Wow that’s a major statement tonight from my prof in systematic theology II. May God help us to love reading, enjoy reading, be an avid reader. Novels, books, and any other doctrinal pastoral philosophical books alike. Reading is so important. God has graciously given us a book, we better be darn well equipped to grasp it, digest it, internalize it, communicate it to the world. Be a transformed man so as to communicate that good tidings to the world.
Reading is an active exercise, it’s a conversation with the text. Catch how the questions are raised? Develop the muscle of theology.
We need to be engaged and be active in reading books, interact with the books, and intellectually be renewed in our minds. Romans 12 talks about be transformed by the renewing of your minds. How can our minds be renewed without reading books? Best way of learning theology and absorbing it is through reading. Without much reading, preachers pretty much live a truncated spiritual life that runs the risk of shallowness in the walk with God.
One of the important things I got from my class tonight is actually the question I asked after hearing that systematic theology understanding can actually makes one’s view towards the scriptures to be mechanical and become academic and dry after a while. Frankly that’s the fear or excuse of most Pentecostals of not going to seminary or bible schools! But on the contrary, if we continue just to read the Bible without reading up theology about the Bible, we may be recycling the same pet doctrines on our Sunday sermons and our congregation simply feels dry and getting dried by the pastors preaching! So either way, it hurts right?
But no! We can do better. Scripture is not textbook. Scripture impacts and renew us. Textbook of theology is like a tool that sharpens and broadens our thinking and reflection on the scriptures! Without those helps, our reflections become dwindled to shallowness. Calvin says that theological books serves as lenses for you to better read the scriptures. Doctrines send us back to scriptures. With this understanding, we will not run dry neither shallow. We are on the way to be renewed in our mind by scriptures in reflection and meditation and be transformed!