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What is the difference between bible study and theology?


Can you be a real Bible student without being a "theologian"?

Thank you for your question.

Theology: There is seemingly no agreed definition for the word.

Some definitions of theology on the Web:

·         Theology is a term first used by Plato in The Republic (book ii, chap 18). The term is compounded from two Greek words theos (god) and logos (rational utterance). It has been defined as reasoned discourse about God or the gods, or more generally about religion or spirituality.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theology

·         the rational and systematic study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truth

·         Theology, Fields of:  Within Christian theology, there are a few fields which are considered the primary subdivisions. They are as follows:

Biblical Studies:  Since Christians usually recognize the Bible as the Word of God, it seems only logical to have a field of theology which studies the Bible.

Christology:  Like the name implies, this is the study of the person of Jesus Christ. Questions asked in this field will attempt to deal with the idea of Jesus Christ as Son of God, and his relation to God the Father.

Ecclesiology:  This is the field of theology which deals with the nature of the church and what it means for the church to be the "body of Christ".

Eschatology:  This area of theology deals with the questions of whether or not history has a goal, and what the "end times" will be like.

Moral Theology:  Since right and wrong, good and evil are such important theological concepts, an entire field has arisen to address the question of what is right and what is wrong in light of the Christian faith.

Pneumatology:  Whereas christology studies the nature of Jesus Christ, pneumatology studies the person of the Holy Spirit. For example: who is the Holy Spirit and how does he/it fit into Christian beliefs?

Soteriology:  This is the study of salvation. Since it is asserted that Christ "saved men from their sins," this area of theological study assumes an important role. www.angelfire.com/va/jsorenK/theology.html

·         The application of philosophy to the study of religious truth, focusing especially on the nature of the deity and the origin and teachings of an organized religious community.
highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072556323/student_view0/glossary.html

·         the development of doctrines in different Churches; heretical movements and spirituality and their exponents; history of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation; discoveries of Nag Hammadi and their significance for Gnosticism.
www.lcchristiansoftware.com/OxfordDictionaryChristianChurchRevised-p/logosdic2226.htm

From the above we see that Theology is not restricted to the study of the Bible but includes study of man’s philosophy on the nature of God. A Degree in Theology does not mean that the recipient actually understands or believes the Bible.

Theology like Geology or Biology may serve a person in this life to make a living, but that’s where it ends.

Bible Study on the other hand is literally a matter of life and death.

The Bible holds the key to eternal life.

Bible Study should have as its main aim a desire to understand what the Bible actually says, rather than accepting what others (particularly theologians) would have us believe it says.

The premise is simple

·         It claims to be the inspired word of God.

·         God caused it to be written for each of us to read for ourselves.

·         It explains why God made the earth and mankind.

·         It explains what God has planned for the future.

·         It explains what sin is and why we die.

·         It explains how we can attain to eternal life by resurrection from the dead.

·         It explains how and why the whole purpose of God and our salvation is centred in Jesus Christ.

·         It contains the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

·         It contains prophecies in various stages of fulfillment to confirm that it is the word of God.

·         It tells us what we must do if we want eternal life – doing nothing is not an option.

All Scripture is inspired by God

NIV 2 Peter 1:20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation.

21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

NIV 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

We don’t have to have a Doctorate in Theology to understand it

AV 1Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

We need to know what the word of God says.

AV Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

We need to believe what it says.

AV Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

We need to study it to make sure we know what it says.

AV Acts17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

AV 1 Timothy 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

The word of God is able to make us ‘wise unto salvation’.

AV 2Timothy 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

When we know what it says God requires a response if we want eternal life.

AV Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

In conclusion: Theology has limited use in this life but Bible Study will give us hope of Life to come in the Kingdom of God.

I hope this helps

Glenn

 
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