The Third Step in Being a Better Theologian
I used to play golf all the time. I had a couple of buddies who liked to play, and so I played a few rounds a month with them. I quickly learned a few things about golf.
Golf can be described as having three different parts or components – driving, irons, and putting. After a few rounds I learned that my irons game was decent, and I could putt so-so. Driving was awful! Most rounds if I drove the ball straight twice in a row, I thought it was a successful round. My driving issues will be the subject of my next post. Today I want to talk about how I improved my putting.
The set of clubs I bought was not cheap but it was not expensive either. It came with just an ordinary looking blade putter. I never could get a feel for how to hit the ball. It would either be too hard or too soft. I would practice and practice, but it did not matter. I finally decided that it was an equipment problem.
Putters come in all sorts of designs and shapes. But there are basically two styles -- blades and mallets. The one I had was a very narrow blade and the balance was not good. I also did not like the offset as the handle transitioned to the blade itself. So when we would come to the green, I started begging my buddies to let me try their putters out.
Two of them had mallet putters. And one of them had a center-shafted mallet. I started sinking putts when he would let me use that putter! It was the most amazing thing ever! I went home told Debra that I had to have a new putter!
Going to the store, I found that I had even more choices. This revolved around the putter face. Did I want an insert or milled face? I putted a few balls using the different options. Found a balata insert I could sink any putt with! At least in the store! So I bought it! My success was not “every putt” like I bragged to my buddies when I was in the store. But there was a marked improvement in my accuracy on the greens. Which of course made golf a lot more fun. And I got a lot less ribbing from my golfing buddies!
So what does this have to do with being a better theologian? In our two previous posts, we talked about time with God, and then the time it talks to learn the language. (You can see that even in this post. It took time to play golf and it took time to learn the parts of golf.) But in theology just as in golf there comes a time when you must look at the equipment you are using if you are going to get better.
Let's start with the Bible you use. I am neither a KJV-only person nor am I KJV-basher. If you were raised on the KJV then use it. But if you were not, then I suggest that you use something else. I am a big fan of the ESV, but there are lots of good translations out there. The bigger issue is this: read the Bible! Whichever translation you use put your eyes on the text regularly!
The next issue is print or electronic. Again, I am not against or for either. I use both, I like both, I see advantages to both. If you go with print only, then get two of whatever translation you like. One that is just a plain bible. The other needs to be a study bible. The plain one is for devotional reading. I have found that the references and footnotes can sometimes be distracting from hearing the Holy Spirit in the text. Someday soon I will do a post on evaluating a good study Bible.
If you are going electronic, this where things get interesting. Again -- you have options. If you are going to just read the Bible, then YouVersion is an acceptable option. Lots of people and churches use YouVersion. It has reading plans for themes. It has reading plans put together by your favorite authors. If you go that route – then be faithful in your reading!
But Gospel Lighthouse has invested in helping you study the Bible to the fullest. With the Logos Bible Study platform, you can do anything from reading the Bible, to studying the original language to reading your favorite author. But just as I had to learn how to play golf, I had to learn the different clubs, and parts of the game, so Bible study is the same.
And you can get better. And Logos software can make you better. Are you willing to learn? There are training videos on our Facebook page. Faithlife has a YouTube channel devoted to training. And you can always just ask me!
Next week we will learn how I fixed my issues with driving the ball from the green. And how that relates to being a better theologian.