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Theology vs. Bible Study

By Justin Johnson

Many people think study of theology is study of the Bible, but they are often different. Do not be fooled.

The pursuit of theology has caused many in the church to become followers of theologians and theological systems instead of students of God’s word.

Out of fear of sounding too preachy, dogmatic, or as one of those “Bible nuts” that quotes scripture, theology is used as the tool of choice to address problems in and out of the church.

Replacing the Bible with Theological Studies replaces the pillar of the truth with ivory towers, and the ground of the truth with the sacred ground of seminaries.

As a result for many, the Bible is a closed book. They are told it should not be understood except by the theologically trained, ordained, and accredited.

Theologians pride themselves in their knowledge of philosophy, religious traditions, and the opinions of other theologians.

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” – Col 2:8

The Bible was not given for theologians. It was given for every man to understand. It does not require the wisdom of the world, but it does require we study it.

The Difference

There is a difference between studying theology and studying the Bible.

Theology asks questions like, “Does God exist?”

The Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”, and never questions God after that (Gen 1:1).

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Theology wonders, “If God intervenes then why is there evil in the world?”

The Bible says that God manifest in the flesh died for our sins (Rom 5:8-12).

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Theology rhetorically states “what is truth?”

The Bible quotes Jesus as saying, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

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Theology raises uncertainties and studies them.

The Bible makes us certain, “That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth” (Prov 22:21).

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Theology debates whether our future is predetermined or decided by our free will.

The Bible says, “but now [God] commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30).

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Theology argues whether men who have never heard the gospel can be saved.

The Bible says, “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe”, and “How shall they hear without a preacher?” (1 Cor 1:21, Rom 10:14).

Theology does not preach.

The Bible must be preached to be believed (Rom 10:17).

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Theology is more palatable to unbelievers and skeptics.

The Bible will not work effectually in those who do not believe (1 Thess 2:13).

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Theology can often change.

The Bible never changes (Isa 40:8).

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Theology is man’s word about God.

The Bible is God’s word to man (2 Tim 3:16).

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The mind of a wise man is required to study theology.

God is required to study the Bible (1 Cor 2:12-16).

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Published: March 30, 2013
Last Modified: February 7, 2018
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