Why I Think Women Need to Study Theology

I have a confession to make.  I am not fond of women’s ministry programs.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my sisters in Christ and enjoy fellowshipping with them.  But programs that involve some type of teaching, such as workshops or conferences, generally don’t appeal to me.  Why?  In my experience, gatherings to hear teaching have been little more than encouragement sessions to make us feel better about being “God’s women”.  Unfortunately, I find the same thing on women’s blogs, even ones that have been advertised as a place for serious thinkers.  There are a few exceptions, but generally, I find them lacking in rich theological substance.

Now I will be the first to admit, that women are more geared emotionally.  Generally, and of course there are exceptions.  We seem to need some type of emotional connection to things to extract value.  Therefore, the tendency will be to look for some type of emotional appeasement when it comes to Christian education.  That is not to say that there is not Biblically based teaching or even, expository or inductive teaching.  But it has to feel good for us, if we’re honest.

This is precisely why I think women should study theology.  Instruction in theology proper will force an objectivity that I think might be not otherwise be present, as Christian women strive to grow in their Christian walk.  Theology will provoke us to evaluate how we think about God, His plan and our Christian faith.  Charles Ryrie indicates that theology is how we think about God.  In this way, everyone is a theologian.  So studying theology should challenge us to examine how we are even approaching the Bible.  What is our hermeneutic, historical-grammatical-canonical or reader response subjectivism? Are we studying the Bible to make ourselves feel better or studying to understand the revelation of God?  A study in theology should pry us from the former, while clarifying the latter.  Moreover, it will encourage us to examine the presuppositions that we bring into reading the Bible and reduce responses to seemingly affronts to womanhood or our sensibilities.

I desire for my fellow sisters in Christ to understand God’s plan and program.  I desire for my sisters to study the Bible with as much objectivity as possible, to learn what He has communicated to us.  I personally fear that too much of the highly marketed teaching out there, is not properly equipping women to grow in grace and the true knowledge of Jesus Christ, as Peter puts in 2 Peter 3:18.  It makes us feel good about being women.  But is it enough?

I am especially concerned because I think that women are more likely to be susceptible to distorted doctrine and unscrupulous teachers.  Paul says this to Timothy,

“In the last days, difficult times will come.  For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:2-5)

I think we do see some of this.  All you have to do is turn on the TV, and see this in action under the guise of blessing and favor from God – glorified greed and self-focused teaching.  That’s just the popular version that most likely is a small representative of un-televised, like minded ministries.  Let’s not be fooled, such type of people can even exist in Biblically solid, doctrinally sound churches.  Church discipline has been replaced with “programs”, making it easier for preying men with unholy motives and deceptive leanings to move amongst the congregations undetected.

Because Paul goes on to say that “from among them are those who will enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:6-7).  This describes the type of woman who does not have a good grip on her theology and understanding why she believes what she believes.  This describes a woman who is interested in subjective, emotionally charged teaching rather than systematic teaching rooted in Biblical truth derived from sound hermeneutics centered in God’s revelation.  This describes the type of woman who goes to “conferences” but does not really understand the basis of her faith, lacks discernment and therefore is easily scoped up in disorienting schemes by teachers who proclaim “Biblical” truth.  This is the type of woman that wants to feel good about her theology but can open herself up to false teaching and unscrupulous men, primarily because there is a void that the “true knowledge of Jesus Christ” is meant to fill and challenge her sinful pulls.

I am not saying that all women’s minstries lack substance or that there are not serious women leaders out there, instructing women in God’s truths.  But I am saying that the very nature of women, in general, lends itself to want “feel good” theology and therefore must be countered with more objective learning.  I think our commitment to Christ is worthy of learning as best we can, the great salvation that has been handed to us and God’s communication to us through His written word. God forbid, we be the woman that Paul describes that become subject to distorted teaching, unprincipled men and unholy motives leading us dark and troubled path, always learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

I don’t expect for most women to share in my unusual interest in theology and exegesis (or so I’ve been told).  But I would hope to garner some interest in studying theology, to encourage greater thinking about what God has so graciously condescended to reveal to us and to hopefully avoid the pitfalls of needing emotionally charged learning that may never lead us to where we need to go.

