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Meaning of Theology

Theology comes from two Greek words, theos (God) and logos (discourse, speech, line of argument), and means simply God-talk—or, more fully, thoughts about God expressed in statements about God. God-thoughts are only right when they square with God’s own thoughts about himself; theology comes good only when we let God’s revealed truth—that is, Bible teaching—penetrate our minds. So theology is an exercise of listening before it is one of talking. It is an attempt to hear what Westminster Confession (I.x) calls “the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture” and then to apply what Scripture says to correct and direct our lives. We bring our doubts and questions to the Bible’s teaching for resolution, and we allow God in and through that same teaching to question us about the way we think and live. The name of theologian is given to those who help with this process.

J. I. Packer, Hot Tub Religion, (Living Books, Tyndale House Publ., Inc., Wheaton, Ill; 1987), p. 2

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