My point for this post is a simple one. Theology shouldn't be separated from spirituality and discipleship. That is, from our experience of God and practical obedience to his will and ways revealed in Christ. And just as Christ is the one who is the full revelation of God, he is also the one in whom we find our reconciliation to God (2 Cor.5:19) - he is the source both of spiritual revelation and intimate relationship. So it is from a place of participation in Christ and relationship with him, that we come to understand the truth. It is only by being his followers, his disciples, that we can really get it!. That is why he says:
Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. (John 7:17)and:
Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32)Ultimately of course, Christ is the truth (John 14:6). This does not absolve us from the often hard work of Christian theology - thinking about God in conversation with Scripture and others - but it surely does mean that true insight is more likely to come to the thoughtful and devoted follower, than to the detached and indifferent egg-head.
In relation to Scripture, this is beautifully shown by the fantastic passage from Luke 24 where Jesus comes alongside two of his now dejected disciples. He wonderfully restores them as he walks with them, and opens up the Scriptures (which are all about him) to them, and opens up their hearts to the truth. In fact, it's such a great passage, I think I will do a third part on this subject looking more closely at it. But I will learn from my mistake, and not promise when.
Let's finish this post with a clear, simple claim: you cannot truly understand Scripture without following Christ.