As a brand new seminary student, I’m quickly realizing I am in over my head. The Word of God is so complex and full of rich languages, contextual passages and histories that would keep us studying for the rest of our lives. Praise God I come home on Monday nights and feel inundated with information, acutely aware of just how little I know (and just how little I am).
Seminary is one big gulp of humility.
Feeling big? Go to seminary.
And to allow you insight into my mind, I have grown a bit apprehensive about the following: typing these words about God on a piece of paper to you, because what do I know?
I can’t break down the Hebrew and Greek language with you. To date, I have not led us in a discourse of first century Rome and how that makes the “parts of the whole and the whole of the parts.” I am not about to give a teaching on the word “righteousness” because my little naive soul had no idea that scholars are debating that word even as I type these ineloquent words on my living room couch.
I just am the girl that wants to lift her hands midsong and keep her feet fettered to the cross when we sing, “Jesus Is Better.” Give me a table, coffee and a dear friend by my side and we will pray and open the Word together. And if you would allow me to expand on my dreams, they would surely include the dynamic explosion of the church and the people’s passion to increase for Jesus.
I am not shy about any of that.
My appetite for the Word is immense, with longings of my heart to know more, grow more and understand more (unlike my appetite for food which is also immense, but I would prefer not to grow anymore. Can I get an amen?)
Sigh. What is a girl like me to do in seminary?
I believe I am there for women like me. Like you. So we can chew on this together. So let’s start now. Occasionally, I will give you an update on what I’m learning and we can chat about it here.
Let’s begin, welcome to the musings of a brand new seminary student.
The three things I have learned so far (after copious notes, night-time conversations with my husband and some time of reflection):
The Bible is the most simple, yet most complex book ever written
My seminary professor picks up his Greek Bible each class and reads directly from it. He tells me to cross out words in my Bible because they have been translated incorrectly (in his opinion). He walks around proclaiming, “We must start understanding the original languages because if we don’t understand the languages we miss the whole book. It has to fit like a glove.”
(Insert big eyes right here).
He is practically shaking me (in my mind) about understanding the scriptures from first century ancient world rather than trying to automatically insert them in my 21st century world.
So tip number one: let’s start reading scripture while trying to understand whom the book is written to, why it is written and what was happening during that time. We can do this by asking these questions:
- What is this teaching me about God?
- What was it teaching its original recipients?
- Taking note from your first two questions, what can you take from this text?
Kapeesh? I think this will pair nicely with our lives and who doesn’t like a good challenge? (Wink.)
The main purpose of the book of Romans is that there is no distinction between the believing Jew and the believing Gentile. That’s all I’ve got for right now. But what a timely message. Did Paul fight for unity?
I am finding Paul to be nice company.
My professor is still learning
I think this is where I am most in awe. My professor has been immersed in the languages, an astute learner of the Bible, and he told me he just learned something new the other day.
This Bible is living, because God is living.
Our God is great big and we will come to a point in our humanness that we might never be able to describe Him. Although many are trying to do so on Facebook and we must realize this is a terrible ploy by Satan. Seriously, get behind thee!
Friends, if the Word doesn’t astound you, draw you in, make you want more and saturate your soul, then pray and ask yourself why. Give yourself some journaling time as to why time in the Word feels so difficult. Be honest with yourself.
Honesty is the best policy, after all.
And because I believe in other humans, why don’t you ask another friend to join you in this journey? Please don’t ask her to hold you accountable. This is not a Weight Watchers class. Because if you do, you will run the other way and go and eat Oreos and then the day before weighing in, go to the gym and run for four hours. NOT THE POINT. Instead, ask a friend to meet you for coffee once a week and open the Word together. Get satisfied together. Learn together.
That’s all I have for now because I need to go figure out how in the world imputed righteousness, Abraham and Romans all fit together. I know it fits like a glove, but right now my thumb is in the pinky hole, and my hand feels twisted upside down, but we will arrive. I simply know it.