Kapic, Kelly M. A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2012.
What is the place of theological training in the life of a Christ follower? In his book, Sermon on Psalm 5, the great theologian Martin Luther points out, “We are called theologians, just as [we are] all [called] Christians” (15). Theology simply means the study of the words about God. All Christians are theologians the moment that they open Scripture and begin to dive deeply into the treasure of God’s word.
Kelly Kapic’s primer A Little Book for Theologians, is a wonderful tool to put in the hands of a new convert or a seasoned Christian to help them see the importance of theology in the life of a believer. He engages us in this study by showing us, “When we see the relationship between theology and worship we are moved beyond intellectual curiosity to an engaged encounter with the living God” (37). Kapic’s thesis is simply that you cannot separate theology and spiritual growth. You cannot grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ without a commitment to theological study that will uncover even more of the redemptive nature of our great God leading to a hope that is beyond comparison.
Some of the greatest strengths in Kapic’s text are related to the amount of Scripture that he uses to make the connections with theology while clearly demonstrating the practical application of loving our neighbor well. He made several statements supporting studying theology in the context of community and fellowship with other Christians. “Theology grows best in community” (93).
Kapic also did a fantastic job of defining several terms to help the reader set a clear foundation for theological study. His commitment to humility as a hallmark of Christian scholarship is refreshing in an area of study that can be filled with commentaries that can come across as arrogant or beyond the mastery of the common man. Kapic makes the study of theology approachable through his engaging argument.
The only criticism for this work would simply be that it is so short. It would be nice to see Kapic have taken this a few steps further into unpacking some specific theological issues where he could further make the point of the necessity of studying theology. That was not the purpose of this book. It was meant to engage the heart and mind of the believer to see the value in the study of theology.
Kapic makes a strong case for the study of theology in order to truly know the mind of Christ, to grow in our relationship with the Lord, in fellowship with other believers, and ultimately to experience the glory of God in a way that causes Christians to praise Him.
In it’s most fundamental form, Christian theology is an active response to the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, whereby the believer, in the power of the Holy Spirit, subordinate to the testimonies of the prophets and apostles as recorded in the Scriptures and in community with the saints, wrestles with and rests in the mysteries of God, his work and the world (121).
This book belongs on the shelf of pastors and teachers to have at the ready when seeking to equip those who want to learn more about why Christians should be committed to the study of theology.