I believe the reason a lot of people don’t study their Bible more in depth or tackle theology and doctrine is because they don’t see how all this “stuff” relates to their daily lives. We live in such a pragmatic society that if someone can’t see how something directly effects their day to day life why, bother with it? Though I don’t believe pragmatism (truth is preeminently to be tested by the practical consequences) is something we should praise or endorse, nevertheless, I will try to show how taking the time to dig a little deeper in your studies can benefit everyone, every day.
Theology and studying doctrine can sometimes seem a bit intimidating or overwhelming simply because there are some big words we have either never heard, seen, or understood. Taking the time to dig into the Word, commentaries, and other theological works from trusted men will help us break these large words into smaller, more manageable parts. As we begin to understand the parts, we can then begin to understand how they relate to the whole, and the next thing you know we magically know what we believe about an issue and why we come down where we do on it.
As an example I will be using my knowledge of websites (you can insert your understanding of a hobby or job to get the sam effect) throughout. I understand the parts and the language used in the development of a website. Though I’m not an expert, this is extremely helpful in many ways.
Studying the Bible and understanding doctrine gives us a deeper love and appreciation for God, how He reveals Himslef to us, who He says we are, what He has done for us in Christ, etc. The more we find out about this God we love, the more we love Him. The same would be true if you and I were to look at the same well done website. You would be able to appreciate the look and functionality, sure. But I would be able to appreciate those qualities along with an admiration of the skill, knowledge, and time required to build it. My love for the site is not better than yours, just deeper.
A better grasp on theology helps us as we try to teach others about God. The better we understand a topic, the more aptly equipped we will be to instruct others who are interested in knowing more. Our knowledge must not terminate on us, though. I mean that our knowledge is meant to bring glory and honor to God by increasing our worship of Him and be passed on to increase others’ knowledge of Him. If it is not, it will puff up. Back to the website. If I understand the base language websites are built on I can easily teach it to others so that they may build upon that and continue learning on their own.
A deeper knowledge of Christian doctrine will give us more confidence. I’m not talking about obnoxious pride here. I’m talking about a confidence that will help us in discussing issues with our brothers and sisters as well as give us the assurance we long for when we are asked by unbelievers to defend our position on a matter. For instance, someone may tell me that they believe X or Y will happen when they click on a certain link because they have clicked on links like this before. But, I have the ability to look at the source code and tell them exactly what will happen and why it will happen that way. As in the code below I can tell you that there is an image that when clicked will take you to another page as well as open that page in another browser window.
<a href=”http:www.example.com/webpage” target=”_blank”><img src=”images/webimage.jpg” /><a>
Lastly, though I’m sure there are more, a better understanding of the Bible through studying theology and doctrine will help us recognize falsehood and error. Being a student of the Word equips us to see heresy or harmful doctrine that would infiltrate our churches and homes. Too many well meaning Christians have been led astray by teaching what “seemed right.” Had they been equipped to pick up on the danger they would have seen the little things that ruin the whole. Little falsehoods matter when you’re talking about big, eternal concepts. Take the website code referenced above. It looks good at first glance. If you built websites you might be tempted to put it on your site because it feels right, but placing this code on your site would surely break this link and possibly break your entire site. Why? One missing character out of 88. The <a> tag at the end is not closed properly. It should be </a>.
The little things matter on the whole. Seemingly pointless studies matter when done to the glory of God and out of a desire to know and please Him.