Updated: Sep 12
Hey! My name is Amber and I'm a theologian.
I'm not a scholar, a professor or a pastor.
I am, however, a follower of Christ, a wife, a mom, and a nurse.
So why call myself a theologian?
Theology is simply words about God thus, a theologian is someone who has words about God - and we all have them. The key to becoming a good one is seeking to understand how God has revealed Himself in the Scriptures, so that our words and our worship align with truth.
Jen & JT have put together a resource to give us - the regular people in the pew - an overview of foundational Christian beliefs in their new book, You Are A Theologian: An Invitation to Know and Love God Well.
Yes, there are theological words. Yes, they will call you a theologian. And yes, they are inviting you to discover more about God, because they wholeheartedly believe that in learning, you will love Him more, too.
Purpose of the Book
Table of Contents
Purpose of the Book
The authors share a two-fold purpose in writing this book. First, they want you to see yourself as a theologian. Second, they want you to grow in knowledge and love of God through theology.
Here's where they'll take you:
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION What a Generation Forgot
CHAPTER 1 Why Does Theology Matter?
CHAPTER 2 Who is God? The Doctrine of the Trinity
CHAPTER 3 What is God like? The Attributes of God
CHAPTER 4 What is the Bible? Revelation: The Doctrine of Scripture
CHAPTER 5 Who are We? Anthropology: The Doctrine of Humanity
CHAPTER 6 What Went Wrong? Hamartiology: The Doctrine of Sin
CHAPTER 7 What has God Done? (Part 1) The Doctrines of Christology, Atonement, and Justification
CHAPTER 8 What has God Done? (Part 2) Pneumatology: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
CHAPTER 9 To Whom Do We Belong? Ecclesiology: The Doctrine of the Church
CHAPTER 10 How Does the Story End? Eschatology: The Doctrine of Last Things
CONCLUSION Made You Look
You'll find the chapters are separated into different theological topics. Obviously the book is not exhaustive, but they highlight the foundational, historic beliefs of Christianity. Another way of describing these is to say they are first-order doctrines, the non-negotiables of the Christian faith.
Each chapter begins with a definition of the doctrine, then goes on to explain the biblical concepts and how it relates to our daily life. They wrap up with 5 questions for reflection and/or discussion, and prayer.
The authors don't spend time arguing toward a specific theological tradition, they are charitable in their teaching, acknowledging at times the presence of differences across denominations, but not getting hung up on it. This really helps the reader focus on the simplicity of the core doctrines.
Becoming a Good Theologian
A.W. Tozer writes, “what comes into our mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
How we think about God impacts how we speak and act, influencing how we pray, how we read the Scriptures, and how we relate with others.
The authors write, "theology matters because it shapes us not merely at the intellectual level, but at the emotional and the practical level." Theology is not merely something we learn but something we do.
This doesn't necessarily mean we start filling out seminary applications or buying systematic theology textbooks - although neither are a bad thing. But it does mean adopting the mindset of a lifelong learner, because "disciples never graduate from Scripture."
Colossians 3:10 reminds us that we have "put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator." We will continue to mine truths from God's word, for knowledge of Him is inexhaustible. Our thirst will be quenched as we drink from the Living Water and in turn love will flow from us, to accomplish the good purposes He has for us.
Welcome the Lingo
What's your response when you encounter big words?
Technical jargon can be intimidating. All my non-nursing friends heartily agree.
Theological terms come up and we may feel lost or confused, causing even more difficult to see the relevance to our daily life. Even the word theologian is an example. Typically relegated to academics or pastors, the title sounds far out of our lowly reach.
But, words can be explained and we can understand what they mean, not for the purpose of gaining a gold star because now we know, but rather to discover the depth of meaning and how the gospel becomes clearer through comprehension.
Do Theology Together
Theology is a conversation about God's Word. We're not meant to do it alone.
This is what makes these two authors great role models for writing this book. They've served in ministry together and engage in these conversations on their podcast, Knowing Faith (which I've really enjoyed, banter and all), helping the church gain a vision for discipleship.
Gaining knowledge can make us prone to pride but theology is humble: "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up" (1 Cor 8:1). Keeping a humble attitude before God and others will enable us to discuss and share and grow together in love and unity.
Do you desire to know God and to love Him well?
Have you read the words of the psalmist, "as a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God" (Ps.42:1-2) and felt that deep in your bones?
Or maybe you want that it would be true for you.
If so, this resource will show you how expanding your knowledge will broaden your love for the Lord.
If you're a Christian who has never read through a catechism, or if you did and it was a long time ago, this book is for you.
If you're involved in a bible study, a small group, or a teaching ministry this book will help you understand the foundations of Christian doctrine.
If you're a parent and discipling your children, this resource will equip you to talk with your kids about faith.
If you're on a ministry leadership team, this book is a way for you to study together, even if you feel it's back to the basics, to remember the goodness of the gospel and build each other up.
I love when theological resources are accessible for us regular believers and this is one I highly recommend.
So, who will you "do" theology with? Your friends, small group, your family?
Pray about who you can invite along on this journey of knowing and loving the Lord.
# of pages:224 pages
Level of Difficulty: It's easy, (yes there are some big words, but nothing they don't explain)
My Rating: 5 stars
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Scriptures About Knowledge
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction (Prov. 1:7).
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (2 Pet 3:18).
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him (Eph. 1:17).
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom (Jam. 3:13)
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children (Hos. 4:6).
*A big thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review!