Reverence for God
Wisdom is a really important element in doing theology because the alternative is to do theology in a foolish way. I don’t think any of us wants to do that. But what does wisdom consist of? Biblically speaking, it consists of an attitude and an activity.,
When it comes to the attitude, it’s described in Proverbs 1:7: “The reverence of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
We need to do theology with an attitude of reverence to the God who has made himself known in his word.
If we’re not doing that, if we come with a very different attitude to reading the Bible as some do—even atheists teach the Bible in some religion departments of universities—then indeed we’ve embraced foolishness to the nth degree.
Wisdom Is an Activity
But also being biblically wise is an activity. You go and look at the ant in Proverbs 6 and you observe very carefully. Hey, look, the ant puts away provisions for winter and survives. As for the sluggard or the lazy person, they’re in trouble because they’re foolish. We need to do theology with an attitude of reverence to the God who has made himself known in his word.
I like what William James said about philosophy (that I think applies to theology). There’s some wisdom here. He said, “Philosophy is a particularly stubborn attempt to think clearly.”
I think theology is a particularly stubborn attempt to think biblically and clearly and so, that’s why wisdom is really important in the way we do theology.
Graham A. Cole (ThD, Australian College of Theology) is the dean and professor of biblical and systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. An ordained Anglican minister, he has served in two parishes and was formerly the principal of Ridley College. Graham lives in Libertyville, Illinois, with his wife, Jules. He is a member at Church of the Redeemer in Highwood, Illinois.