I would definitely recommend Kelly Kapic's Little Book for New Theologians. I would even recommend it for not-so-new theologians. I appreciated so many things about this one!
The book is divided into two sections: "Why Study Theology?" and "Characteristics of Faithful Theology and Theologians."
The first section is the shortest at just three chapters, but, perhaps the most important: "Entering the Conversation," "To Know and Enjoy God," and "Theology as Pilgrimage." The second section is much longer. It covers these topics: "The Inseparability of Life and Theology," "Faithful Reason," "Prayer and Study," "Humility and Repentance," "Suffering, Justice, and Knowing God," "Tradition and Community," and "Love of Scripture."
I found the book to be practical and relevant. I found the book to be rich and insightful.
Theology is not reserved for those in the academy; it is an aspect of thought and conversation for all who live and breathe, who wrestle and fear, who hope and pray.
Our concepts about the divine inform our lives more deeply than most people can trace. Whether we view God as distant or near, as gracious or capricious, as concerned or apathetic, the conclusions we reach—whether the result of careful reflection or negligent assumptions—guide our lives.
Do we want to worship Yahweh or waste time and effort on a deity we have constructed in our own image?
Theological reflection is a way of examining our praise, prayers, words and worship with the goal of making sure they conform to God alone. Every age has its own idols, its own distortions that twist and pervert how we view God, ourselves and the world.
One of the greatest theological challenges of our time is to move our worship beyond self-absorption.
WE ENJOY GOD to the degree that we worship him faithfully. Faithful worship—including praise, prayer, obedience and faith—matters because idolatry, in whatever form, satisfies neither God nor us. Worship does not require that we perfectly understand everything about God but that we respond genuinely to the true God who makes himself known to us.
Theology is all about knowing how to sing the song of redemption: to know when to shout, when to mourn, when to be silent and when to hope. But in order to enjoy the song and sing it well, we must learn the words and the music.
As theologians we do not put God in his place, but we draw near to him who alone gives us our place and reveals it to us, who brings a peace that surpasses all understanding.
How do we avoid not knowing the person we study? There can be no substitute for prayer. Here we speak not merely of times set apart when we fold hands and bow heads, but also of a way of being. We are concerned not only to have a few minutes a day set apart for God but also to have a constant communion him (1 Thess 5:17; cf. Jn 15:1-17). Whether eating, drinking, laughing or working, all that we do is done before the face of God. This is what undergirded the Reformation slogan coram Deo—living before God in all areas of life. This especially applies to our theological studies. Here we are on holy ground, and thus our attitude must be an attitude of prayer. If we are to be faithful, we must always be aware of his presence.
To know God we are called to know his Word.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible