- Christian theology concerns itself with speech about God, with the speech of God, and with the variety of experiences that are said to derive from Him.
- We’ve argued that theological study can be personally beneficial, pastorally helpful, vital for the Church as well as publicly confrontational. We’ve also argued that it is intellectually necessary and can be worshipful in nature.
- We’ve looked at the sources of Christian theology – revelation, experience, tradition and reason.
- We’ve explored the types of Christian theology – its disciplines (e.g. systematic, biblical, contextual theology, etc) and traditions (e.g. Roman Catholic, Reformed, Lutheran theology, etc).
In this final section, I want to say a few words to those of you interested in studying theology. Seeing as it may be a little daunting for beginners, there are a few fallible bits of advice I’d like to give you before you get going, if you'd let me.
Second, serve a Church. Get involved in a local Christian community. Not only is there abundant scriptural warrant for this, but (as we’ve argued) theology should also be ecclesial in nature. You should aim to serve the Church with your study. More than this, your commitment to a body of believers will benefit you greatly as you proceed on your journey to learn theology. Not only will your time in the body be a source of reflection and provocation, but it should also afford accountability and wise direction. To submit in this way to a local Church (and its leadership) will prove vital for the intellectual submission that God requires from every theologian.
Third, be 'steadfast' in Scriptural study and prayer. This is something you won’t necessarily get right before you start, but you should begin to make an effort now. The Scriptures ask that we “devote ourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving” (Col 4:2), and that we continue in our knowledge of the “sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 3:15). I really can’t overstate this: Christian theologians are not only mandated to be familiar with prayer and study, but they become better theologians by that same familiarity. Seeing as Scripture is a vital resource of theological reflection in every tradition, a greater awareness of its content makes one a more capable theologian. Moreover, seeing as God is central to the theological task in every sense, then greater intimacy with Him makes one not only a capable theologian but one worth listening to. You may know the difference between enhypostatic and anhypostatic Christology, but if you don’t know Jesus, your words are always going to ring hollow.
Fourth, pick up some introductory texts. We’ve listed some already in this series: McGrath’s Christian Theology Reader and Christian Theology: An Introduction might be useful. So is Migilore’s Faith Seeking Understanding. The Cambridge Companion series can function at introductory as well as advanced levels of study, so you may wish to acquire the volume dedicated to Christian Doctrine (edited by Colin Gunton).
Fifth, don’t be afraid of primary texts. Get stuck into the classics.  If you’re interested in Calvin, read him. If you find your interest piqued by Augustine, Irenaeus and Athanasius, read them. If you want to know more about Anselm or Barth, read them. You may not understand everything you read but that’s ok; you’ll still get a basic sense of what they’re saying. Use a notebook to jot down the gaps in your knowledge and pursue those avenues at a later date.
Sixth, if possible, find a friend or two who shares your interest in theology. This isn’t strictly vital but it certainly is useful. After all, “iron sharpens iron” (Prov 27:17). This kind of friendship will provide you with camaraderie and support when you find what you’re studying objectionable, confusing or difficult. Personally, I have two friends with whom I share a deep and satisfying theological relationship. We help one another understand key issues, challenge one another in our piety, and spur one another on towards mission. Such friendship is to be highly commended in one’s theological life. 
Seventh, if desirable, find an academic context in which to study theology. You might have assumed I’d list this first, but it should be observed that theology is not – primarily – an academic matter. You do not need to be an academic theologian to be a good theologian. Indeed, many of the greatest theologians of history were pastors first, and then scholars. If, however, you desire your theological study to be tempered by academic discipline, then finding somewhere appropriate will be a priority. Depending on what you want to do with your training, you may want to go abroad or attend a seminary. In the UK, at least, academic theology is mostly defined by the university. A handful of domestic institutions stand out: Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, St. Andrews, Aberdeen, Nottingham, Chester, Leicester, etc. Similarly, there are several international universities that would be worth considering: Tübingen, Yale, Harvard, Notre Dame, etc.
Above all else, hold tight to some essential Scriptural truths.
Remember: God is praised because He's revealed Himself not to the "wise and to the intelligent", but to "little children". [Matt 11:25]
Remember: God is in the habit of frustrating the scholar. [1 Cor 1:20]
Remember: God asks you to sing with your mind as well as your spirit. [1 Cor 14:15]
Remember: It's necessary to regard all reputation and esteem and comfort as excrement, compared to the all surpassing worth of knowing Jesus. [Phil 3:4-10]
Make this the elementary feature of your theological life –
“He must increase, and I must decrease” [John 3:30]
Of course, that is a theological statement in itself. And it is, without doubt, the best.
For Part  - Intro - see here.
For Part  - "Why?" - see here.
For Part  - "Sources" - see here.
For Part  - "Types" - see here.
For the PostScript, see here.
For a downloadable PDF of the entire Theology 101 series, scroll down to the bottom of this page.
 C.S. Lewis wrote an essay called On the Reading of Old Books; find it online, and read it. He makes a good case that we are too dependent on books about books, that we should persevere instead with that which is primary as opposed to secondary.
 Indeed, it’s no coincidence that intimate theological friendship was enjoyed by many of the great theologians of history. One is reminded of Tolkien and Lewis’ friendship, along with that of the rest of the ‘Inklings’. One may recall Barth and Thurneysen’s relationship, or that of Calvin and Farel.