81 Responses to “Why I Think Women Need to Study Theology”

  1. I couldn’t agree more, Michael. I’m a woman, and I detest most “women’s ministry” because it’s so silly and shallow. There is a certain type of Christian woman who seem to believe that Bible Study and deep thinking are just for the boys. I don’t need one more recipe to keep my man happy, I need to drink deeply from the Word and learn to teach it to others. Thanks for having the guts to print this. I know you’re going to get blasted for it.

  2. Actually, Michael didn’t write it, I did. Although, I still might get blasted for it.

    • Lisa, I’m so glad i stumbled across this, becaue that’s exactly how i feel. This is refreshing. I’m getting to begin a study on systematic theology. I was beginning to think something was wrong because i don’t like women’s bible studies. Thanks!

  3. I’m fairly young, so I have much more experience with most church’s youth ministries than women’s ministries, but your assessment seems very accurate. I think many areas of the church today need more focus on theology and exegesis, but women’s ministry is one of the areas that needs it most. By the way, you’re not the only woman with the unusual interest in theology and exegesis. There are at least two of us in existence. :-)

  4. I am a women & you are right!!!!! Thank you Lisa!

  5. Well I am not a women, but here’s my problem: I can’t figure out how to cut and paste these PnP articles without the pages being full of black and me going broke on toner!

  6. Neil, get the cutting and pasting right and watch the DIBS enrollment will go up ;) Heck, they might be banging the door down and demand Michael Patton and Dan Wallace come there in person :)

  7. Thank you, Lisa, I think you speak for more of us women than you realize — count me as another woman who avoids women’s ministries and has an interest in theology and exegesis.

  8. Hmm. To me, this sounds very similar to saying “Man, I wish women would *think*.” Many don’t. But some do.

    I don’t think that you can make sweeping generalizations about women as a whole, because I think that there are a fair number of women out there that are frustrated by this sort of thing – myself included. But I would agree that it is a problem…and that for the last several years, women’s ministries events that I’ve been invited to have been my least favorite opportunities. I’ve heard the same girly feel-good messages before, and I’ve had more than enough of modge-podge.

    I think the same lack of thought and careful discernment is a problem with a lot of men’s ministries too, though. Part of that probably just depends on what church you’re going to…but I’ve seen issues there, too.

    People should think more. :-)

  9. Truth Unites... and Divides November 15, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Lisa Robinson: “I am especially concerned because I think that women are more likely to be susceptible to distorted doctrine and unscrupulous teachers.

    Dear Lisa, there’s some biblical warrant for your concern here. As you obviously know, but which I want to purposely cite, apostle Paul wrote: “And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” (1 Timothy 2:14).

    Why I Think Women Need to Study Theology


    Let’s smuggle in…

    Why I Think Women Need to Study Complementarian Theology


  10. In addition to needing to study theology, I think women – or more women – need to TEACH theology.

    And not just to other women, but to men, too.

    In my job (government, not religious) of more than 3 decades, I have experienced enough examples of the opposite of “women are more emotional and men are more objective” to question and challenge and ignore that generalization. Many of the administrative and executive and financial persons I work or interact with are women. Some of the best students in the NT Greek classes I taught at church were women.

    I wonder if some of what the church has thought and done re: what women should learn in “women’s ministries” has been too influenced by cultural expectations and/or is based on a particular (and IMO one-sided and questionable/challengeable*) reading of Biblical texts?

    * Full disclosure: I have become pretty much a so-called “egalitarian” when it comes to what women can do and be in the church, though I’ve spent most of my Christian life in so-called “complementarian” churches.

