There are a variety of books in the Christian section. We have many podcasts to listen to. There are thousands of sermons to choose from. We are living in a blessed time.
However, many of those books, podcasts, and sermons are surface level. They help us get through the week, but they don't really give us a better understanding, specifically about the God we serve and the beliefs we profess.
The many resources we have at our fingertips are shallow. They are great truths, but…shallow. I don’t know if you have ever read some of the older Christian writers, but there is a great and obvious difference between that and a lot of what we have today. Help for the week is important. Theology is equally, if not more important.
Before I was actually a Christian, I read very shallow/ feel good things. When the Lord actually called me to Himself and changed my heart, I had a burning desire to know more of Him. I happened to stumble over a small church body when I was in college. Thankfully, they were concerned with Christ-centered everything. I mean everything!
I was introduced to older writers there. People that were no longer living, but their writings were just as relevant today as they were back then. Shockingly so! I noticed those writers went deep. Their messages were saturated with the Gospel.
They wrote books on the doctrine of sin, prayer, salvation, sanctification, regeneration, meditation, consecration, holiness, and so much more. (I had no idea what those words meant before I became a Christian) All of them revealed more of the character of God and the gospel. I was amazed at how the gospel could be connected to everything in life. (Philippians 1:27)
At home, on a school break, I went through all of my books that I owned before actually knowing God. I was shocked at how much cotton candy I had been reading. I decided to get rid of those and fill my bookshelf with books that would stir my heart to know God, not to just feel good.
"And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." John 17:3
Back then, I was still a new believer, so I was kind of turned off by books written by newer writers. I was wrong in thinking God could only use books from the past.
There are many sound authors today that are concerned with the character of God and the gospel of Christ. I have found many. So, I am not saying only read dead people’s writings. However, I highly recommend adding some of their books to your reading list! I am regularly reading them.
WHY WE NEED TO KNOW THEOLOGY
We need to know theology because we need to know God. Theology is the study of God. A book about theology is going to be focused on some aspect of God or the Christian faith. It is all grounded in the Gospel.
Have you noticed I have mentioned the Gospel many times so far? It is the core of the Christian faith. We need to know about the doctrine of sin: its origin, the characteristics of it, what it exactly is, how it affects the Christian, and how it steals glory from God. (1 John 3:4)
We need to know about the doctrine of atonement: the payment of sin, its history from the Old Testament, and its foreshadowing of Christ who made atonement for our sins. (1 John 2:2)
What about the knowledge of God’s holiness? We should seek to understand what God says holiness is, why we should be holy, how the gospel makes us holy, and why we should delight in that. (1 Peter 1:16)
Learn about the beauty of Jesus, the many ‘types’ of Him shown throughout the Old Testament. His fulfillment of the law and what that means for us. His current role as the great High Priest, our advocate before the throne of God. (Hebrews 4:14)
This is learned by studying theology.
WHEN WE DON’T KNOW THEOLOGY
I did not read books on those subjects until I started going to that tiny church while in college. My love for God deepened. Learning theology should not be for bragging rights.
It has no benefit if it just sits in your mind. However, when it drops into our hearts, we see just how deep God’s love is for us. We see how the whole Bible is a story of redemption.
When we don’t know theology, we can lose our anchor. We can become swayed by false doctrine. Our knowledge of God is shallow, therefore our love for God is shallow. We don’t see Him and His riches as well as we could. (Ephesians 1:18)
Possibly, a relationship with God can slip into a ‘me’ centered relationship. We may end up making a God of our own imagination. Also, a less joyful life is likely to be experienced. When we see God rightly and know His attributes, our faith is strengthened. We become more joyful in knowing how great our God is.
MAKE THE CHOICE
We need encouraging books that may not be as 'deep' as others. God uses those to edify us. Those are not bad. However, we should be studying who God is and continually learning more specific topics about our faith.
We should be seeking to know more about the character of our God. We will love Him more and will live a life more pleasing to Him, when we do this. I highly suggest you begin to read deeper books about God. I have a short post, reviewing 3 books. Click below to read.
If you would like more suggestions, mention it in the comments. I will be glad to share! Also, if you have any good books you would like to recommend, put it in the comments.
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