When I was in Seminary, it seemed liked there were 4 kinds of students. The “ministry” students. The “Bible” students. The “counseling” students. And the “theology” students.
I was a “Bible” student, so I took a lot of language courses (Aramaic, Akkadian, Latin, German, French, Greek/Hebrew, etc.). I took exegesis courses. Bible backgrounds. Hermeneutics. Advanced hermeneutics…And I avoided “theology” courses like the plague. No Luther. No “systematics” (except what I had to take). No “Christology” course (because it wasn’t taught by a Bible prof). I was a Bible snob.
I have changed a lot in the past 7 years and I repent of my former anti-theological idiocy. How I wish I could go back and take Gordon Isaac’s Bonhoeffer or Luther class! Or a course on philosophical theology from Richard Lints. I came to realize that we cannot ignore the Church when we study the Bible, or the impact of history and theological thinking in the past 2000 years. In fact, there is much wisdom in embracing and learning from theologians of the past. (This may seem like a “duh” idea, but it is rather new for me).
Why am I saying this now? (I had an epiphany about this a few years back now). In my Colossians commentary there is a “connections” section where I will engage the text theologically and for preaching/application. So, to show my penance for so many years looking down on “theologians,” here is the list of books I just checked out at the library and which I plan on incorporating into my research on Colossians.
Prayer (Hans Urs von Balthasar)
God and the Art of Happiness (Ellen Charry)
Incarnation (Alister McGrath)
Incarnation (T.F. Torrance)
The Humanity of God (Barth)
The Crucified God (Moltmann)
God Incarnate (Oliver Crisp)
And, of course, I will include a good amount from my new favorite theologian Bonhoeffer. I plan on working through some of Miroslav Volf’s work on reconciliation, and on the Trinity in due time.
I know, for those “theologians” out there, this the tip of a huge iceberg, but it is a start.
Still, I wanted to make the confession to warn others who may have been or are like I was - take that “theology” class that looks interesting! Explore new horizons! If you have patience and an open mind, there is much to be gained!