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Benefits of Studying Theology: 21 Big Steps to Better Life


Benefits of Studying Theology: 21 Big Steps to Better Life


Studying Theology benefits us in countless ways.


Here are 21; 8 Historical and 13 Personal

Broadly speaking, theology is simply how we think about God. It makes a dramatic difference, between life and death, heaven and Hell, and choosing God or self as the focus of our lives.


We are not saved or damned by theology, but it informs and guides our hearts and minds in the way we should live.

Studying theology leads to God and good things as we see in the lists below. Christian theology is a constant search for the good and the better. Our discussion here is in two segments:


Historical Benefits: How studying theology by faithful Christians in the past has shaped our culture, strengthened Christianity, blessed the world, and established movements and institutions that benefit our culture/society.


Ongoing Benefits: Blessings we enjoy today by studying theology and teaching it to others.


8 Studying theology has Historical benefits


1. Creation of the Bible and the Nicene Creed.


The Bible is the authority for our faith, the source of all doctrine. All twenty-seven books of the New Testament were complete by the end of the first century, and from them, the study of theology began.


That study produced the Nicene Creed, This milestone declared the essential doctrines of Christianity. The Creed remains the standard for Christian identity and is accepted by all Christian churches to this day.


2. Christian Church


The greatest benefit studying theology has ever created is the Christian Church. Inspired by the Bible and guided by the Creed, the Church ministered to the poor, the sick, and the homeless and educated its ministers who in turn educated the people.


Millions have found salvation, and been spiritually blessed by the Church, and millions more have enjoyed its social and beneficent ministries


3. Christianization of Europe


The Roman Empire was destroyed by the barbarian peoples who occupied Europe. They worshipped pagan gods and lived by the sword. With the Church at their mercy, Christians studied theology and convinced Christian missionaries to minister to the pagans around them.


It was through earthly benefits that their ministry began, and when the lost were won to Jesus*, the benefits accrued to both the converted and the millions of people around them who were saved from barbaric violence and evils.


The theology of great men Augustine (354-430), St. Gregory the Great (540-604), St. Francis of Assisi*(1181-1226), and Thomas Aquinas*(1225-1274) Christianized thought and civilized the continent.

* means there is a short biography of this person in my book SPIRITUAL LIVES


The benefit of Christian governments and Christian institutions began in the Middle Ages but continues to this day.


4. Cathedrals


The church of a bishop is called a “cathedral.” More than one thousand were built in Europe in the Middle Ages, four hundred in France alone. Their construction was motivated by theology and viewed as an expression of God’s glory.


Cathedrals were an essential benefit to the community employing thousands of workers and providing concrete evidence of God’s presence among His people.


They produced great architecture and remain a blessing to all who visit.


They were the central focus of artistic life for hundreds of years and remain functioning centers of worship today. My visits to Chartres, Notre Dame, and Westminster Abbey have been benefits to my soul that linger in my heart.


5. Renaissance


The Renaissance was the rebirth of classical culture that began in the 14th century. One of its first products was Dante’s* Divine Comedy, a narrative poem based on the theology of Thomas Aquinas,* and the beginning of Western literature.


The theology of the Christian church is visually presented in the paintings, sculpture and architecture of Raphael and Michelangelo. Renaissance Art that has given us the most beautiful expression of the Christian faith and its positive impact on the world.


6. Protestant Reformation


When people began to read the Bible, they began to think for themselves and often thought about theology. This led to questions about Church doctrine and government.


Martin Luther* began the Protestant Reformation in 1517 which led to the creation of independent churches governed by members who worshipped in their own language.


Out of these churches, modern government and democracy emerged which are still benefits we enjoy today.


7. End of slavery


Christian ministers led the effort to end slavery. William Wilberforce and John Newton were leaders in this. Americans fought a war where 600,000 died to free the slaves.


This is a very real benefit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church where there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free people, between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28


How sad it is that the slavery of sin remains:


Jesus said, I am telling you the truth: everyone who sins is a slave of sin. John 8:34

8. Hospitals and Modern Science


Hospitals have always been a ministry of the Church, housed by Church facilities and run by volunteers. More people have benefited from Christian healing ministries than any other singular benefit. What a response God’s people have given to His command: Heal the sick!


Modern science began with Sir Isaac Newton, a Christian who realized that the natural world was part of God’s creation that He meant us to understand. Science benefits us all and reveals the power and wonder of the Lord.


13 Ongoing Benefits for Believers in studying theology


1. Salvation:


The primary benefit of studying theology is learning the path to Salvation.


This is why Jesus came into this world “to save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

We can pass this benefit on to others by teaching them the path to salvation. An excellent way of doing this is via the Roman Road to Salvation, a short presentation of verses from Paul’s Epistle to the Romans giving the basic steps we can take to lead others to Jesus.


