I always find it interesting to watch Christian engage in the study of God (theology) without using theological tools. That's right, the school of theology requires tools just as every other school of thought and area of study has its methodology and tools.
When we start learning scientific things, be it physics or biology, we learn the tools of the study of science. The scientific method, observation, control groups, and the difference between a hypothesis, theory, and law. We would be silly to try to use the methods of science without learning how to use those methods.
However, the methods and tools of one school of thought are typically not the best tools the other schools of thought. The tools of science are not the best tools in the school of language arts. Law and medicine are not the same and use different methodology by which they examine the world. The school of philosophy uses different tools too. And the same is true of theology (the study of God).
As a person starts to do more digging into the Bible and theological thinking, it's helpful to start with some of the most basic tools of theology. If not, the results might end up in poor, ill-informed places. Also, don’t be fooled into thinking theology doesn’t have its tools. It does. Lots of them. And theological thinking has many subsets and related tools. It also has tones and standards for communication and practice.
An introduction to the art and science of theology and theological thinking tends to start with a presentation of the basic tools. Levels of theology (folk to academic), exegetical methods, hermeneutics, apologetics, historical approaches, the biblical approach, a systematic approach, understanding tension, and on and on.
The Circles of Importance and the Level of Certainty are two entry-level theological tools. Understanding these tools could save lots of hurt feelings, arguing in extremes, and maybe even keeping your church from splitting. When we do theology in community (which is another tool), we need to know how to communicate with one another well. These two devices serve to assist with our communication as well as our thinking on doctrines, concepts, ideas, and opinions.
I made this videos for this website a few years ago. The material hasn't changed, just the color and style of my beard. I hope you find them helpful.