

Updated: 6 days ago


book cover of a little book for new theologians beside a cup of copy, a pen and glasses.

Little things shouldn’t be ignored or passed over.


Consider the size of an ant. They’re easily stepped on, but invade anything sweet with great speed. Though they’re small, they can also carry 10-50 times their weight.


Small, but not insignificant.


That’s this book.


I first read A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology by Kelly Kapic years ago after it caught my eye on a kindle deal as I began to wade into the waters of learning theology, then again as a reading for my introduction to theology course in seminary.


Let me tell you all about it!



A Little Book for New Theologians | Book Review

Content


Content

Purpose of the Book

In the acknowledgments, the author shares his concern that “we have unintentionally cultivated what might be called theological detachment: such a view produces a divide between spirituality and theology, between life and thought, between faith and agency.”


In writing this short book he seeks to help Christians understand how the pursuit of knowledge is connected to our growth in character as we begin the joys of knowing God more through theology.


Table of Contents

PART ONE Why Study Theology?

CHAPTER 1 Entering the Conversation

CHAPTER 2 To Know and Enjoy God

CHAPTER 3 Theology as Pilgrimage

PART TWO Characteristics of Faithful Theology and Theologians

CHAPTER 4 The Inseparability of Life and Theology

CHAPTER 5 Faithful Reason

CHAPTER 6 Prayer and Study

CHAPTER 7 Humility and Repentance

CHAPTER 8 Suffering, Justice and Knowing God

CHAPTER 9 Tradition and Community

CHAPTER 10 Love of Scripture

Conclusion of Our Study


Summary

You can’t get a more straightforward introduction to theology than 120 pages. Don’t let the short length fool you though, each chapter has valuable content for reflection. This book is not a theology 101 as much as it is an introduction to the heart of the theologian; not describing the structure of theology but rather the foundation of the person studying.

quote from little book for new theologians. theologican reflection is a way of examing our praise, prayers, words and worship with the goal of making sure they conform to God alone.

My Take

If you've ever bought your kids a LEGO set (or received one for yourself) you've probably wondered, "how are all these little pieces going to turn into THAT?"


You pull out the instruction book (it was thicker than you thought), dump out package number one onto a tray (so you don't lose the pieces), and find your child who's actually playing with a different Christmas gift now anyway (you bought this for them...right??).


Slowly, all those little pieces start forming the foundation and gradually it starts to take shape. If your child is younger, they may have already abandoned the project and returned to playing again with the other toy, but as they get older, they begin to do more of the building themselves.


So, here's how our journey to knowing God is similar.


As we engage in a practice of reading the Bible, we become familiar with God's Words and works. These are the pieces in the package we start connecting together as we learn more of God's character and the Gospel.


This, friend, is what theology is.


It's an act of discipline that grows desire.

It's an act of love that responds from His.

It's an act of the Spirit who delights to show us.


God has given us the picture on the box and the pieces to build it inside. He has revealed Himself to us in His Word and given us practices (the instruction booklet) to know and experience Him. But if we never take the pieces out of the box, if we never open it up and put them on a tray, we're not going to see anything take shape, our understanding of Him will stay scattered in a pile.


But, I've been in the place before looking at the box of LEGO and you know you just don't have time to put it together today, so you wait. Or you don't have a place to set them up just yet, you don't want to lose any pieces, so you wait until you're more organized.


Walking with the Lord doesn't have to be organized, and it surely doesn't get done all in one day. It's the faithful journey taking one step closer, drawing near to Him with honesty and perseverance.


If you tend to think that theology belongs in an office, of a pastor or professor, knowing God is the gift He's given every believer through His Word. So if you love and follow Jesus, theology is for you.


Lest you think it's not important or relevant - maybe you don't teach Sunday school or lead bible studies. But, what do you do? Do you parent your children? Do you bake cookies for your neighbours? Do you serve in other ways in your local church community? Because if you do, your theology - what you believe about God - informs everything you do.


This is why it's important. That's why you don't have to be afraid.

quote from littl ebook for new theologians. one of the greatest theological challenges of our time is to move our worship beyond self-absorption.

My Recommendation

My encouragement is, don't let the world theology scare you. It simply means knowing God. And John reminds us in his Gospel that, "these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:31).


So, if you want to check out a beginners book on how and why to study theology, A Little Book for New Theologians is a good place to start! It's 10 short chapters to give you the basics and help lead you on toward faithfully knowing God.


quote from little book for new theologians. our study informs our prayers and our prayers enliven our study. we cannot choose between prayer and study; faithful theology requires prayerful study.

Quick Stats

# of pages: 126 pages

Level of Difficulty: Easy

My Rating: 5 stars


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Scriptures On Knowing God

And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (Jn 17:3)
With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! (Ps 119:10)
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Ti 3:16-17)
But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Mt 4:4)

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