What is the use of theology? I was shocked when someone asked this question. Perhaps we should first ask, what is theology? Quite simply, it is the study of God, His character and His work. A theologian is a scholar of theology although some appear to think that what a scholar says is acceptable but what a theologian says is not. Does anyone suppose that Albert Barnes or Frederic Farrar were not theologians in the nineteenth century or F.F.Bruce and W.E.Vine in the twentieth century. Yet we owe a tremendous debt to such as these as we do to Robert Young, James Strong, Professor Grim and J.H.Thayer
Christian Theology is a systematic study of the Bible. It sorts out facts and principles from interpretations and then proceeds to study accordingly. Moral theology is a specialised form of the study of Christian behaviour based on the Bible. Similarly a study of basic principles of the Bible can be invaluable if they can be applied to Christian behaviour. Old Testament theology develops with Israel through the centuries. With the coming of Jesus the great doctrines of atonement and covenant were reborn. Their application to sin and salvation, of love and forgiveness, are much richer. The principles upon which thinking was based in Old Testament times were re-shaped and re-applied in the New Testament as shown in Paul's letter to the Galatians. The affect of the principle of sin is the breaking of God's Law. In the Old Testament that Law was defined on Sinai in the detailed record of rules and regulations. In the New Testament that Law is simply defined as 'Love'. Thinking, saying or doing something not motivated by 'love' is sin.
When there is a serious failure in theology there is readily a decline in behaviour. Two outstanding examples of this are the 'religious' leaders in the time of Jesus and the medieval Christian church that tortured and burned heretics. Theology should never have divided loved ones or segmented the people of God. In fact true theology does not cause division but personal and sectarian interpretation does, as witness the church at Corinth. Theology should focus our thoughts upon God and therefore should be the basis of true worship. Strong principles underlie good relationships.