  11. In the seminary where I teach, Systematic Theology is a required course for the MS in Counseling, a program with predominantly female students. So 1/3 to 1/2 of my students each semester are female.

    They routinely outscore the men.


  12. And… there need to be more women on Bible Translation teams. The paucity of such, though, might be due to the lack of women with advanced degrees in Biblical languages and translation and theology due to the aforementioned prejudices against what women should learn and do or are allowed to learn and do – which I somewhat attribute to a leftover “male priesthood” mentality in Protestantism where the pulpit has basically replaced the altar such that it is thought that only males can handle and administer the Scriptures to the gathered body.

  13. Dan, that sounds about how it is at DTS. But as a ThM student, I experience the reverse – including myself, 3 of 25 students in greek and 3 of 35 in historical theology are women. These are classes exclusive to the ThM degree. Other classes, its more in line with your percentages.

  14. Truth Unites... and Divides November 15, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Eric W: “I have become pretty much a so-called “egalitarian” when it comes to what women can do and be in the church

    Tis a pity. FWIW, you could still be on CMP’s pastoral staff as an egalitarian, but his church wouldn’t practice egalitarianism.

    CMP: “I could have someone who was not a complementarian, but this does not mean we practice it. Does that make sense? In other words, if we practiced Egalitarianism, we would not be Complementarian. If we practiced Complementarianism, we would not be Egalitarian.

  15. “In addition to needing to study theology, I think women – or more women – need to TEACH theology.”

    That is the plan, God willing. It keeps me focused when I want to quit the juggling act I’m doing as a single mom, part-time professional and full-time seminary student..

  16. Truth Unites... and Divides November 15, 2009 at 10:48 am

    A great woman of the Bible: The Blessed Virgin Mary.

    Loving, dutiful, and obedient.

  17. TUAD wrote: Tis a pity.


    That’s funny; I don’t feel pitiful. :)

    I don’t need your pity or condescension, nor anyone else’s. Nor did F.F. Bruce, nor do Scot McKnight and Ben Witherington III and countless other “egalitarians.”

  18. Lisa-
    Thank you for your thoughtful post. I agree that women are starving for theological training, but don’t know it. I am a stay-at-home mom of 4 studying apologetics and philosophy and I am routinely one of a handful of women in my classes. I recently attended a conference by the Discovery Institute and sadly the trend repeated. One of the scientists asked me why women are not interested. I had to point out that women think and function by way of relationships and the arguments presented in any apologetics arena strip any opportunity for emotional tie to the material. Plus the speakers themselves seem intellectually isolated from the group at large.

    We discussed the possibility for women to teach breakout sessions, but I don’t think it should stop there. For any women’s missional effort to succed it is critical to create community. Your prayers are coveted as I continue to gather information and guidance in creating a network of female apologists and theologians to minister at the grassroots level – and equip women as they raise up the next generation. This includes exposing them to the evidentiary support for a biblical worldview.

    Conferences are nice and have their place, but they do not effect any real change – that must happen through one-on-one (or one-on-few)relationships. If we are successful in training women with a biblical worldview, we can change the world.

  19. Truth Unites... and Divides November 15, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Eric W.,

    Don’t forget to add Bishop John Shelby Spong and Brian McLaren to your list of egalitarians

  20. TUaD,
    Your statement in 18 not only lacks tact but is a logical fallacy. By your logic we should throw out the doctrines of the Trinity and the divinity of Christ since Brian McLaren seems to believe in these as much as you and I. Simply because someone is wrong about X doesn’t make them wrong about Y.

  21. Lisa, sorry about the mis-atribution. I followed Michael’s link from facebook and missed the author info altogether.

    Truth Unites and Divides: You wrote “A great woman of the Bible: The Blessed Virgin Mary. Loving, dutiful, and obedient.”

    I’m not sure what you’re saying here. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but it sounds to me like you’re advocating for women to be mindless little things. I’d like to point out, that based on her song in Luke, she was pretty well versed in Scripture.

