preacherI recently heard someone say that theology is, at its core, an exposition of the revealed truths found in the Bible.

I think this definitely has a place in “doing” theology, but there is more. Consider a few thoughts on doing theology as both expositional and  incarnational.


Exposition enables us to explain, communicate, articulate, and disseminate the things that we believe in contextual, practical, historical, and applicable ways.  It enables us to say “This is what we believe about this or that.”

So, when you read a creed or doctrinal statement, or when you hear a preacher explain a text, you’re getting a taste of expositional theology.  Theology is being “done” by talking, explaining, and thinking about theological ideas.

Exposition enables us to proclaim, to defend, to correct, to exhort, and even to rebuke.


But articulation (even if it is flawlessly “correct” articulation and exposition) of theological ideas is not enough.  Biblical faith is fundamentally faithfulness to the truth in practical and transformational ways.

Beliefs that are neatly communicated without practical expression are simply not going to effect change in the world. I would argue that theology is fundamentally an incarnation of the truth, and not just an exposition of it. There is a lot of Christology packed into this conclusion.  (Stop and read John 1:14, 18;  James 1:22).

Here’s what I mean by “incarnational” theology. When God wanted to say what he had wanted to say all along, Jesus came as the word of God, living in this world, in flesh and blood. Jesus embodied, and lived, and IS the truth.  The truth is therefore personal (and by that, I mean the truth is A PERSON), and not merely expositional (Heb. 1:1-3).

Telling the truth (exposition) and living the truth (incarnation) must work together.

What do you think about this balance? What happens when we get lop-sided, opting for one aspect over and against the other, rather than embracing both?