Theology. A brief defanition is, “The Study of God.” A simple explanation is that theology answers the question, “What is God like?”
The key to any relationship is knowing something about the other person. Fathers try to spend time with their children. Spouses try to find time away from the children. Young couples go on a series of dates before they settle into a marriage.
Usually at the beginning of a relationship we tell ourselves all kind of lies about what the other one is like. To put it milder, you may say we have differing expectations. We paint a picture of what the other one is like, but we don’t really know what they are like until we get to know them. Sometimes our expectations are exceeded by the character of another, sometimes we are let down. That is why we need to spend time getting to know people.
New dad’s dream about what their kids will be. However, they soon realize that children have a will of their own. It is the same way with the young couple that have fallen deeply in love. They don’t really know anything about each other, but they “love” each other. Then months or years down the road they realize the real nature of the other person (for good or for bad) and accept that for months they were in “love” with their version of this person and now they must decide if they truly do “love” this other person. That’s why it is a good idea to take the whole courting thing a little slow and know what you are getting into. (You can check out how I dated my wife and married the most wonderful woman in the world… here).
The point is that at the beginning of relationships we fill in missing information about the other person with what we want to put there. I think many people have false ideas about God simply because they don’t know Him and have filled in false information about Him. Many of us have created a picture of God based upon what we want Him to be rather than what He is really like.
Some of us picture God like a Santa Claus type figure. Others have pictured him as an angry judge. To be honest, some people don’t think He exists at all. Still others think of him as a passive grandfather who lets everything go.
The challenge is to really know God. To put all of our preconceived notions on the table and read what God has revealed about Himself in the Bible. Feeling are a good thing, but I’ve been mislead by feelings. Isn’t it better to know God? That happens by learning about Him. The way you learn about God is by spending time reading the Bible and talking to him.
Theology is answering the question, “What is God like?” Do your answers come from the Bible, where God had revealed things about Himself or do they come from how you picture Him in your mind based mostly off your feelings?
What tools have helped you dig into the Bible and learn more about who God really is? Here are a few that have helped me along the way.