Chapter A21, “The Attainment of Theological Aptitude”
As he concludes the Prolegomena, Pieper introduces us to Martin Luther’s discussion of how to become a theologian. Luther’s guidance is well known as the pattern, oratio, meditatio, tentatio. First, we approach the Scripture ready to learn to trust it as God’s word. Therefore, we pray (oratio) that God would strip away our wit and wisdom, replacing it with his grace. we put no trust in our understanding but only in what the Lord has said. Next, we meditate (meditatio) on the Word of God. We read and re-read the words, silently and aloud, reflecting on what the Holy Spirit would say. We stick to the very words of God until we see and know them clearly. Finally, we endure testing (tentatio) which enables us to know the grace and consolation of God’s Word. This testing may come from our own doubts, our sinful attitudes, challenges from others, or even spiritual attack. As we are emptied of our own ability, consider God’s Word, and test it, we see again that it is the Holy Spirit who is able to work all things in life. This separates the true theologian from the one who is a theologian in name only.