Right Use of Seminary Education

I agree completely with a recent post by Jim Hamilton on the right use of a seminary education. I will continue to emphasize that the student who desires to be a pastor must be able to access the Bible and in order to do that he must learn the languages, and a seminary is the primary place to learn Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek.

Some students love history and theology courses and spend all of their elective hours on these subjects. I understand that desire, and it is a good one, but students must realize that they will be feeding their flock from the Bible primarily, and therefore, they should devote numerous hours in seminary to the learning of the languages. The church needs competent pastors who teach from the Scriptures, not pastors who are good at reading secondary literature and who can report on it (note: this is an important skill too).

I will pass on some advice regarding course distribution, which I followed as a seminarian. Begin with the languages and continue with the languages (regular exegesis courses after beginning language courses). Take history classes alongside these ones. Add biblical theology courses near the middle to the end. View systematic theology classes as summative courses and take them near the end of your time in seminary. Make sure to sprinkle the general required courses all throughout, so that you are not stuck taking allot of those courses in one semester (I speak from experience on this one).

2 thoughts on “Right Use of Seminary Education

  1. I think y’all are largely correct. In my opinion, seminary education can change if two things happen. The first is that a set order of curriculum is enforced. Obviously, when there are a bazillion different MDiv tracks with a bazillion different electives, this can’t happen. The other is that the churches must be teaching what’s contained in the practical classes, i.e., evangelism, counseling, preaching, etc. There are just too many practical classes in the MDiv. The SBC could develop a program where local churches offer credit for practical classes before the student arrives on campus. This frees the students up to focus more on languages and (systematic & historical) theology. Essentially, better educated pastors will produce better seminary students. I think Bethlehem Baptist has shown this to be the case, for example.

    Exegesis & biblical theology is interpretation, so those classes need to come first. Historical theology can be understood as the history of interpretation. This comes second. Systematic is current interpretation, drawing from the text and tradition. It comes last. Some progression and overlapping of those three categories would be best and could cover the three years of seminary education.

    Blessings to you, brother, in your new teaching post! You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Pingback: If I were a Seminary President … « Standing on Shoulders

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