posted on September 27, 2010 16:53
The following is a blog post from Jonathan Altman's personal blog. Jonathan is a 3rd year Master of Divinity student.
In the past two years of divinity school I have been challenged immensely. I have been pulled and pushed; I have cried and cheered. While I entered with a “foundation” of biblical knowledge (I soon learned how much I did not know/do not know), I feel that I have come full circle in myriad ways. Specifically, however, I'd like to share about my growth in biblical knowledge.
I would be lying if I said that I was not challenged by Old Testament I during my first semester. Due to the nature of Old Testament scholarship, there is much that students must encounter (i.e. the Documentary Hypothesis). This could have been a bad experience for me, a “dark knight of the soul,” if you wish, but I had a wonderfully understanding professor who acknowledged my conservative, evangelical background and challenged me not to hold anything back in understanding God and the Scriptures.
My second year I took two New Testament courses, as well as two semesters of Koine Greek. This was also a very affirming experience in which I began to peel away the layers that stood between me and the biblical text; suddenly I was able to translate New Testament passages on my own, and I stood in awe of God's inspiration of biblical writers and the Scriptures.
This year I am continuing my Greek studies in an exposition course on the Gospel of John in which I translate approximately 21 verses a week. I am also a Hebrew student, and I am looking forward to continuing my studies in the language.
I write all this to confront those who consider theological education in general and seminary in particular to be unnecessary and/or opponents of the faith. This is not true, and especially not so in my case. Because of godly professors pushing me to love God with my mind as much as my heart, I have grown to love God even more. I am totally in love with God, and I love his word. In fact, I think I love God and the scriptures even more because of divinity school. I do not equate the two, but I think I now fully realize, after two years, how wonderful a gift the Bible is. It is the means through which God reveals himself; it is God's written word continually pointing through the ages to the living Word, God's ultimate self-revelation. It was written by humans inspired by God's Spirit, and it is soaked in the “very breath of God,” as my former New Testament and Greek professor (and now current Dean), Dr. Andy Wakefield states.
Studying the Bible has been an enormous challenge, but I have reaped a wondrous bounty. I hope you will do the same if you have the opportunity.