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Given that life can often be challenging, a robust theology is one of the easiest ways to save yourself from unnecessary heartache.
Imagine going on a journey and coming to a fork in the road. Should you go left or right? The two paths might appear to go in the same basic direction, but over time they diverge. If you make a wrong choice early on in life, it can take years to backtrack and go the right way.
If you read the Bible the wrong way, you can end up seeing only what you want to see or what you think it says, instead of what it actually says. The Bible is the only source of truth that describes the reality of creation. But, it is also authored by God so that only with the help of His Spirit, can we understand what it says.
Correct Theology Requires Accurate Interpretation
Developing a theology means conducting a review of the Bible’s main teachings about God and life.
The Bible’s words of truth must be interpreted. The challenge with any written word is determining what the original author meant. Words are simply labels for concepts and meanings. What you call something matters very little. But the meaning we feel and understand in our hearts, our heads, or our spirits — that is everything. As you might see, this is why communication can be so prone to misunderstanding. Words can mean totally different ideas to different people.
Each person has a distinct identity (or personality). Each person also has their own unique experiences. The combination of unique experiences and the interpretation of those experiences creates diversity. Diversity can increase the potential for rich experiences, but as it does, it can just as easily increase the potential for gross misunderstanding. When you are trying to communicate with others, pay attention to how your experiences shape your understanding. Be patient with the time it takes to synchronize your inner meanings with someone else’s perspectives.
Correct Theology Leads To Confident Living
A correct theology keeps your mind in sync with your creator. Confident living doesn’t mean perfect living without mistakes or difficulties. But it does mean peaceful living because God is in control. Knowing the truth and walking in it is confident living. God handles the errors. God makes the corrections as needed to keep us on the right path.
The LORD directs the steps of the godly.Psalm 37:23-24 NLT
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the LORD holds them by the hand.
How to Develop a Correct Theology
Read the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to help you interpret. If you go to the source, you will have the best opportunity to understand the truth. However, it’s also possible to be blinded by particularly negative life experiences. These experiences can inject false beliefs and motivations into our lives. They cloud the truth, making it difficult to see clearly.
The Christian journey is not meant to be traveled alone. God gives us other people with various and diverse gifts of the Spirit to help the community of all believers to thrive. I believe it’s important to develop convictions about the major teaching of the Bible in areas like the following:
- God’s sovereignty and man’s free will. My study of the Bible has led me to conclude that God’s sovereignty has greater significance than man’s free will. God, as creator, can change man so that man’s will is in line with God’s heart. But man, without God’s complete help, cannot overcome sin. Yes, man has free will, but only within the system of life that God has created. It is an illusion to think that man can have complete free will apart from God. God holds creation together by His power (Colossians 1:16-17).
- Are believers eternally secure in their salvation, or can they lose it (and potentially gain it back again)? See my other posts for my views on why believers have eternal security, even though they must still persevere in their faith.
- Does a non-believer use faith to believe in God? Or does God initiate regeneration, giving people the faith to believe? See 1 Peter 1:3-5 below which shows that “God caused us to be born again” and it is “by God’s power we are being guarded through faith for a salvation.”
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV
I found 40 Questions About Salvation by Matthew Barrett to be instrumental in explaining the theology of the Bible with regard to salvation. When you study the Bible to develop correct theology, I guarantee it will be life-changing.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.