  22. Dan (#11),

    That is only because they cheat off the men. Or, alternatively, they are intent on usurping our authority through through the let’s-get-higher-grades-than-men-so-we-can-show-we-can-do-anything-men-can-do campaign. Or, maybe they start with a handicap like in golf.

    Either way, I suggest that you simply give them lower grades no matter what.

  23. Great post Lisa,

    There is only one way to be confident and not tossed about and that is through the study of God’s word. No one else, not your father, husband or pastor can do that for you.

  24. Michael (#22), yep that’s the spirit…see #16. That’s one way to get them there ;)

  25. This is a great post, and some great discussion. I wholeheartedly agree with Lisa’s primary point — that women need to know theology. Of course, I have been through Michael’s classes, and frequent this blog, so that’s no surprise :-).

    As of July, I became the women’s ministry director at my church. I love the women I serve, and on the whole I find them earnestly committed to the Lord. But systematic theology is a really tough sell. So I am starting small, planning to offer a couple of short classes, and trying to wade in slowly and meet the women where they are at. But I think it is absolutely possible to have rigorous program of study, but keep things as accessible as possible. We’ll see :-)

    So Lisa, I welcome any future thoughts you have along these lines! And Nancy, from you as well. There is probably a need for women who see this need to support one another in our respective endeavors!

  26. Thanks for this! If I have to hear one more ‘Bible Study’ where I am told how Esther was a paragon of virtue and a model for Christian women… gahh! I think women need to embrace ‘Love the Lord with all your mind’.

  27. Fantastic post, Lisa. I agree with everything, although I might emphasize that men today have become pretty feminized, and are often guilty of the same weaknesses as the women in Paul’s time. In other words, men today need to learn theology for many of the same reasons you cite!

  28. The leadership of our church just decided to discontinue the Women’s Ministries are as a separate ministry, and fold its various programs in with general church programs. One part of me applauds this move. Like others here, I’ve never had an interest in women’s conferences, or woman-focused women’s Bible studies.

    But there are times I do prefer to meet just with women, so I hope that the ministry change won’t make it hard to find women-only groups. The small group I’m part of is all couples (except me, because my husband stopped attending church due to his work schedule – long story). But I like knowing that there is a small group that is just women that I could join if I wanted to.

  29. After being in the corporate environment and working almost exclusively with men for many years, I thought this was one reason why I love to do unconventional things like study theology. I am more of an analytical and logical thinker, less emotional. I say amen to the above comments. Let the women go on with their feel-good ministries if that is what turns them on. Just keep letting us gals into theology classes. I think more men ALSO need to get into theology classes so we women would have someone to lead us and be our equals!

  30. Thanks Lisa.

    I feel the same way about the bulk of what constitutes “womens’ ministries”, but have by and large kept that opinion to myself rather than bring heaps of conflict raining down on my own head.

    In my teaching of women and in my blog, I seldom touch on “womens’ topics”. The Scripture has little to say specifically to women and I think our teaching should as much as possible maintain the same emphases as God’s Word – lots of doctrine, lots of general Christian living instruction, and only very occasional gender specific instruction.

  31. AMEN!! I haven’t read all the comments but will when I can sit down for 5 minuttes. Most women studies I have been in have focused on being a better wife, mother, cook, house keeper, evangalist, decorator, money manager, minister…..with the exception of the Beth Moore studies, but I still can’t watch those videos. I found myself trying harder to be better at these things without realizing any change in me was going to come through the HS working within me. God wants my time, not necessarily for me to scrub the oven. I found myself feeling worse and worse and ultimately thinking God did not love me. This all happened recently and by God’s grace it didn’t turn into something more serious, like me leaving the church or something, although when I tried expressing myself during Bible study someone cut me off and said we should immediately pray. It may have been the great deciever but I think it was God showing me his mercy, trying to get me to realize I don’t have to try so hard. I can relax and let him take over- his yoke is easy. I believe many women have been in my boat or are there now. We need good theology to get us through life. We’re all different and the same formula doesn’t work for everyone. I see numerous women living joyful, Christ-filled lives, there houses are in perfect order, they have great mariages, and they spend their extra time going to women’s conferences. That’s just not me- I’ve had a pretty tough, long road; I need the meat, not the gravy. Now everyone needs to go see Precious. Michael you need to do a blog on that movie! I’d love to know your thoughts. It’s a good movie about the times we live in- very frightening. I had to throw that in because I want to know how to reach women outside the church!

