Description
Theology 101 Bible Study Guide for the Christian Church:
 
What is theology?  Theology is language "about" God.  Theology is taking God seriously.  God is the lifeblood of theology.  "Theos" refers to God and "logos" refers to communication through language.  A theologian is required to speak words about God.  As we speak words about God we come to better understand who God is, how God relates to human beings and to creation.  As we speak words about God we come to better understand how we are related to God.  Not only is theology, language "about" God, but also, theology is an interaction with the divine, a communication with God.  God is not an "it," or something to be found as you search deep inside your own self.  God is not something within the human creature, but God is a living, moving, thinking, feeling being, separate from and beyond the finite being we call human.
 
"Thinking of Him" is designed for small groups or individuals desiring to deepen their understanding about God.  Review questions at the end of each chapter are included as a guide for leaders and facilitators.




Praise and Reviews

"Thinking of Him" - Review 

by Dr. Chet Weld


I’ve been “thinking of Him” for the past few weeks while reading Reverend Paula Behrens’ book of the same name.  Behrens’ book is short and can be read quickly, but as with the classic, The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Andrew, there is more benefit in reading slowly, contemplating each page, than there is in reading the book as if it were a novel.


Thinking of Him is written primarily for these three noble reasons: To help us have a “higher understanding of God,” to help us know how God relates to us and to creation, and to guide us into a tangible and close relationship with our Creator who is a continual source of hope.   As Behrens explains that only God can reveal Himself to man and that these revelations will not contradict scripture, these intentions begin to be fulfilled. As the scriptures teach, says the author, our “good works” will not bring us these revelations or accomplish these longings of the human heart. 


Anyone who reads or shares this book with others can be confident that there is a sound scriptural base for every inspiring word.   At a time when such diverse and false understandings of God permeate our culture, this book contributes to the stability of a true faith that can change lives.


In simple language, Behrens explains one important doctrine at a time, follows the explanation with questions, and then provides a page for writing down “Journal Notes.”   As I reflect on each question, I’m aware of God’s presence and the importance of internalizing the truths of scripture.  I quickly forget that I’m reading a book on theology! 


Beginning with the doctrine of the trinity (that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are of the same “substance” and equally God, but have different functions), Behrens offers Old and New Testament scriptures that support the reality of the trinity.  As the author launches into this doctrine, she states, “Knowing God goes much deeper than describing who God is and how He relates to us; knowing God is a lived experience; it is a personal encounter with the divine.” 


Because the author speaks both from her knowledge of the scripture and from her personal relationship with God, the reader is invited into more than just a deeper “head knowledge” of God.  The reader/seeker is drawn into more intimate fellowship with the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.  This is the author’s intention, and for all hungry souls with open hearts, I believe that her goal is achieved with ease.


The seven doctrines that Behrens’ explores are the following: The doctrine of God, Creation, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Church, Salvation, and Eschatology (e.g., end times and everlasting life considerations).  Included in the discussion are the two sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist (or Holy Communion), which help to equip believers to fulfill the mission of the church.  Again, each doctrine is briefly and simply explained, enabling even new believers to firmly grasp eternal truths about our faith and lives.


As with the lofty spire on a cathedral, Behrens’ final chapter points us toward the ultimate hope of all believers: Our temporary experience of the kingdom of God from within and in our midst becomes our permanent, unshakeable inheritance; and the New Heaven and the New Earth will become the eternal reality for all who choose life over death, heaven over hell, Christ over false gods and other oppressive taskmasters.


Thinking of Him is an excellent book for use in small groups.  Groups could meet for seven or more weeks for fellowship, discussion, and further teaching by a leader.  I think that group discussion of this book could easily stretch to 20 or more weeks. 


Thinking of Him seems especially useful for new believers who may have never heard of any of the doctrines.  No longer will they need to see where the bible flops open in order to “know” what God might be “saying” to them! 


Mature believers can also benefit from reflection and discussion of the doctrines, as well as from Behrens’ insights, e.g., “The nature of the church is to re-present Christ to the world.”  Well put!  Here’s another example: Communion “is a foreshadowing of the feast to come, God’s own ‘heavenly banquet.’”  I’m still reflecting on the heavenly banquet, and partaking of the Eucharist will never be the same for me!  Here’s one more example from the final chapter that summarizes a number of scriptures: “The kingdom of God is an inward holiness and cannot be merited by outward works.”  Meditation upon Thinking of Him will certainly help the reader to cultivate the inward holiness that God longs to impart to His children.


I have John Wesley’s journal on my nightstand, which I read from occasionally.  Behrens is an ordained Methodist minister, but the purity of the doctrines and of Behrens’ explanations transcend denominational differences.  And from what I’ve been able to learn about Wesley, I think that he would be pleased with Thinking of Him!


How many short devotionals have you read that have focus?  I’ve read many devotionals, but none with a specific focus on the most important doctrines of the church.  I don’t know about you, but my highest goal and value in life is to know God more intimately, as I walk with Him daily.  Because Thinking of Him helps to accomplish these goals, I highly recommend this book, and I expect that joy and personal growth will likely come from taking a journey with Reverend Paula Behrens.


Dr. Chet Weld is the Director of Pastoral Counseling and the Pastoral Care Dept. of Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona.  

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"Thinking of Him" - Recomendation

by Dr. Louis Markos

In her brief, but concisely written and organized book, Thinking of Him, Paula Behrens has done the faith community a great service.  In direct, layman terms, free of academic jargon, she has provided both a theological primer and a catechism of what C. S. Lewis has called “mere” Christianity.  Though Behrens writes from a Methodist perspective, her book affirms all the key doctrines of the Nicene Creed (Trinity, Incarnation, Atonement, Resurrection) and, as such, should be accepted by all orthodox believers.  Some may wish to add to her primer, but there is nothing that can or should be taken away.  She is to be commended in particular for her clear treatment of the three persons of the Trinity, her affirmation of the Church and sacraments, and her discussion of justification, sanctification, and prevenient grace—which affirms fully the sovereignty and prerogative of God while not robbing man of true freedom of choice.  Both orthodox and accessible, Thinking of Him will help Christians to know what they believe.

 

Louis Markos, Professor in English and Scholar-in-Residence, Houston Baptist University; author of Apologetics for the 21st Century



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Rev Paula J Behrens
Reverend Paula J Behrens is a Christian Author and pastor. She is a full membership Elder in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Ordained in 2007.   She g More...