Bible Question:

What do the terms “theology” and “ministry” mean?

Bible Answer:

Both of these words are common words among Christians. Unfortunately, Christians have their own “lingo”.


The word “theology” comes from two Greek words, THEOS, which means “god” and LOGOS, which means “word,” “discourse” or “study.” When we add them together we have the “study of God.”

Among Christians this means more than reading your Bible, studying the Bible, or listening to a sermon. If someone says they are studying theology, that usually means they are studying a book that looks at what the entire Bible teaches about God. There are books dedicated exclusively to this.


When Christians use the word “ministry,” they are referring to actions or duties a person performs for others on behalf of God. These actions can include teaching, preaching, serving others, and doing manual labor. 2 Timothy 4:2-5 is a wonderful illustration of a pastor’s responsibilities,

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (NASB) 2 Timothy 4:2-5

A second example of ministry is found in James 1:27,

This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (NASB) James 1:27


Theology refers to the study of God and ministry refers to one’s service for God.