It all started in gym class. I was playing basketball with my friends just like any normal teenager. When the next thing I know I am face down on the ground writhing in pain. As my body went up for a lay-up, my foot stayed glued to the floor. Someone had stepped on my foot and tore a ligament in my ankle. Little did I know that this incident was the beginning of my journey into the world of Theology.
I grew up in church and have heard the stories in the Bible for as long as I can remember. But my faith in God was never really my own; it had never been challenged.
A few days later I was eating lunch with some friends at school and then someone opened a pocket New Testament and read Galatians 5:4, which says “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.” He said that you could fall away from grace and lose your salvation. I was always taught “once saved, always saved,” but I never really studied the issue for myself.
I asked another friend at school if he thought you could lose your salvation. He responded that you couldn’t lose your salvation but then mentioned that baptism is necessary for salvation. He kept saying, “faith without works is dead,” quoting the book of James. Apparently, baptism is one of those works. This troubled me because at this point I had not been baptized. I doubted my salvation and started to doubt everything I believed about God.
I realized that there was an entire world of differing opinions when it comes to Theology. Since I was chair-ridden from my injury, I had plenty of time to search the Scriptures and find out what the Bible teaches.
I spent hours every day studying the Bible and searching the web for answers. I never really enjoyed reading but I realized that what I was learning was so important that I eventually started to like it. I stumbled upon something called the Theology Program, where two men answered difficult questions about Theology. I watched almost all of the videos over several months. I later found out that the videos were taken from a seminary-level class.
After graduating high school I had a hunger to know God’s Word on a deeper level. God called me to get a degree in Biblical Studies despite being told that a degree like that will not help me get a job in the “real world.” In college I learned more about the teachings of Scripture and became fascinated with the original languages of Hebrew and Greek.
Like anything else, overemphasizing the study of God has its dangers. Learning Theology was so enjoyable to me that I struggled to keep loving God as a priority over studying about Him. Jesus told the Pharisees “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40). The Pharisees knew the Scriptures better than anyone, and yet they overlooked the God found within its pages.
Sometimes studying Theology can also lead to arrogance. It can lead you to think that you are a better Christian than everyone else. You might also find yourself thinking, “If only they knew what I knew about God, then they would be as holy as me.”
Sometimes you can get so caught up in studying Theology that you neglect your devotional life. As Tim Keller says in his book Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Plan for The World, idolatry is “turning a good thing into an ultimate thing.” The study of God is no different.
God used an injury, a period of doubt and time in college to give me a thirst to know Him and His Word better. Day after day this thirst only grows stronger. I don’t know what God will use in your life to move you towards studying Theology. Nevertheless, I hope that when you begin your journey you will be motivated to learn Theology for God’s sake and His glory.
Tell me about how you became interested in Theology in the comments section!