For some, the very word “seminary” is frightening. They envision struggling with languages such as Greek and Hebrew. They suppose seminary is only for perfect geniuses whose conversations contain strange words such as “dyophysitism” or “tropological.” Let me demythologize the term and take the scary out of seminary.
The word “seminary” comes from the Greek word meaning “seed.” Seminary should be a place where people grow and mature like a seed grows into a mature plant. Seminary, if you will, is a seedbed for germinating faith. For those who are thinking about seminary . . .
1. You don’t have to be perfect.Like with salvation, if you are waiting until you get your act together, seminary will always be a distant goal. Each of us come to seminary as sinners. Grace is our uniting bond. Through the seminary experience, you discover where God has been at work in your life in the past, unite with God in the present, and gain a vision of God’s calling for your future.
2. Your ultimate goal is not knowledge, but relationships.The goal of theology is not simply the acquisition of knowledge aboutGod, but to know God intimately. Just as you grow in your relationship with friends and loved ones, God wants you to grow in your relationship with him. Yes, you will grow in your understanding of biblical concepts. Yes, you will develop your ministry leadership skills. However, if you grow in knowledge (head), and practice (hands), but do not grow in your relationship with God (heart), you miss the primary purpose of seminary.
Paul prayed this for his friends, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” (Eph. 1:17, emphasis mine).Each day we pray this for our students, that through their studies they will know God better.
By the way, you can receive an MDiv at Rockbridge without Greek and Hebrew. We help you learn how to use tools for understanding the biblical languages.
3. You don’t have to be an “A” student.Most of our students have been out of formal education for over 20 years. Many did not do well in previous academic studies because they were not motivated to learn. But with maturity and a passion for Christ come a desire to know and learn more about God. Rockbridge students improve their written and oral communication skills. They develop friendships with colleagues from around the world who cheer each other on. They are motivated to create projects they can use immediately in their ministry.
So, if you are feeling a nudge from God and friends to attend seminary, don’t be scared. Seminary might just be the seedbed where your faith can grow.
Please share this with others who are exploring this journey. If you want more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.