Walking the Theological Life: Discovering Method for Theology in the Lives of Biblical Characters, By Timothy Gaines alt

Walking the Theological Life

Discovering Method for Theology in the Lives of Biblical Characters

by Timothy Gaines

Walking the Theological Life
  • Length: 232 pages
  • Published: June 11, 2024
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: A0744
  • ISBN: 9781514007440

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Explore how to do theology virtuously through the lives of biblical characters.

For many who are not initiated into the discipline, theology can feel either overwhelming or just plain boring, especially when theological discourse is disconnected from the lives we live. But for centuries, theology wasn't a disconnected discipline—but an invitation to respond to God from the deepest parts of who we are.

Theologian Tim Gaines invites readers into the adventure of theology, breathing life into the study of God. More than an intellectual pursuit, Walking the Theological Life explores the lives of key biblical characters pursuing their own theological paths, helping us learn and grow in our own understanding of how to do theology in a virtuous fashion. Enter into the stories of biblical characters and discover the joy of the theological journey.

"Timothy Gaines understands that knowing God means far more than knowing facts about God. In Walking the Theological Life, Gaines introduces students to theology through the lives of biblical figures, each transformed by the living God amid the nitty gritty of their daily lives. With the gift of a good storyteller and the wisdom of a seasoned professor, Gaines casts a vision for the kinds of people we're invited to become in order to know and love God, even if we never join the theological academy. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and can't wait to get it into the hands of my students."

Emily Hunter McGowin, associate professor of theology at Wheaton College and author of Christmas in the Fullness of Time Series

"I wish to extend my sincere appreciation to Timothy Gaines, who authored such an excellent work. Furthermore, I sincerely congratulate the theological and academic circles in the United States for producing a young theologian who demonstrates the essence of theological life with such a comprehensive and balanced perspective. If I had read this book thirty years ago when I began my theological studies, I have no doubt that I would be a better theologian. The book presents a remarkable and persuasive discourse on what it means to live a theological life through profound biblical interpretation and theological understanding, avoiding fossilized theological methodologies."

Hwarang Moon, professor of worship at Korea Theological Seminary

"By examining the stories of people in Scripture who are just as flawed as we are, Timothy Gaines moves us beyond simply memorizing precepts of theology and instead provides compelling evidence that theology may be best understood as we examine who God is in relation to his people. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to move beyond the need for absolute certitude in one's faith, and instead is willing to swim about in the mystery of a God who exceeds anything we can imagine."

James K. Hampton, professor at Asbury Theological Seminary

"This book is an extraordinary invitation to engage (and perhaps wrestle!) with thinking theologically in deeply formative ways. Timothy Gaines proves to be an excellent guide, bringing into conversation important biblical figures, key theologians (such as Augustine, Barth, and Jennings), and his own reflections. This bridge of theological method and virtue formation takes seriously the task of spiritual formation for the reader, demonstrating how thinking theologically through story continues to be transformative, complex, embodied, and dynamic. Engaging and beautifully accessible, this work is a gift for both the academy and the church."

Jennifer Matheny, George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University

"Walking the Theological Life reminds us of the joy of theology done rightly. Drawing on the stories of several (often quite imperfect) biblical characters facing various situations, we hear the message that theology is foundational for each of us, even those of us who are quite imperfect. The theme throughout is formation—the goal of theology is not simply to shape our thoughts but to draw us toward the virtues necessary for the life of faith."

Steve Wilkens, professor of philosophy and ethics at Azusa Pacific University

"More than telling people about theology, volumes of which abound, Gaines invites us into thinking about theology in new, enlivening, and constructive ways. He is inviting people to reconceive the theological task in ways that the Bible itself exemplifies: in real lives, in formative and engaging ways. This is a primer on how the theological work can continue in coming generations and, as so, a book I'm eager to share with undergraduates and seminarians alike who seek to know and reflect God but have felt alienated from the academic contexts."

Patrick Oden, research associate professor of theology at Fuller Theological Seminary

Read an Excerpt


Introduction: Invitation to Theology

1. Jeremiah: On Not Knowing How to Speak
2. Jacob: On Wrestling
3. Sarah: On Laughter
4. Moses: On Morality
5. Miriam: On Courage
6. Isaiah: On Being Undone
7. Mary: On Pondering
8. John the Baptist: On Standing at the Edge
9. The Woman Who Anointed Jesus: On Love
10. Thomas: On Doubting
11. Martha and Mary: On Grieving
12. Nicodemus: On Theology at Night and Leadership in the Dark

General Index
Scripture Index


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Timothy Gaines

Timothy R. Gaines (PhD, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary) is associate professor of religion at Trevecca Nazarene University, where he teaches theology and ethics and directs a graduate program in theology and biblical studies. He has authored and coauthored several books, including Christian Ethics, Following Jesus: Prophet, Priest, King, Kings and Presidents: Politics and the Kingdom of God, and A Seat at the Table: A Generation Reimagining Its Place in the Church. He also serves as a pastor at Trevecca Community Church and has co-hosted the Sermon Studio podcast. He lives in Nashville with his wife and children, where he enjoys running, aviation, and photography.