My personal motivation to you
Before I begin, I wanted to remind my readers: I only write when I feel the Holy Spirit pushing me to write about a certain topic. I feel like writing without God's guidance lacks passion. I don't want to just pick new topics to write on each week; they would be half-hearted. I like to wait for God to show me something in my personal life, so that when I write to you, it is written more personally, passionately, and God led. So I'm sorry I have not written in a long time, but God has been teaching me this for awhile, and I am now finally ready to share.
Have you ever played out a conversation in your head with someone who disagrees with you on your religion? You could be any of the following: Christian, Catholic, Agnostic, Atheist, Muslim, Jewish (and the list goes on). Believing in a religion and being open about it is a great way to stir up controversial debates with others you bump into. Maybe you dread these conversations; maybe you love these conversations. Either way, they are bound to happen if you say you believe.
If you have played out these conversations in your head or been in one before, you know that it is not easy to have all the answers. I think that is the problem with the Christian society today: We don't strive to know the answers. Instead of studying and preparing, we become defensive and say silly things like "The Bible says so." That doesn't really prove a point very well... If this is your go to strategy when witnessing, you should probably rethink how to go about stating the facts.
For me personally, I love these conversations. I have friends that debate with me on Christian topics quite often. It's funny, a majority of these debates are among other Christians, but every now and then I have a few with those who are not. I believe these conversations are a good thing. When having these debates, it causes me to stretch and realize where I need to grow. I am sometimes asked questions that I have to answer with a simple I don't know because of my lack in specific studies, which pushes me to know more. I hope this is the same for you.
II Timothy 3:16-17(NKJV)
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for [a]instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
When encountering controversy, don't look at it as a bad thing. Don't become dogmatic and angry with those who disagree. I feel like sometimes Christians frown upon knowing the Bible inside and out. We need to stand upon the Word of God. Instead of becoming the know it all Christian that is never wrong or hiding in the corner, try laying down your belief, explaining what it means, and proving it.
In other words:
State the principal you stand on.
Expound upon what this means.
Prove your statement in scripture.
This is very important. If you cannot do one of these three, your side of the argument becomes flaw. Now I understand it's not our words that saves or changes someones mind, but the Holy Spirit convicting them and God giving faith. This gives no excuse for us to not study! How is the Holy Spirit going to use our words if we can't give an answer at all? Let me give an example.
(Atheist): Why is God going to send me to hell if He is soooooo loving?
(Christian): Because you are not washed by the blood. The price of sin is eternal death.
(Atheist): That doesn't sound very loving.
(Christian): God does love, but He is also just.
(Atheist): What makes God just if He creates people knowing they are going to hell someday?
(Christian): The Bible says so and that's just how it is! Don't argue with me; argue with God.
(I know, most conversations have much more to them, but bare with me for the sake of the example.)
From this very short conversation I made up, I hope you can see how important it is to know what the Bible says, what the Bible means, and where the Bible says it. In the debate above, by the end of the conversation, the Christian didn't point the Atheist to any scripture, he did not explain what some of these foreign terms may have meant, and he became defensive and angry in the end. Conversations like these do not accomplish anything except maybe a tear in your relationship.
II Timothy 2:24-26(NKJV)
24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
My pastor says this a lot: "Doctrine is practical." This truth is truly needed to be taught more. I disagree with the belief that only pastors and priests study that stuff. You are not always going to agree with what the man behind the pulpit says. I'm not saying your pastor is a false teacher, but is it possible that he can teach something incorrectly? Remember, he is just a man! This means he can be wrong and it won't be the first time. Pastors are no more of a man than you are. Their knowledge from the Bible may be more full, but this does not mean you can believe everything they believe without studying on your own.
Sometimes, we have to agree to disagree, but this is no excuse to not studying the harder questions of scripture. Remember the one verse I posted above? It says that all scripture, meaning there's not one part of scripture that does not apply to the list given in that verse. If it's in the Bible, it's there for us to read and study. Do you think God wants us to be ignorant about Him? Of course not!
