Each month, you’ll hear from one of us on what we’re reading and a little bit about the book. This month we’re sharing book notes on Jen Wilkin and J. T. English’s You Are a Theologian Enjoy!
The word theology can be confusing and intimidating. Theology is often misunderstood or seen as an academic pursuit detached from everyday life. I have personally encountered many Christians who shy away from theology and think that theology is only for professors, seminarians, and pastors.
But what does the word theology actually mean? Theology is made up of two Greek words: theós and logos. Theós means, “God,”1 and logos means “word.”2 Theology is words about God. When you think about theology in those terms, it’s less intimidating, but that doesn’t make it less important. Theology does matter. It matters because it shapes us intellectually, emotionally, and practically. It helps us understand and organize the ideas presented in God’s Word comprehensively.
In their new book, You Are a Theologian, authors Jen Wilkin and J. T. English invite you to become not only a consumer of theology but a contributor to the conversation. Jen and J. T. help us remember the importance of our call to grow in faithfulness to the Great Commission’s call to make disciples. This book is simply an invitation to grow in your knowledge and love of God.
You Are a Theologian is an introduction to key concepts in systematic theology for people who have never been taught them or known they existed. Systematic theology might be another intimidating term, but systematic theology is simply “the attempt to put Christian doctrine in a logical order, often starting from one fundamental principle.”3 Through an introduction and ten chapters, You Are a Theologian covers ten basic theological concepts of systematic theology such as: “Who is God? The Doctrine of the Trinity,” “What is God like? The Attributes of God,” “What is the Bible? The Doctrine of Scripture,” and more.
These are concepts that every Christian should know. We all have words about God, whether we vocalize them or not. We all have beliefs, thoughts, and opinions about God. Therefore, it is important that the “words about God” that we have are based on what God tells us about Himself in His Word. Having a right theology is important.
One of my favorite excerpts from the book says this:
“One of the greatest misconceptions about theology is that it is something learned in a classroom or through reading a book. Christians do not merely learn theology; they ‘do theology.’” The grammarian in Jen does not love this phrase, but it is commonly used for a reason. It communicates the holistic impact of theology on our lives: we think differently, feel differently, and act differently as a result of developing better categories for understanding God.
Theology is not done exclusively or even primarily in the classroom. It is done in everyday life, every minute of every day. We are doing theology when we preach, pray, and sing, but we are also doing theology when we go to work, when we take a vacation, as we care for an aging parent, as we fight sin, as we raise kids, as we mourn the loss of a loved one, as we spend our money, and as we grow old. You are a theologian, and you are always doing theology.”4
Theology is not an isolated academic pursuit but a means of organizing biblical truths to live a life well pleasing to God. The more we learn about God, the more we can be more like Him. The more we are like Him, the more we will grow in our faithfulness.
Jen and J. T.’s new book is perfect not only for individual reading, but it would be a great group study, as well (discussion questions are included!). Jen and J. T. help us learn that by engaging in theology with a biblical foundation, prayerful attitude, worshipful posture, humble spirit, and in community, we can deepen our understanding of God and live transformed lives to help fulfill the Great Commission.
You—yes, even YOU—are a theologian. Be a good one.
- Strong’s G2316, Blue Letter Bible, accessed June 28, 2023, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g2316/kjv/tr/0-1/.
- G3056, Blue Letter Bible, accessed June 28, 2023, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g3056/kjv/tr/0-1/.
- Gerald Bray, “Systematic Theology,” The Gospel Coalition, accessed June 28, 2023, https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/essay/systematic-theology.
- Jen Wilkin and J. T. English, You Are a Theologian (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2023), 18–19.
Theology can be intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. Whether conversations about theology have felt out of reach, over your head, or irrelevant, consider this book an invitation to the dialogue.
The goal of theology is knowing and loving God well. This is a lifelong endeavor, a never-ending pursuit, not for the sake of knowledge, but for an ever-deepening relationship with God Himself. Authors Jen Wilkin and J. T. English invite you to become not merely a consumer of theology, but a contributor to the conversation, and to grow in faithfulness to the Great Commission’s call to make disciples.
You Are a Theologian releases July 18.
Whitney Walker Alexander serves as the marketing strategist for books for B&H Publishing. Whitney is a pastor’s wife to her husband, Mat, and they live in Gadsden, Alabama, with their three children, Wattsie, Ford, and Jim, their rambunctious dogs, Boyce and Althea. When Whitney isn’t marketing books, she is reading books, making to-do lists, and laughing with her family. You can follow Whitney on Instagram at @whitneywalexander.