(The following notes are adapted from BLB’s FAQ section)
Some think that the study of Scripture, theology, or doctrine does not matter. “Love God and love people. That’s all that matters,” they might say. But is this true? Is this really all that matters?
Perhaps a true love for God will draw us to His Word. If we love Him then we will desire to know Him, discerning the difference between truths and heresies.
“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
If we have no solid base, if we know not the words of our Lord, nor comprehend their meaning, we shall surely be laid flat when the gales of false teaching assail us. Without the conscientious study of what God has shown us all, Truth escapes us and the only thing that remains is falsehood.
There is a cancer in the world.
It drives men insane and causes them to call idiocy “reason” and reason “irrational.” Men claim to be lovers of logic, and yet embrace atheism, relativism, pantheism, and innumerable doctrines of self-deification. Men glorify the art of observation, but fail to see what lies directly in front of themselves. They exalt theory over fact. Being correct is in current favor over being right. They claim world-love on a grand scale, but behind the facade lies self-infatuation on a grander scale.
So then, what are we to do?
We who would claim the existence of God. Of absolutes. Of a holy standard. We who would dare to believe that a god-man beat the king of death and now reigns with authority on High. What are we to do? How can we sturdy ourselves for the onslaught from the mockers and scorners that shall surely come? There are but two ways. The first is by honest, consistent prayer and supplication to the Lord who is ultimately in control of all things. The second is knowledge of and about that Lord and the things He has shown is Scripture (His loving revelation of Truth to us).
Without knowledge of God, His creation, His desires, His work throughout time, and His standard, the unhappy fellow who professes belief in the Christian God will never keep his balance above the world and will surely fall in. On the other hand, only the one who studies and loves the Word of God will be firm enough in his stance to weather the buffets of those trying to pull him into the world, and even pull the occasional fellow out. And as our Lord tells us, it is our sworn duty to pull that fellow out; so it is thus also our duty to know and study God.
Know the Word.
“that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14) and “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
Once the necessity for the study of God has been established, we proceed into the realm of methodology. In what way should the student of God’s revelation to man go about his study? Would it be intelligent and reasonable to accumulate as much knowledge as possible, and yet leave it a mere jumble of un- or partially-related facts? Or should one integrate the learned information into a well-ordered system?
If a man has a jigsaw puzzle of a thousand pieces and he refuses to put it together, he will have a very difficult time trying to figure out what the whole picture is. Now if he organizes the fragments and puts all the pieces together, he shall be able to see the whole picture as well as focus on the details, which he now sees in relationship to the whole. Even better, he will realize which pieces are missing whereas before, he could only guess.
And so it is with theology. We have piles of Scripture containing vast quantities of information. It is when people refuse to systematize that information that heresy is born. If we are to find the Truth in God’s revealed will, we must come to it from a perspective of order.