Humility: A proper attitude to Systematic Theology
July 20th at 6:11pm
Peter tells us, “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” ’ (1 Peter 5:5).
Those who study systematic theology will learn many things about the teachings of Scripture that are perhaps not known or not known well by other Christians in their churches or by relatives who are older in the Lord than they are. They may also find that they understand things about Scripture that some of their church officers do not understand, and that even their pastor has perhaps forgotten or never learned well.
In all of these situations, it would be very easy to adopt an attitude of pride or superiority toward others who have not made such a study. But how ugly it would be if anyone were to use this knowledge of God’s Word simply to win arguments or to put down a fellow Christian in conversation, or to make another believer feel insignificant in the Lord’s work. 1
James’ counsel is good for us at this point: “Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God” (James 1:19–20). He tells us that one’s understanding of Scripture is to be imparted in humility and love:
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good life let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom … But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity. And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:13, 17–18)
Systematic theology rightly studied will not lead to the knowledge that “puffs up” (1 Cor. 8:1) but to humility and love for others.
1 Grudem, W. A. (2004). Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine (p. 33). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.
Article posted by Glen R. Jackman, founder of GraceProclaimed.org
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