Theology and Doctrine
Theology is the study of divine things or religious truth. It is the field of study and analysis that treats of God and of God’s attributes and relations to the universe. It can also be defined as a study about God which is done in a systematic and careful way. Systematic theology involves collecting and understanding all the relevant passages in the Bible on various topics and then summarizing their teachings clearly so that what we should believe about each topic is clear.
Doctrine is a body or system of teachings relating to a particular subject. It could be a particular principle, position, or policy taught or advocated by a religion or government. In biblical terms, a doctrine is what the whole Bible teaches us today about some particular topic. Doctrine is the result of doing systematic theology in regard to one particular topic. Doctrine can be very broad or very narrow.
Object of Theology
The object of theology is that it should both be objective and subjective. Many people think that studying theology has to do with only intellect of a person and a person does theology only with mind. Theology as sapientia (wisdom) and as scientia (knowledge) is important. Knowing about God or adding knowledge is not enough when we do theology. Knowing God personally should be the direction in which we are moving as a result of studying theology. Doing theology is important to communicating Christian beliefs and faith to the outside world. Most important, theology should help as to know God and love him. Understanding the nature of God is important for a believer and doing theology helps in doing this. Theology is also important for the church to flourish as a church. For the church to survive, it is important that its theology be correct. Church is the home of theology.
The ultimate purpose of theology is spiritual. It is the science of God that enables faithful Christ-followers to know God more and to find spiritual wisdom.
Theological method refers to the way in which a person does his theology. It has to do with the way a person finds meaning from the text of the Bible. Methods are followed to come to a conclusion about the meaning of the text. Doctrines are derived from the text of the Bile and hence theological method plays an important role in the formation of different doctrines. Different theologians use different theological methods when doing their theology. It is important to note if a theologian is using the method correctly when he deals with important texts related to various subjects. Different theologies like systematic theology, biblical theology and historical theology use different methods to derive their results.
The topic of theological method is important for Christians because the Great Commission given by Jesus Christ requires his disciples to go and preach the gospel and make disciples. This Commission does not end there but we are supposed to teach them to obey everything which Jesus commanded. It requires teaching the content of his teachings to people. According to B.B. Warfield, it is very important that we communicate the substance of biblical teaching in a way that will make sense to the person living on our generation. The Christian belief should be the basis on which everything else gets stated. Modern thought should not be the basis on which we derive Christian beliefs. We should state modern thoughts in terms of Christian beliefs. How we communicate while teaching plays an important role in determining if correct beliefs are thought.
Theological methods should not be seen as more authoritative than the Word of God itself. No method is equivalent to the revelation given in the Scriptures. So it is very important to remember that theological methods are results of human thinking and analysis. We use theological methods to develop and communicate the revelation found in the Scriptures in an effective way, but this can never be seen as authoritative as Scriptures itself.
Theology as a Spiritual Enterprise
Doing theology is properly regarded as a spiritual enterprise. When done with the right attitude it should help a person to grow spiritually. It should enhance the religious or spiritual experiences of a theologian. It is important that a minister of God is learned as well as godly so that he will not only teach others but will also be able to lead a religious life. Theology helps a person grow in devotional life as he understands about the divine nature of God. According to B.B. Warfield, the unique end of theology is to make God known. The student of theology is brought by his daily task into the presence of God and is kept there. Depth of his spiritual culture can be developed as a result of this. Just as an enterprise, it is important and not easy. It needs the grace and help of God as theology not only concerns with knowledge which people acquire as a result of his study but it also results in spiritual growth.
Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994.
Clark, David K. To Know and Love God: Method for Theology. Wheaton: Crossway, 2003.
 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 21.
 Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, 25.
 David K. Clark, To Know And Love God: Method for Theology (Wheaton: Crossway, 2003), 210.
 Clark, To Know And Love God: Method for Theology, 219.