  32. You know frankly… I think it depends on the person.

    I suggested to my wife to come to TTP with me and she declined. She’s stronger in her faith than I am, less doubt, knows more about scripture and solid doctrine than I do. She’s just less inquisitive. I’ve called her a Mark 10:15 believer before. And she’s fine with that moniker. And so am I.

    If you’d change the topic to “Why I think there should be more theology classes offered to women”, you may have a better point.

    That’s like saying “There should me more teaching on male relationships and accountability”. Which we tried and men dropped out like flies once they get a little bit introspective.

    On the whole, I think the TTP classes I took where about 50/50 split.

    Considering your statistic that 3 of 25 students in greek and 3 of 35 in historical theology are women, that’s about 10%. What’s the overall enrollment for women at the ThM degree at DTS ? Or for that matter, any major, including non-theological, 4 year masters degree of that caliber ? I have a suspicion that it’ll hover around 10%, but if anyone has numbers I’ll gladly be corrected.

    Could it be a more general challenge that women tend to go after master’s degree less than men ?

    In Him

  33. Hmmm

    Did a quick google.. I may be wrong:

    Only engineering scores around 20% for female enrollment. All the rest is way higher.

    DTS overall is about 27% female enrollment based on fall 2008 numbers, but it’s not broken down by degree program

    Does look like a “theology” graduate program scores somewhere between physical sciences and business degrees.

    Based on those numbers I’d say, yes we need more women in theology education, but I’m not convinced it’s necessarily alarming compared to others.

    I still concur there’s room for more theologically sound classes at different Churches around.


  34. Mick, I think you’re confusing the need for more theologically sound instruction with more women enrolled in seminary. I was really referring to the former. The stats were in reference to Dan’s comment (#11) but not meant to suggest that more women need to enroll in seminary.

    I’d say that 27% for overall female population is about right. If fact, I think it might be a tad higher. But most female students are not in the ThM program. I am not suggesting it is alarming. It is not. But it does speak to the fact that many women are not interested in the more rigorous theology programs.

    In reference to this post, I think it does start in the local assemblies. Pastors and church leaders can foster learning by tightening up the curriculum and offering TTP or like instruction.

  35. I think many women are scared off from taking degreed theological programs because the opinion in the church at large still seems to lean toward women not teaching. In my area most women with degrees are confined to Christian counseling or children’s ministries.

    I agree with Lisa that too many women’s ministries across the denominational board lean toward more gender specific things.

    Very few women’s Bible studies I’ve been involved even study from the Bible directly, and that has always bothered me. I know there are lots of women out there who are interested in more depth teaching, even as lay people, but they are afraid they will look too radical if they speak up.

  36. Mbaker, sadly I think you are right. Even though this post was not about women in seminary, I think it is a natural by-product, especially in more staunchly complementarian churches.

    I hate to say this, but if women are not being properly educated through women’s ministry programs, the fault rest at the feet of the leadership. It’s one thing to meet people where they are and if there are women that want feel-good theology, that’s fine. But the leadership has a responsibility to raise the bar and teach women what they need to be taught concerning their faith AND to let them know that’s what they need. It’s a tough balance that extends to any teaching ministry. I applaud the efforts listed above of Lisa S and Laurie M and anyone else, who sound like they won’t allow women to wallow in superficial Christianity.

  37. Pauline, I meant to respond to your comment but then got distracted. I agree that women need to have exclusive women time. But who says that time can’t be really rich.

