This week I have started on the Course for Christian Studies. This is a two-year course designed to help Christians understand the Christian faith more deeply and to also act as a gateway into various forms of ministry.
For me, I’ve tried to study the Christian faith myself over the years and so hope these early weeks of the course won’t be too stretching for me! We shall see! Theological training is important, and week one of the course is entitled “You too can be a theologian!” Properly handling the Bible and understanding matters of doctrine is important for all believers.
I have wanted to get involved more and more in the life of my church. My gifts largely centre around teaching, and while I have been very fortunate over the years to be able to teach in a variety of ways, if I want to do more in my church then I do need to obtain more formal training. I understand this, and it is wise that those in positions of authority or teaching are properly equipped.
I have been praying a lot about my own ministry and its future. I am certainly keen to explore more formal ministry further, and completing this course is a great first step. Through it, I hope to learn al ot but to also meet other believers on a similar journey. Also, I hope it will help me to more fully understand God’s will for my life.
As I progress on the course, I will try to write about it from time to time. I won’t give you a blow by blow account, but hope to keep you updated on my progress and the things I am learning.
This first course module is all about Encountering God. Those on the course come from a variety of churches and backgrounds, and so we begin by getting to know one another.
One activity involved noting down words we use for and about God. These included:
- Lion of Judah (see Revelation 5:5)
- Lamb of God (see John 1:29)
- Comforter (see John 14:16 (Amp))
- Advocate (see John 14:16 (Amp))
- Judge (see Psalm 75:7)
- And so many more…
God is everything to us, and so one single name does not fully convey Who He is. The Bible refers to God in a huge variety of ways. Some you will relate to, and some you may find more difficult.
We can no more define God than we can measure the distance between east and west. God is beyond our comprehension, and we are shown various dimensions of His character throughout Scripture. And yet, paradoxically, we can know Him. We can know the unknowable. The Almighty God came down as a Man, a human being just like each of us, and He lived a life like we live.
It is a mystery that the God of the Heavens has made Himself known to us through His Son. The God so far above us connects with us on our level. He meets us where we are.
Who is He to you? I will be spending some time this week thinking about this question. Have I put Him in a box, and have I limited Him? Do I know Him as I ought to, or do I concentrate on the bits I want to? I rejoice in His salvation, but do I submit to His Lordship? Have I painted a picture of Him in my mind which is not true, and if so, how can I really learn Who He is from the Bible?
The course this week has challenged me to think about this. I do not wish to limit God, nor do I want to know Him only in part. He is Saviour and Friend, but also Lord and Judge.
We can know God through the Bible, but it tqakes effort on our part. We must study the Scriptures and learn about Him. Not just gathering facts about Him, but understanding Who He is through relationship. I may know my wife’s date of birth, hair colour, shoe size or telephone number yet these are just facts about her and tell me little of who she really is. Likewise, I may gather pieces of data about God and still totally miss Who He is.
Only through systematic study of Scripture can we fully know God as He is revealed to us. Let us leave behind any preconceptions or traditions, and see what the Bible really has to say. I pray that the Holy Spirit will help each one of us do that.
I hope this has been of interest, and I’ll post more about the course over the coming weeks and months.