Hardest part of seminary academically?

Discussion in 'Seminaries, Colleges & Education' started by John Yap, Jan 11, 2019.

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  1. John Yap

    John Yap Puritan Board Freshman

    Not talking about the spiritual / family part which is of course challenging. But academically, what was the toughest part you remember? Which course etc., made you stare blankly at your computer screen? Or perhaps it was languages?


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  2. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

    Virtually everyone I've ever talked with would say the same thing: the languages were the hardest (academic) part. I would concur.
     
  3. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Memorization (languages), or of any other kind. Memorizing all the Gospels content (i.e. memorizing the substance of all chapters in order), etc.
     
  4. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I have asked my Senior pastor that question, and his reply was trying to leatn Hebrew and Greek at same time, as he had 4 years of Hebrew and 5 years in the Greek.
     
  5. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I attended about half of an MDiv (MA in Christian Ministries) on my own time and dime from 2009-2016. The hardest part was balancing the expense/time with being a Husband, Father, Elder, and providing for my family while maintaining my motivation to continue to study.
    I might be a bad example because most theological subjects were diving deeper into things I had been reading about or interacting with (here and elsewhere) for years before Seminary so most subjects came pretty easily for me.
    That said, the five courses I took in Greek were the most challenging because you've got to discipline the time to review vocabulary, forms, etc. It was exceednigly rewaring but it was the most challenging. I've thought about taking some additional courses in Hebrew but my vision has diminished over the last couple of years and I don't know if I would be able to see well enough to do it.
     
  6. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    It depends on your background. For one classmate, it was Doctrine of God, with its sometimes counter-intuitive technicalities and philosophical contents. Others groaned under the weight of history. Probably nothing distressed me more than having to make a map.
     
  7. TheInquirer

    TheInquirer Puritan Board Freshman

    Memorization for tests, Greek in particular. Vocabulary wasn't difficult for me, it was the paradigms.
     
  8. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    Surely not! :(

    Can you give a date for such an occurrence? ;)

    Peace,
    Alan
     
  9. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    For me, it was systematic theology. I loved it, make no mistake. But the exams always made my wrist ache because of how much I had to write. The stuff one had to remember was also mind-boggling.
     
  10. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Sophomore

    Probably Hebrew exegetical papers.
     
  11. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    May 18, 2015! I understand things may have been even worse the following year...
     
  12. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    For me the hardest part was when it came to course selection. So many great courses... so little time...
     
  13. R. Andrew Compton

    R. Andrew Compton Puritan Board Freshman

    I remember my prolegomena/intro to apologetics course just about did me in ... but less than a year later, everything started to click and I saw the wealth of what I'd learned, even if at the time I felt like I was being cleaned and filleted!
     
  14. John Yap

    John Yap Puritan Board Freshman

    In terms of grasping a concept (vs exams and memory work) - what course was the hardest?


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  15. John Yap

    John Yap Puritan Board Freshman

    What would you advice a beginning seminarian regarding the initial hump?

    Though prolegomena should be learned first - I do think the historical theological discussion can go over ones head. Reading Bavinck vol.1 was traumatizing for me


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  16. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    This review of Vol 1, by Bayou Huguenot, mentions that it is a difficult read in the last paragraph ;

    I gave Vol 1 a shot, but quickly saw that it was way over my head, and put it aside to come back to at a later date, when I've got a bit more of the background Jacob mentions above.
     
  17. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    Dr Strange, to better understand the humor behind your post above, is it safe to assume that you were the history professor that made the program so weighty ? :)
     
  18. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, but I've lost some weight since Ruben was here!

    Peace,
    Alan
     
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  19. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I would guess that Greek..and even moreso Hebrew is the hardest part for most academically.
     
  20. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    The hardest class you take is "yourself." I failed that class. I majored on minors. Granted, I had no business being in the ministry, so God used that to get me out of there. Ironically, I know more about the languages now than then.
     
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  21. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    All of Gaffin's classes were hard in the sense that the concepts were demanding. I don't know that I could single one out. Being prepared for seminary doesn't necessarily involve knowing which classes will be hard. Which seminary are you attending?
     
  22. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    Studying languages beforehand can aid in preparing one for seminary, but there's another sense in which nothing can prepare you for seminary, and that's probably a good thing.
     
  23. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    That was true for me on both fronts. I minored in Greek and German in college, so Greek wasn't really an issue for me. Hebrew was and it never "clicked" (which was weird, since I am usually good at languages).

    I was more interested in theonomy and postmillennialism, and that was when everybody was accusing everybody of knowing someone whose cousin knew someone who was a Federal Visionist. I was all messed up.

    But again, God used it for the best. I wasn't supposed to be in ministry. Now I help more people than I possibly could by being a (semi) educated layman at the church and leading discussions.
     
  24. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    Those nuts who took Beginning Hebrew and Beginning Greek at the same time. That's the hardest thing anyone can do in seminary. (I was not one of those nuts.)

    When taking one of the languages, the most important thing you have to do is to keep up with the vocabulary. If you don't do that, it'll take you longer and longer, as the lessons progress, to get the work done.

    It's also interesting to discover that you find yourself understanding the grammar you learned about a month earlier better even as, a month later, you're learning new things you don't understand yet.
     
  25. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, and for anyone like myself who never took English grammar seriously, when you begin to study any foreign language, being confronted with all that grammar stuff, and various parts of speech, you begin to learn all that English grammar you previously ignored, and for which you have a brand new appreciation. I never gave a rip about what a direct object was until I became the direct object suffering from that lack of rip.
     
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  26. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I didn't take English grammar seriously until I studied German. Now I teach English grammar. I used to tell new seminarians, "You must be willing to die for a direct object." I've backed off on that somewhat.
     
  27. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    Good! You were being accusative! ;)

    Seriously, Jacob, I am grateful for your candor in a previous post, in which you said that the hardest class is "yourself." That's true for us all. One can only hope to come to see it sooner rather than later (some never seem to see it all, alas!).

    Peace,
    Alan
     
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  28. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I can tell you the exact moment. I am sure you know who Alan Curry is. It was in his Christian ed class (November-December, 2006) and he was just speaking in general and I realized, "That's it." That was towards the end of the semester. 3 months later I was teaching in a local school. Been doing that for the past ten years. It's my calling.
     
  29. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    I certainly do know Allen Curry and I am glad for your recounting of his role in your life. He is a prince of a fellow.

    Peace,
    Alan
     
  30. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Mine was a wee bit different than most, as the single most academically challenging course was Roman Catholic Dogma. The required text at the time (1975):
    https://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals-Catholic-Dogma-Ludwig-Ott/dp/0895550091/

    Yeah, I know. I know. ;)
     
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