“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” II Timothy 2:15
There are groups of Christians who would consider this to be a silly question. In fact, some would think the notion of women studying theology to be absolutely ridiculous. Yes, there are actually people who would tell you that a female doesn’t need to know doctrine in order to clean house, do laundry, and change diapers. However, there are others who would regard my question as absurd for a completely different reason. They believe that women need to study theology because they can and should hold positions of authority in the church. While, I hold firmly to the conviction that Scripture prohibits women from holding the office of pastor or elder (I’ll be writing more about that in a future post), I would definitely maintain that women should study theology. You might wonder why I feel this way since I would not affirm ladies preparing for pastoral ministry.
The truth of the matter is that we are all theologians. The only question is, are you a good theologian or a bad one? Without question we all believe something about doctrinal issues. Therefore, we need to be sure that our beliefs aren’t just based on what we want to be right or simply feel to be biblical. We all imagine certain things to be true about God, but we must honestly ask ourselves if we are worshiping the God of the Bible or a god of our own making. After all, what does the word theology mean? Simply defined, it means the study of God. And every Christian, regardless of gender, should be engaged in deepening their understanding of the One who has loved and redeemed them. A. W. Tozer wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” I wholeheartedly agree with his assessment. Our view of God affects everything else. Among other things, it shapes our perspective of ourselves, others, sin, priorities, and the world around us. Our understanding of the Lord influences every choice and decision we make. The very first sin ever committed was preceded by Eve doubting the love and goodness of God. She then led her husband to sin, and the entire human race subsequently followed in their footsteps. An unbiblical view of God has the potential of hindering your spiritual growth, causing you to lead others astray, and possibly even destroying your life.
Every Christian woman should seek to know her Father first and foremost because it brings Him great glory to be worshiped in spirit and truth (John 4:23). We ought also to delight in knowing God for our own well-being. You see, the more we understand His character and His ways the deeper and sweeter our relationship with Him will grow. As we come to better comprehend His love, sovereignty, faithfulness, wisdom, and goodness the more we will love and trust Him. Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers, said, “A Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.” I do a fair amount of counseling, and I have consistently found this to be true. As the women I counsel dig deeper and deeper into the Scriptures, I have seen them overcome depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and sinful habits. These victories did not come because of anything I did. I don’t have the power to free myself from these bondages, let alone anyone else. But the eighth chapter of John records some amazing words spoken by the Lord Jesus, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Emancipation comes by the power of the Spirit through the truth of His word.
Our yearning for a greater knowledge of God should also be fueled by a genuine desire to help others. There is no better way to comfort and encourage a discouraged husband or depressed friend than by pointing them to the Father of mercies and God of all comfort (II Cor. 1:3) whom you have come to know intimately through the Scriptures. The best counsel you can give to a troubled neighbor or your own child who is struggling for answers will come straight from the pages of God’s word. But, it is very challenging to give sound biblical advice if you don’t know the word yourself. The more accurately we know biblical truth the better equipped we will be to evangelize and serve Him wherever He has placed us.
We live in a culture that is steeped in deception. Not only does the enemy of our souls seek to plant seeds of fear, anxiety, and doubt in our hearts and minds, but we are bombarded with lies about God and His word in the workplace, in school, on social media, and on the television and movie screen. Therefore, it is crucial that we know Him as He truly is.
I’m not advocating studying just to fill your head full of facts or so you can be better prepared to argue with a friend or family member who holds a different doctrinal position. Rather, I’m proposing a practical theology…a theology that incites greater passion in your worship of God, as well as, your service to Him and others. But, in order for your practical theology to be right, your intellectual understanding must be correct first.
So I’m not recommending that you enroll in seminary classes. I’m not even suggesting that it’s absolutely necessary to study commentaries and theology books, although they are a great help in growing in our understanding. But I am encouraging you to diligently read, study, meditate on, and memorize the Scriptures. Strive to become a well-grounded theologian, and put that theology into practice for the sake of your loved ones, the good of your church, your spiritual growth, and above all, the glory of God.
For those who do desire to study more in-depth but don’t really know where to start I’ve listed a few good resources below. Although I would not agree with everything in these titles, I am commending them because of the readability and relative simplicity with which the authors present some profound subjects. This is only a small sampling of a plethora of excellent books.
Soli Deo Gloria