It’s that time of year again.
On Monday, a wonderful new crop of seminary students here at RTS-Charlotte will begin the grueling month-long experience of Summer Greek. And, like all seminary students before them, they will begin to ask the question of why studying these ancient languages even matters. After all, a few years after graduation all will be forgotten. In the midst of a busy ministry life, who could possibly maintain proficiency in the languages?
As a result of these questions, some students decide (very early on) that the biblical languages are just something to be endured. They are like a hazing ritual at a college fraternity or sorority. No one likes it, but you have to go through it to be in the club. And then it will be over.
Behind this “take your medicine” approach to the biblical languages are a couple of assumptions that need to be challenged. First, the characterization of ministry as somehow incompatible with the languages (due to busyness, or other causes), is an unfortunate misunderstanding of what ministry is all about.
To be sure, there are all kinds of different ministries that involve a variety of different responsibilities. Some will shepherd the flock, others will organize ministry events, others will do one-on-one counseling. But, in the midst of that variety, the core of all ministries is the word of God.
Thus, a significant component of ministry life should be devoted to serious study of the biblical text. This is especially true for those who are called to be an ordained pastor.
Put differently, all those in ministry should continue to be students. They need to be readers, thinkers, and theologians.
One of my biggest disappointments is when I go into a pastor’s office and see [Read more…]