    I am very thankful for my 5 Spiritual Formation buddies that I meet with every Thursday while the semester is in (and some off-time fellowship as well). Even though they have labeled me the “theologian” of the bunch, we all enjoy rich conversation as we work our way through our Spiritual Formation curriculum.

  38. I didn’t realize DTS actually permitted women to study for advanced theological degrees. How does that square with their staunch complementarianism?

    Oh wait, I forgot that women are welcome to learn all kinds of biblical and theological insights from male instructors as long as those women don’t turn around and “teach” or violate “male headship” by actually sharing any of those theological insights with males over age 18 in a local church assembly- unless their teaching takes form of a Bible commentary or theology textbook of course!

    It should be obvious that pastors are in positions of spiritual authority while Bible/Theology professors are not.

  39. Lisa,

    And certainly it would be wrong of us to lay that at the feet of the men, because then we would be even more guilty of gender specific issues! :)

    To be fair to the pastors I know who encourage women to explore theology more deeply, and they are definitely out there, there are many who are reluctant because they are afraid they will step on overly sensitive feminist toes if they speak up as well.

    This is where I think people in the church as whole need to come together and discuss these issues honestly without so much pressure for political correctness on either side.

  40. Dan S., is that sarcasm I detect?

    I think you’ll find a range of positions on the issue of “male headship” and “authority” among seminaries. There are seminaries, mostly of the southern Baptist variety, that will not allow women to teach theology and Bible classes where men are present. Only english classes.

  41. Does the name “Sherri Klouda” ring any bells?

  42. Eric, it didn’t so I did a little investigating. Wow! That is unfortunate, is all I have to say. Our OT department has one female prof – Dr. Coover-Cox. I haven’t taken Hebrew yet but she is all the rave. This semester is a first for a female NT prof, even though she is just adjunct. No women in the Systematic or Bible exposition departments though. I’m not sure about BE, but I do have hopes for ST…one day (which is my track). We shall see.

  43. Female interest in theology and exegesis may not be as unusual as we think. But it doesn’t seem to be encouraged, even by many who ostensibly encourage it! I agree that much “women’s material” offers little more than shallow encouragement, theologically speaking. But I haven’t found it necessarily to make me “feel good about being a woman” (though I’ve never been particularly concerned about that), because it doesn’t address the kind of woman I am.

    I am also not convinced that women are more geared toward emotional dealings than men. Perhaps they approach these things differently, but most everyone, men included, are ultimately motivated by psycho-emotional concerns.

    I think many go to conferences and womens’ Bible studies because they think they’re supposed to, and they support the programs and people they think they’re supposed to. They may want good spiritual food, but don’t know a better way to find it. Perhaps they are fooled by seemingly solid teaching that really is not. Perhaps they “go along” for fear of appearing masculine, or divisive, or maybe they are comfortable in traditional roles. Perhaps they prefer superficial companionship to being the “odd-woman out.” There are few in the public eye modeling a different way, unfortunately, either in secular- or church culture. Many probably see the alternative as militant feminism, which of course isn’t the only alternative.

    Regarding emotional comfort, many women are extremely hurt and want validation of their pain and wrongs; they want guilt properly placed, and want to learn how to properly handle it all. I think men want this too, but are less willing to admit it, at least in the same ways, because they get the cultural message that they are supposed to be “tough” and in control.

    Perhaps women are more vulnerable to certain kinds of theological distortions, in sex-specific ways, but I don’t see evidence that they are more generally susceptible. Glorified greed and self-focused teaching appeals to both sexes. I suspect that men want “feel-good” theology as much as women. And while they may, in general, like to argue theological topics more, that doesn’t mean their theology is much better, nor does it mean that women wouldn’t like to argue more if they felt better informed, or understood that theology needn’t mean dry, cumbersome, esoteric scholarship that only boring old men come up with, or care about.

