Dear Seminary Student,
Seminary can handicap your walk with Jesus. The Bible can become an academic textbook that is only useful for teaching. The Church fathers can become equated to Catholic Saints. People made in the image of God can become ministry projects. I know you struggle with personal devotions, finding community, and loneliness. You have told me how seminary has been a spiritually dry season for you. Seminary has provoked you to sin. I know you feel discouraged. I feel it too. Here are four verse I think we need to heed.
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Psalm 119:103)
The word of God is sweet. Exegetical papers are futile if you miss the sweetness of God’s word. Fight the idea that the Bible is only a textbook. You have stated that seminary made you hesitant to do quiet times because you read the word so much in class. Brother or Sister, find ways to remind yourself the bible is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). God gave the word to his children. The Bible tell us about our Holy Father. Jesus, our brother, is the theme of the Bible. The Holy Spirit animates the word for us.The Word of the Lord is not a fast food menu item. It is a full coarse meal so savor it. Savor the word of God. Your season in seminary could be dry but remember the word is sweet. Strive to have personal devotions and indulge in the saccharine word of the Lord.
not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:25
You are in seminary to serve the church. Sadly, you have told me about your classmates who do not attend church. You told me how you have church hopped for several months. Your ecclesiology is worthless if it doesn’t move you to gather with God’s people. Reevaluate your calling if you are training to serve in a church in the future, but you don’t attend now. Get involved and become a member of a church while you are in seminary. Go receive the encouragement of the saints. Your love for the church and the Lord ought to drive you a make an effort to gather with the saints. What is more important your personal desires or the command of the Lord? This answer will tell what will drive your ministry in the future.
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. (Hebrews 13:4)
Honor your marriage more than your seminary education. As far-fetched as it may sound one day you will graduate. Seminary is temporary. Your marriage will outlast seminary. God has shown you grace and given you a spouse. Your spouse is more significant than any grade. One of the wisest quotes I heard from my former pastor was “It is okay if you get a “C” in class but an “A” at home.” God commands us to honor our marriage. Marriage displays God’s relationship with the church. Don’t have an affair with education. Don’t submit or love your education as Christ loved the church. Find ways to show your spouse they are more important than a good grade.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; James 1:19
Brothers and Sisters, often we are noisy gongs who speak the truth without love because we are quick to speak. We haste to proclaim our opinions and are reluctant to listen to others. White students need to hear the concerns of minority students. Minority students need to hear their white classmates. Are you spouting your opinion before listening? That is foolish and shameful (Proverbs 18:13). Take time to listen to people you disagree with. You may not agree, but you need to understand. It is the fool who only takes pleasure in expressing his opinion (Proverbs 18:2).
The patterns you set now will impact your ministry later. Read the bible to experience its life-changing power. Gather with the saints and serve. Seek to honor your marriage. Listen.
Your co-laborer in the classroom