2. Faith:


Studying theology builds our faith, and without it: It is impossible to please Him. Hebrews 11:6


This benefit helps to understand what the world cannot see; their minds having been blinded to the Gospel by the God of this world. (2 Corinthians 4:4)

A wealthy and accomplished executive once said to me, “I’d give anything to have your faith.” Believing is a starting point to riches of wisdom and grace:


And I do not seek to understand that I may believe but believe that I might understand. For this too I believe since, unless I first believe, I shall not understand” St. Anselm of Canterbury* (1033-1100)


3. Godliness:


One of the greatest benefits of studying theology is that it makes us spend time with God. And when we do, we become like Him:


But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. – 2 Corinthians 3:18


4. Answers to our prayers:


What greater benefit could there be? How wonderful that God asked Solomon what He could do for him. Solomon asked for wisdom and God gave it in great measure. We can do the same!


But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all. – James 1:5


Jesus promised


If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. – Matthew 21:22

Theology shows us how to pray. It leads us through the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus gave to His disciples, points us to the power and method of prayer in James and Paul* teaches that the will of God is that we “pray at all times.” 1 Th 5:17


5. Sound doctrine:


This benefit is best introduced by a warning from St. Peter:


there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 Peter 2:1


The Bible is our rock of authority and truth. But the devil is constantly working to snatch the seed of the Word of God out of the hearts of those who hear it and even to corrupt the doctrine of Believers.


My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me. Jesus in John 7:16

How blessed we are to have doctrine from God Himself!


6. God’s worldview:


What a benefit it is to share God’s worldview. What is His view:


The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. – Psalm 24:1-2


My first response is to fall on my knees and worship. With this as a foundation, we can stand strong and apart from hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ (Col 2:8).


7. Discernment:


Even when we benefit from God’s worldview, we still need to study theology to discern our way in new situations and circumstances. We have an even greater benefit in the gift of the Holy Spirit, who, Jesus promised,


will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you. John 14:26


No matter how much we know, we do not know what tomorrow brings, nor what is in the hearts of others. The Lord knows, and via the Spirit gives us the discernment we need:


for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

8. Maturity:


Salvation was the first benefit mentioned here. Jesus insisted Ye must be born again. But He plainly instructed us to do more to enter the kingdom of heaven.


St. Peter fleshes this out:


Add goodness to your faith; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add endurance; to your endurance add godliness; to your godliness add Christian affection; and to your Christian affection add love. – 2 Peter 1:5-7


9. Spiritual growth


While natural growth is an expected outcome of life, spiritual growth is a benefit that comes only from God. We have only to remain faithful to the great salvation Jesus has won for us and to rest in Him:


I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me. – John 15:5

10. Joy and other fruit of the Spirit


A major benefit of abiding in Jesus is immense joy. He has this in mind when He gave us theology and commandments:


I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:11


As always, this benefit of joy far exceeds temporal happiness and becomes a driver for good in our lives:


The joy that the LORD gives you will make you strong. Nehemiah 8:10


Joy is not the only benefit we have from our study of theology. Our focus on God and the things of the Spirit reaps what St. Paul* calls the


fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, mmeekness, temperance: – Galatians 5:22-23


these blessings sum up to a greater benefit still they free us from lust: Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:16

11. Certainty


One of the benefits of studying theology is arriving at a good conclusion. Luke put together his gospel for this purpose:


That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed. – Luke 1:4

The Word of God gives us the ground for this certainty as does the testimony of those who lived with Jesus. St. Peter puts it like this:


We have not depended on made-up stories in making known to you the mighty coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. With our own eyes, we saw his greatness. 2 Peter 1:16


That is what unbelievers have been saying since they could not explain the empty tomb. But those who know Jesus have stepped beyond unbelief, indeed, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from that very sin so that we can say with Paul*:


I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 2 Timothy 1:23


12. Defense of our faith


An immediate and ongoing benefit is the whole armor of God which He has prepared for us to don daily to quench the fiery darts of the wicked. They will come daily, from the wicked, to be sure, but also from the devil himself who


roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8


13. The Church


The most enduring benefit of all is the Church that Jesus founded and that has kept alive His faith and His people for 2,000 years. It unites us and encourages us to stand. It is a glorious body that teaches theology, and its benefits, and provides us with life-giving fellowship.


He appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers.


He did this to prepare all God’s people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ.


And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ’s full stature. (Eph 4:11-13).


God’s people have been faithful in building up the church and in works of service, as the eight historic benefits demonstrate. But the church itself has become endangered as some have put works of service above the truth of the Bible.


It is in this area that theology today has assumed foremost importance, that our ministers are faithful to the Gospel and to the kingdom of heaven.


The Greatest Benefits are still ahead


Our list is finished, but the greatest benefits lie ahead when we all get to heaven! What a day of rejoicing that will be. When we leave our earthly blessings behind, there will still be more. We can join with Paul, who facing death told Timothy:


Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8


The mercies of God What a theme for my song

Oh I never could number them o’er

They’re more than the stars in the heavenly dome

Or the sands of the wavebeaten shore


Chorus

For mercies so great, What return can I make

For mercies so constant and sure

I’ll love him, I’ll serve Him with all that I have

As long as my life shall endure


They greet me at morn when I waken from sleep

And they gladden my heart at the noon

They follow me on into shades of the night

when the day with its labor is done


His angels of mercy encompass me round

Wheresoever my pathway my lead

Each turn of the road some new token reveals

Oh For me life is blessed indeed


Thomas O, Chisholm, 1935






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