During my college and grad school years I had some wonderful professors who taught me some very important lessons concerning how to study the Bible and do theology. Those lessons have tremendously helped me over my career as a pastor and as a maturing Christian.
One of these lessons involves the basic attitude with which to approach both formulating your beliefs and living them out in front of others. I summarize it this way; hold your beliefs with great humility.
A professor put like this: All theology is flawed! Simply because we are fallible human beings trying to comprehend God, therefore, no matter how good it is, your theology will always have flaws in it, so does mine.
This idea of our flawed thinking when it comes to God reflects the thought in Isaiah 55 verses 6, 8, and 9
Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. … For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. (NASB95)
Recognizing this helps guard against a problem that is all too common which is, holding your theology with an arrogant attitude. When an individual takes their beliefs seriously it is all too easy to think they have discovered the TRUTH and all others are in error. Just think of the churches that believe they are the only ones who are saved because, they are the only people who believe correctly. This problem is widespread, undermines dialog between Christians, hinders our spiritual growth, outreach, and more.
My professor’s warning has helped me throughout the years. For example, there were times when I knew that I was right and someone else was simply very wrong in their thinking, it brought in a needed dose of humility and patience. Of course, there were times I did not remember it, stayed proud, and the discussion did not turn out so well.
Other times in my own study I discovered that a belief I had been convinced of, was not entirely correct. This lesson helped me to accept the needed correction and continue maturing in my faith walk with God.
Reflect on this concept and discover how it can help you in your walk with God too.