“What was in the beginning before God created the heaven and earth?” My oldest daughter often asked me big questions when she was a very little girl. “Nothing was made before anything was made,” I answered. “Mmmm. . . you’re not understanding my question,” she responded, with a look of frustration on her face.
My daughter, then about four years old, was a budding theologian with big questions about God’s nature and capabilites. She couldn’t always word the questions well enough to explain just exactly what she was asking, but the point most clear was this: she wanted to know God well.
People wonder about God. And that’s a great thing when it puts us on the right path to getting our questions answered. When reflecting on God is met with Biblical study, sound theology is born. It’s only a sound theology that helps to answer our questions accurately. It’s our basic theology that confirms in us who God is, what He’s capable of, what His character is, and who we are in Him. This information and these beliefs shade our whole life a different color than life outside of knowledge of Him.
“Theology is for everyone. Indeed, everyone needs to be a theologian. In reality, everyone is a theologian— of one sort or another. And therein lies the problem. There is nothing wrong with being an amateur theologian or a professional theologian, but there is everything wrong about being an ignorant or sloppy theologian. Therefore, everyone should read theology. Theology simply means thinking about God and expressing those thoughts in some way.” (Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology)
When our theology isn’t right, we can’t know God well. And we don’t know God well, we can’t understand Him or what our role and position in relation to Him should be.
What does it mean to know God well?
When we know God well we:
1. Understand that all He does is based out of love… because He is love. (1 John 4:8)
2. Know that He is slow to anger and full of compassion. (Psalm 145:8)
3. Know that His promises are true and He is ultimately truth. (Psalm 18:30 and John 14:6)
4. Realize that He has come to give us life. (Satan has come to kill, steal, and destroy.) (John 10:10)
5. Tust in His righteous judgements, knowing He cannot make mistakes or do any evil. (Numbers 23:19, 1 John 1:5)
How can we know him well?
Since our theology shapes who we are and what we do in all facets of life, we need to know how it’s possible to know God well. Will we ever know God completely? No, His greatness is unsearchable. (Psalm 145:3) But, just like with any relationship, there are things we can do to get to know Him better. It takes discipline and effort.
We can know God well through:
1. The reading and study of His Word. (Psalm 119:105, Rom 10:17, 2 Tim 2:15)
2. His Holy Spirit, who convicts us of sin and keeps us on right path. (John 14:16-17, John 16:8, John 16:13)
3. The Body of Christ, whom God’s Spirit works through to edify and build up His church. (1 Cor 12:5-7)
4. Prayer, which builds faith and draw us near to God— who in turn, draws near to us. (Romans 8:26, James 4:8)
5. Obedience, worship and praise, all of which exalt and magnify God and help us meditate on His truths. (John 14:15, Psalm 34:3, Joshua 1:8)
Charles Ryrie states that “Everyone is a theologian” and that there is “everything wrong about being an ignorant or sloppy theologian.” Sound theology is the way to know God well and to better understand His character and the depth of his love and sacrifice. The truth of His nature can touch our hearts to the core. And it is then that we can offer Him a proper response and share His truths with others.
How has knowing God well shaded your theology? How does that affect your life, decisions, and relationships? Are there areas where you need to know Him better? What can you do about that?