A newlywed woman once told me she struggled to study God’s Word for herself since having a spiritually mature husband. He read to her and shared with her nearly every night, and when she asked him a theological question, she agreed with his point of view right away. Little wrestling with the scriptures happened during her time with God. Few prayers for wisdom came out of her mouth. Instead, she leaned on her husband like a crutch.
It doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way. As women, we too should seek sound theology for ourselves and not take our parents’, husband’s, or pastor’s theology at its word. We must be like the Bereans who search the scriptures daily to discover the truth compared to what we hear or see elsewhere (Acts 17:11).
We have access to the many great theologians of our past—A.W. Tozer, A.W. Pink, Martin Lloyd Jones, to name a few. I confess that I am no expert, and I am no pastor given the fact that my theology convinces me the role of the pastor belongs to men. But I am a woman who studies God by studying the Bible, and Lord willing, I will continue to study the Bible until the day I die.
In this article, I hope to convince women to do the same.
Theology Versus Sound Theology
Theology, according to the Greek lexicon, literally means the “study of God.” We study God by reading, hearing, memorizing, and meditating on the Bible, but more importantly, the Bible is the means to knowing God himself. We must know the Bible to know God. Yet it’s not enough to study God if what we conclude about him proves false. We must strive for sound theology, meaning, what we think about God needs to be true, revealed in scripture alone by the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
Sound theology is not, however, merely knowing the Bible and rightly dividing it—although that is a necessary part of it. Sound theology is knowing God intimately for who he is by knowing what the Bible says and why.
Why Women Should Seek Sound Theology
Women, to whom God did not design for the office of an elder or the spiritual head of the family, should pursue sound theology for the sole sake of knowing God rightly, awesomely, and intimately.
Some women think only men should seek sound theology as men are the ones who lead from the pulpit and in the home. The pastor grapples with the Word of God to form his sermons each week. Women only need to come and hear the preaching. And like the first example I gave, the husband or father discerns the meaning of the biblical text and shares it with the family. The wife and daughter only need to listen to his discernment and accept it.
But no woman will get to know God that way.
To Know God Rightly
If what comes to our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us—as Tozer says—we need our own theology. Do we see him as the Sovereign Lord over our lives and the universe? Do we believe in his omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience? What about his goodness or his wrath?
Our parents’ theology, or our husband’s, or pastor’s theology won’t help us much when we experience trials or attempt to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, nor will they be there to stand before God in judgment for us. Our faith must be our faith, and thus, our theology must be our theology for it to enable us to persevere in the faith.
Someone else’s theology won’t get us far in the Christian life if we don’t know God for ourselves (John 17:3). He requires all Christians, male and female, to know him or else he will reject us. If we don’t know him, he will say that he never knew us (Matt. 7:21-23). What a dreadful thing that would be.
To Know God Awesomely
We will never stop learning about God in our seeking to know him, and the more we learn about him, the more we learn to know him. His nature resembles a pit in which we dig and never hit the bottom, discovering countless riches in the midst of our labor (Eph. 3:8). We will never know him exhaustively, however, for we can’t fully comprehend him on this side of heaven.
But we can know him awesomely–as well as we are able–causing our hearts to fill with awe at the realization of his glory. We will speak of the glorious splendor of his majesty and meditate on his wonderful works (Ps. 145:5)!
To Know God Intimately
Lastly, sound theology is not the end in itself. It should accomplish something. Sound theology should connect our minds to our hearts like this: To know God is to love God and to love God is to want to know him more deeply.
God may not have made women to preach to his church, to lead the household, or to write a book on systematic theology, but he gave us access to himself through Jesus Christ (Heb. 4:16). Let’s not waste this access (Phil. 3:8). With a holy longing, let’s plead with him to show us his glory that we may know the King of Kings more in each day leading up to eternity.