Why Studying Theology is Not Enough

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Theology is not merely to inform our minds but to transform our lives so Jesus’ kingdom can come to earth through us.

I love studying theology (the study of God) and soteriology (the study of salvation).

I graduated Manga cum Laude from Southern Evangelical Seminary with a Master’s of Divinity Degree with an emphasis in Apologetics.

I love reading big, thick books about Jesus and His redemptive work on behalf of humanity.

However, all my studying would be useless if I didn’t integrate what I was learning about Jesus and redeeming work into my life.

God isn’t to be studied like an amoeba under a microscope, but rather a being with whom to interact; a real, live being who wants us to share in His very life (2 Peter 1:3).

Theological education is not the same as theological integration.

Theology is not merely to inform our minds but to transform our lives so Jesus’ kingdom can come to earth through us.

Sadly, many people are theologically educated but spiritually immature and ineffective in advancing God’s Kingdom on earth.

Based on my experience as a pastor, Dr. Pete Scazzero, in his book Emotionally Healthy Spiritually, is on point by identifying what spiritually healthy, maturing Christ-followers look like.

By integrating the Gospel into our lives, we will mature and develop the Spirit-enabled ability to …

Identify and manage our feelings.

Work through and resolve conflict.

Forgive people who have hurt us and learn to ask for forgiveness when we hurt others.

Take responsibility for our actions.

Overcome fear.

Initiate and maintain close meaningful relationships.

Become aware of how our past impacts our present.

Develop the capacity to express our thoughts and feelings clearly.

Respect and love others without having to change them.

Accurately self-assess our strengths, limits and weaknesses, and share them with others.

Learn to grieve and suffer well.

Develop a passion for the lost to treasure Jesus.

Live financially generous lives.

Can you imagine congregations filled with people who live like this?

Can you imagine how attracted people who are yet to follow Jesus would be if they experience people who live like this?

Can you imagine how marriages would be saved?

Let’s not imagine it. Let’s do it by integrating what we learn about Jesus and His Gospel.  

Derwin Gray Derwin L. Gray is the founding and Lead Pastor of Transformation Church (www.tc521.org), a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, mission-shaped community in Indian Land, South Carolina, just south of Charlotte, North Carolina. Transformation Church was recognized as one of the 15 fastest growing churches in America for 2010 by Outreach Magazine. Gray is the author of "Limitless Life: You Are More Than Your Past When God Holds Your Future" and is a highly sought-after communicator. Connect with Derwin on twitter @Derwinlgray.

More from Derwin Gray or visit Derwin at http://www.derwinlgray.com/

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  • Jim Freeman

    I usually say it as, “None of this stuff matters until you do something with it.” Every Sunday morning I look out over a group of people who have been in the church from a couple years to upwards of 60 years, and I know their stories. We’ve spent a lot of time together talking about their pain, bitterness, insecurity, fear, isolation, rage, lust, drama and conflict (what I refer to as the fruits of the unregenerate spirit) as they resist the work of the Spirit in them to bring what He started to completion.

    I love His word. I study it, memorize it, meditate on it, talk about it, debate it, teach it, preach it, but that’s not enough. It is not enough to know about God and His redemptive plan (and, no, it is not about going to Heaven when I die). It is about God with us, God for us, God in us and God through us working His redemptive plan. And that makes all the difference.

    Transformation is real. Freedom is real. Living in the presence of a holy God is real. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free …”
    Paul’s list of the fruits of the Spirit should be a growing reality in our lives. I like the way Peter puts it in 2Peter 1 – since He has given us everything we need, we’re to make every effort to grow in these things and if we do, our knowledge is not unproductive. But if we find these things are not increasing, it is because we have forgotten that we have been set free from the former things.
    May we always be increasing in our expression of the love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control that He is working into our spirit.

    • Derwin L. Gray

      Great word! Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Genesis

    Awesome article. The bible is about connecting you to the person of God not just about having the information but rather having the revelation of who God is, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. It allows you to interact with Him. He fuses his identity into you and gives you the capacity to unfold His realities in your day to day living, despite the adverse challenges that come our way. Im so grateful for who He is in me and who I am in Him. GOD BLESS

    • Derwin L. Gray

      Thanks for the encouragement Genesis!