Home > Opinion > Studying theology

Studying theology

Trinity Theological College student Craig Batty. Photo by Mardi Lumsden
I remember my first class studying at Trinity College Theological College in Auchenflower in Brisbane.

I was completing my Period of Discernment as I explored God’s call to the Ministry of Deacon and enrolled in the subject
“Introducing Theology”.

Sitting in the lecture with about 30 other people I was a feeling a little apprehensive, though I had studied civil engineering and information technology years before so I thought I had an idea of what to expect.

During the class, lecturer Rev Dr Geoff Thompson said something that I could barely get my head around.

As I was trying to work out what Geoff meant another student asked a question – an intelligent question.

I hadn’t even processed what he had said, yet someone already had and was asking for more information.

At that moment I felt really out of my depth and I questioned if I was really meant to do this.

I am really glad I stuck with it though.

The conversations in breaks over a tea or coffee with other students and the lecturers were helpful and doing the readings and assignments assisted me to discover and then articulate what I believe.

Studying theology has also moved me towards a deeper faith and love for God and an appreciation of Scripture and the traditions of the Uniting Church.

It was not easy leaving a career to take up studying fulltime.

I really enjoyed working in information technology, and leaving work placed an enormous strain on our family finances.

Yet God did provide and while it was not always easy and there were some difficult times, my wife Tania and I have survived and, with God’s help, will continue to do so.

There have also been many weekends prior to assignments being due that we have put our usual activities on hold as I hit the books and the keyboard attempting to whittle down the word count.

I really appreciate my wife’s understanding and her cups of tea during these stressful times.

Studying has not stopped our enjoyment of life, though it has put a curb on my desire to purchase the next cool tech toy that comes out and instead of eating out at a restaurant we might have pizza down at the Point under the stars.

We might spend holidays at home working in the garden and playing with our dogs instead of jetting off to who knows where, but I hope it is not too long before we can get back to the snow.

Though I have now been at it for several years and my formal studies are drawing to a close, I do not pretend that I have all the answers.

The more I study, the more I want to try to understand more about God, who God is and how God is at work in the world.

In this sense, studying theology is something that I will continue to do and look forward to doing for the rest of my life,
whether through further formal classes at College, through Bible studies with others, or privately at home.

I have found that my best learning has been with other people.

I am challenged more when I study with others.

My learning is also shared learning and hearing other people’s perspectives helps me to broaden my own, challenge my
preconceptions and to see things from a different point of view.

Photo : Trinity Theological College student Craig Batty. Photo by Mardi Lumsden