This article explores the important but sometimes ambiguous idea of formation by engaging with educational theory, particularly the work of John Dewey, Paulo Freire, and Paul Tillich, in order to discover what theological educators means when they refer to formation. This article is a hermeneutical examination of the language used about theological education. In particular, it explores the language of formation â€“ an increasingly popular term used to describe theological education, often with an emphasis on worship and discipleship. The author approaches formation from the perspective of educational theory, drawing on the works of Paulo Freire, John Dewey, and Paul Tillich. Their ideas are useful, not because they are free of ideological deficits, but because they helpfully complicate conversation about theological education. Language is always spoken from somewhere, therefore, in order to ground his argument the author refers to the way teaching and study are described by the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA). The author concludes that the language of formation 'is' and 'is not' an adequate way of conceptualising theological education. While socialisation and initiation are one aspect of divine pedagogy, they do not exhaust its full meaning. Without the notion of formation, theological education loses its normative function; however, with only the language of formation, theological education risks losing a vibrant sense of human agency and experience vital to both education and spiritual growth.