It's actually sad to think back on my own life. I remember lacking a lot of understanding of my God, and I praise God for all the knowledge I have gained over the years to know Him better. If you can't even explain who your God is, how can you believe in Him? In my opinion, that's a scary way to live. I don't know anyone who would state, "I want to worship a God I don't know about."
That's just foolish. You have to strive to know Him better. He is a person too! He may not be a simple man like you and me, but God has attributes and emotions just like us. Not to mention, He is in three separate parts while still being one God. Each person of the trinity serves a specific role. All three parts of God can be studied out alone. (I'm in a study of the attributes of the individual persons of the trinity right now.)
Studying who God is can cause one to grow so much closer to Him by understanding more about who He is and what He expects of His children. We are also commanded to be like God; without a knowledge of who He is, we cannot live up to this command.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Subjectively, I would state that the largest reason we as Christians need to study theology is because God commands us to.
II Timothy 2:15(KJV)
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
He expects us to read His word. The Bible is all about God and what He has done or is doing; we should not only study the parts about Him working. We should study about God Himself too.
I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
Many times in Psalms it talks about the ways of God. How can we know His ways if we Don't know much about His nature? For example: we know the ways of a pig because we know it's nature. A pig will roll in mud because it is part of it's nature. You can't fully understand God's ways without studying theology to better understand His nature.
12For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. 13 You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
As we mature in our Christianity and understanding of the word of God, we can move onto the harder things to understand. For young Christians, it will definitely be much more difficult to study some doctrines of theology; they can obviously start with reading something like the life of Christ. For mature Christians, I believe it is a responsibility to study the deeper and harder subjects of scripture. If no one studies, there will be confusion on the important matter of who God truly is.
Typical debatable Christian topics consist of questions like:
Does God hate anyone?
What is election?
What does it mean to be predestined?
Does God hear the prayers of the unsaved?
Can God keep one from getting saved?
If God doesn't change, why was there a time of judgement and now a time of grace?
What is God's will?
Why did God allow sin?
How is God jealous yet sinless?
Why does God have the right to judge?
Is God required to show mercy?
Does God demand worship?
Why does God seem hidden today?
What is the wrath of God?
If you are not a child of God, who is your father?
These are all questions that you should be able to answer, expound upon, and prove in scripture. I can't answer all these questions perfectly myself, but I have been trying to study to know more about who God is. If you are seeking to know who God is more, I would recommend a book about doctrines of the Bible. I read one myself written by William Evans.
Make sure you do not believe a book as absolute truth unless it is the Word of God. You still have to line up what they say and make sure the doctrine is sound. The book is very useful for personal studies because it gives an outline with references to help know where the Bible speaks about specific topics. Studying theology becomes much easier with an outline to help lead the way.
The internet can also be a very useful tool for studying your theology, but again, make sure you line it up with the Bible. It is very important you don't read something and follow a false belief without even knowing it. I've done this myself, but it's all a part of growing and what God brings to our knowledge in time.
I know I went over a lot in this blog post, but this is something that has been on my heart for a long time. No, I do not think it is God's will for everyone to become a scholar or monk, but you can never know enough about God and His Word. There is always more to learn, and that's why it is so important to keep studying His Word. I hope this post has impacted you and causes you to study more about your God.
I urge you to prove to yourself that your faith is true by lining up what you know and have been taught with Scripture. Know God well enough to be able to be a tool for Him and witness to the lost. Don't let theology be confusing; let your doctrine become practical in your life. If God is truly your Father and friend, Don't you want to know everything you can about Him?
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
II Peter 1:10(NASB)
Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
Hi, I am Michael Jaymes. I am 20, and decided to start writing in the winter of 2017. I feel a burden on my heart that I have much to say, so why not share it? I want to be heard and I want to touch the lives of others. What is a better way than through the internet? I have made my life motto, "I just want to be a blessing." It's time for me to live it out.