    Women, as men, ought study theology not merely as a defense, but as a means of educating themselves to live responsibly before God, serving Christ as their Savior and high priest, with no one else mediating. Both men and women who don’t pro-actively study theology for their own sake and the sake of their relationships are susceptible to fickle temporal tides of doctrine, as well as emotional weakness.

  44. Your whole point, while I agree with it, is unnecessary. Theologically, Galatians 3:28 pretty much negates any reason for making an argument to get women on board. Everyone is supposed to be knowledgeable about what the Word says.

  45. Mike, not sure why you say its unnecessary citing Gal 3:28. We all have equal access to the promises, but that does not translate to how we practice that in reality.

  46. Lisa,

    I concur with your differentiation between seminary studies vs programs at congrational level.

    I know our Church is a major exception around since we are (in the words of our staff) already quite cerebral in our setup

    It’s even been called the “geek Church” amongst DTS students ;-)

    That being said, it’s tough to get solid theology programs off the ground in general. Not only for women.

    We’d rather have our Sunday school classes or Bible studies focus on the next edition of The Shack or The Purpose Driven life. On occasion we’ll throw in things like 12 Ordinary men or 12 Extra-Ordinary Women. For women, if we really want to stretch it we’ll go for something by Beth Moore (which btw has excellent stuff.. this is not a criticism on her work or ministry.. don’t go there). For men, it’ll be something by John Eldredge (Same comment).

    So yes, I concur that it is true that teaching more profound theological concepts, principles or history is a challenge. However, I think it’s challenge for both genders and not limited to women.

    Hope this clarifies

  47. My interest of study was not theology, but Biblical history, culture, languages, etc. What I have observed is a tendency in certain fields of study to get very bound up by arguments and discussions about words, subtleties, etc… and to completely lose the forest for the trees, so to speak. This happens more easily in some fields than in others… ‘Theology’ has always struck me as a field of study where this would be a continual challenge. It is human nature, I think, that we strive to become very skilled at presenting arguments.. figuring everything out… finding all the right words… but then we don’t always actually DO anything with it. We can start to resemble what I like to refer to as an ‘intellectual tractor pull’. Our brains are very strong, but it is not serving any real purpose, and it is easy to grow very imbalanced.

    I am passionate about wanting to think rightly about God, and I believe that thinking rightly about God is foundational to our entire faith. I have also found that intensive study of the Bible in an academic way made me personally feel very far removed from God emotionally… when the Bible became my ‘textbook’, I simply could not read my Bible ‘devotionally’ anymore. I could not go to it for strength, encouragment, wisdom… my eyes just read everything through a different filter. That was obviously a huge loss for me for a season… and I think it is very, VERY hard for alot of women (who tend to value the emotional relationship with God) to push through that to the place where knowledge no longer frightens us, feels like a loss, or consumes our passion for God. I think we as women are perhaps more happily attached to a sentimental relationship with the Divine; if there is something that is going to make me feel on an emotional level like God can’t wrap His arms around me in the middle of the night, it is going to be very difficult to convince me that I should want that…

    I’m wondering if you have had a similar experience, or have thoughts on that?

  48. Tamara, I hear you. Unfortunately, you describe a dichotomy that need not exist. Knowledge should foster emotion not repel it. The goal of serious studying is our understanding of God that should prompt a heart response that recognizes gain, not loss. But it is a barrier for some.

  49. I did not state it as a dichotomy… simply something which must be pushed through.


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    […] only woman who feels this way. I appreciated this post over on the Parchment and Pen blog entitled “Why I think women need to study theology.”  Thanks to the author Lisa Robinson for sharing her thoughts. I appreciate her point that […]

  3. Let’s turn the tide for women’s ministry! | Enough Light - May 23, 2012

    […] need more than this as well. In my post, I reference an article written by Lisa Robinson entitled “Why I think women need to study theology.”  She also shares her frustrations with women’s ministry, and I appreciate her emphasis that […]

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