The purpose of this series is to help students whether they are preparing for, attending, or have graduated from seminary to grow in the God’s grace. To read the rest of the articles in this series click here.
Seminary is an incredible opportunity for growth in knowledge of the Word of God and theology in general. It can also be a place where one’s spiritual life can suffer a slow, steady decline if they are not careful.
I remember when I graduated from high school. I had a friend who had gone to Bible College and come back to the church I was attending at the time. I considered this friend of mine to be a strong Christian. He was well respected in the high school and college ministry at my church. When he came back from Bible College, he stated he had more questions after completing his degree than he had when he started the program. Over time, I began noticing he started coming less and less.
As my friend was working through his questions, I noticed that the tone of his questions went from being reverent to God’s Word to being critical of God’s Word. While this event happened more than a decade ago, this incident has stuck with me. It also instructed me to never lose a passion for God’s Word.
Based on that experience, I implore you to please spend personal time reading your Bible every day. I know that may seem silly of me to say. After all, I know you have a thousand things to read including the Bible as part of a theological degree program. Furthermore, you are in Bible College and seminary to prepare for the ministry. I can make this statement because I know all too well the distractions of seminary on my own spiritual growth. I’ve also seen many go out of seminary with faith a mile wide and an inch deep. Consider this article a wake-up call to fall in love afresh with the God of all grace and His Word.
In seminary, I struggled with reading my Bible at a personal level. Theology can be a dangerous weapon when placed in the hands of those who know the answers but don’t know how theology relates to all of life. Theology is dangerous for those who have zeal but lack a genuine passion for God’s Word.
Consider the Apostle Paul. He knew the Bible. He describes himself in Philippians 3 as a “Hebrew of Hebrews”. Despite all that head knowledge, the Apostle Paul didn’t boast about his degrees. Instead, he preached Christ and Him crucified. This lead to him suffering immensely for the gospel.
Spend Quality Daily Time in the Word of God
Spend quality daily time in the Word of God outside of your academic and ministerial responsibilities. Remember you are not first a seminary student or ministry leader. Rather, you are first a learner (disciple) of Christ. As such, you are to continually grow in the grace and knowledge of God’s Word.
Some days I read one chapter in my Bible and other times much more. Be flexible and not stingy with your personal time in the Word. Find time each day to spend quality time alone in the Word.
Spend Quality Daily Time in Prayer
Growing in passion for God’s Word means spending quality time in prayer. Prayer and regular time in the Word are a means of grace. Men such as Luther, Calvin, and Spurgeon, were known as men who dedicated their lives to the Word and prayer.
Get An Accountability Partner
You need to have an accountability partner. This person should be a seasoned Christian who is older than you. This person can help hold you accountable for your time engaging the spiritual disciplines. They can also pray with you about life, your theological studies, and ministry responsibilities if you have them.
Seminary is a Good Time to Ask Questions
Seminary is an incredible time to ask good questions in submission to the biblical text, to learn about church history, biblical languages, preaching, and ministry. It is also dangerous for the unprepared and the unfocused. God Himself will hold you accountable for the increased knowledge you will gain. As the writer of Ecclesiastes said, with much knowledge or wisdom, comes much sorrow (Ecclesiastes. 1:18).
Dear Seminarian, your studies in seminary will challenge your faith on multiple fronts. You will have questions that you may not ever be able to find answers to. The Lord Himself has told us that this will be the case (Deut 29:29).
Don’t be like my friend who questioned the biblical text and wasn’t heard from again at church. Grow deep and wide in the gospel. Develop a white hot passion for the gospel and God’s people while you are in seminary.
The Local Church Needs You
The local church needs men and women who love the gospel, who love His Word and the church.
You need to grow in passion for God’s Word. You can do this by being in a local Bible-believing church where you can fellowship with God’s people, sit under the Word, and learn from your pastors. Don’t neglect your own walk with the Lord. Don’t sacrifice your spiritual life on the altar of your seminary education. Seminary is a time for you to grow in Christ. Use this time well and not only will your knowledge of the Word increase but so will your love for Jesus, and others.