All too often, we hear the same complaints: “This is too complicated,” “I don’t get half this technical jargon,” or “It reads more like something for scholars than for me.” These far too common reactions point to a vital problem within the field of theology.

True, the study of theology is naturally profound and complex. Should that make our communication difficult to understand?

We need to rethink how we communicate our faith articulation so that our work can reach and impact more people, regardless of their theological ease or familiarity.

1. Use Clear and Simple Language

Avoid jargon by using plain language. Agreed, theological language strives to be precise and accurate but they often make it hard for people to understand. One should use simple language to make complicated ideas more accessible to people. Simplifying vocabulary does not mean diluting ideas; on the contrary, it allows them to reach a larger audience. 

2. Explain the Concept Step by Step

Breaking down highly complex information into manageable bits can be highly effective. Usually, complex ideas are difficult for readers to follow. If we could break down such ideas into more digestible chunks, we could build a train of understanding, one idea at a time. Present individual pieces before showing how they fit together so that readers do not get lost in the complexity. 

3. Incorporate Stories and Case Studies

Humans are wired to connect with stories; they touch our innermost feelings and help us understand issues deeply. Use compelling stories to illustrate and humanize abstract theological concepts. Abstract theological ideas can be made clear when embedded in a narrative or case study. Life is portrayed through stories, providing theory, context, and meaning that pure abstraction often lacks. 

4. Summarise Key Points

A summary is another way to restate key ideas in everyday language, ensuring readers walk away with a solid understanding of critical concepts. Adding summary points at the end of each chapter or section can reinforce understanding and aid memory by recapping what has been covered. 

5. Engage with Questions

Engaging with readers’ questions helps to address their confusion and enhances understanding. Addressing common questions and points of confusion can be very helpful. Including a section with frequently asked questions (FAQs) or directly engaging with readers is a simple way to clarify misunderstandings and provide more insights. 

6. Interactive Elements

Use active features to get students personally involved in their learning, introspecting, and thinking through theological dimensions. Questions, prompts for reflection and discussion, or ways to engage with peers online will make it possible to delve deeper into the course text. These tools encourage active learning and allow readers to examine theological aspects personally and meaningfully. 

7. Relate to Contemporary Issues

Relating concepts to contemporary issues helps to enhance their relevance and understanding. This way, theological ideas will become relevant and understandable by linking abstract concepts to the real world. This also helps readers to understand how ideas have practical, real relevance to the world they live in


As theologians, it is our immense privilege and our great responsibility to delve into some of the most significant and profound questions of human existence. But what good are our insights if we cannot share them? 

There are several ways to achieve this: using analogies, stories, plain language, visual aids, and interactivity to make our work more engaging and understandable.The doors of theology could then be opened to everyone, inviting them to walk in and explore the landscapes of faith and divine depth with us.

After all, it should be a shared journey in the search for truth and understanding. This approach can transform theological writing into something shared and open.

Questions for Further Reflection

  • How can we divide complex ideas for easier comprehension?
  • How can we simplify language without losing the depth of theological insights?
  • How could one apply theological ideas to present-day matters in a manner relevant today?
Samuel Thambusamy is a PhD candidate with the Oxford Center for Religion and Public Life.