Guest - An important message about Puritan Board Member and Moderator Rules of Behavior has been posted here.

Featured What would be an ideal theological foundation for someone who has a 2 years to prepare for seminary?

Discussion in 'Seminaries, Colleges & Education' started by John Yap, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. John Yap

    John Yap Puritan Board Freshman

    My thoughts on an ideal theological foundation for someone who has 2 years to prepare for seminary:

    1. Memorising the WSC / Heidelberg catechism
    2. Have a good foundation in 1 Systematic (Berkhof for me)
    3. Reading the Institutes at least once
    4. Understanding the CoG and sacraments
    5. Memorising the biblical/redemptive narrative book by book at least. To at least know the main crux of each NT chapter / For the OT, understanding the types and shadows, to have as good an understanding of the historical narrative; characters etc. Knowing the key passages in the Psalms and Prophets.

    What say you all? And of course this includes touching the biblical languages a bit / reading beginner stuff on logic, philosophy, apologetic etc.
     
  2. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Learn English. By that I mean learn how to analyze a text. Learn and relearn your English grammar. You'll get plenty of the other stuff in seminary. Lastly, read Richard Muller's book The Study of Theology.
     
  3. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Freshman

    Get your soul close to God. They don't make the seminary-cemetery joke for nothing. The whole point of seminary is to fill your mind with the theological paradigms you need. Work on preparing your heart.

    Aside from that, I think Calvin's Institutes is a great idea.
     
  4. Guido's Brother

    Guido's Brother Puritan Board Junior

    Read as much and as widely as you can. Be a voracious reader and take careful notes. Once you get to seminary, reading what you want is going to be a luxury you'll seldom be able to afford. Once in the ministry, you may not have time to read much outside of your sermon preparation either. Best thing that happened to me before going to seminary was to discover the Puritans...
     
  5. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Your thoughts sound quite reasonable to me. Depending on what seminary you go to, of course, what is an advantage may vary. The more familiarity you have with any part of the theological encyclopedia and ancillary disciplines (e.g., Hebrew alphabet and linguistics) the easier it will be to carry your workload in that particular area. For many people, the memorization of paradigms, vocabulary, dates, maps, texts, and catechisms is one of the most time-consuming parts of the work. If you are not very quick at memorization, a long head start on that could do a great deal to make your time in seminary more enjoyable. For other people, understanding the concepts is the bigger struggle. In that case, learning about principles and methods might make the whole education much more profitable. In two years, you could probably do a fair amount of both.
     
  6. ReformedReidian

    ReformedReidian Puritan Board Doctor

    Bingo. I am a grammar teacher for high school/Middle School.
     
  7. ReformedReidian

    ReformedReidian Puritan Board Doctor

    Get a head start on Hebrew and Greek.
    Memorizing the whole catechism might be a tall order, but any little bit is better than nothing.
    Find a good systematics system and start doing analytical outlines on it.
     
  8. jwithnell

    jwithnell Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Might I suggest your OP suggests a weak spot? A strong Biblical Theology (I'm partial to G. Vos) will show you redemptive history as it unfolds in the OT, preparing the way for the redemption revealed in the new. It will also cement the relationship between the covenant of grace and the covenant of works. Biblical Theology also gives a valuable hermeneutic tool since it helps to understand the context of scripture and what had been revealed to people at a particular time.
     
  9. mgkortus

    mgkortus Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree with Jacob that memorizing these will be a tall order. But I strongly encourage you to become very familiar with them. I suggest that you memorize the main point of each Q&A. In other words, read through them and pick out the main thought. Then memorize, for example, that HC LD 9 is about God the Father Almighty, HC LD 10 is about God's providence, etc. This will serve you well in seminary.

    I agree that this would be a good idea. I have been trying to find time to read the Institutes ever since I started seminary two years ago. I have read a number of sections. But I have yet to read them all the way through.
     
  10. mgkortus

    mgkortus Puritan Board Freshman

    This is crucial! And if I may elaborate on this a bit: go to war on the sins you struggle with. Read the book of Joshua as you do this. Our spiritual enemies have various strongholds in each one of our hearts. Start tearing them down now. Otherwise, they will be a thorn in your flesh and a barb in your eye while in seminary (Numbers 33:55).
     
  11. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Junior

    Good point, as many times the person has to refresh their understanding of English before learning the Greek/Hebrew.
     
  12. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Junior

    Good point, as even more important then what we learn in school is to have ourselves in a position to be able to have the Lord use us, due to us being consecrated and devoted unto Him.
     
  13. ReformedReidian

    ReformedReidian Puritan Board Doctor

    I learned English grammar when I took German.
     
  14. mjmacvey

    mjmacvey Puritan Board Freshman

    This is very good advice. I would recommend English Grammar for Language Students as a good concise resource for this, but there are several other good resources available.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
  15. mjmacvey

    mjmacvey Puritan Board Freshman

    I can't argue with any of this, but I wouldn't discount learning the languages. Unless you are a natural language learner (or go to a seminary that has neglected Greek and Hebrew :(), this will be the most challenging and time-consuming part of your graduate theological education. Many seminaries have language placement exams through which you can "test out" of language requirements. It is one of the few ways that you can save yourself time and money in seminary (up to 20 credit hours in our program). Though it is difficult to study Greek/Hebrew on your own, there are several good resources (some free) online to help. Even 30 minutes a day of language study over a 2 year period would go a long way.
     
  16. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    This is important, especially when it comes time to study Hebrew and Greek. If a person doesn't know what an adverb (for example) is in English, he's not going to know what it is in Hebrew or Greek, either.
     
  17. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Junior

    This is very good advice, as the original languages are very time consuming and hard at first to learn and have confidence in being able to learn and use them.
     
  18. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I disagree with the idea of reading Calvin's Institutes right off the bat, before entering seminary. A lot of us moderns aren't used to Calvin's very discursive, rather rambling style. We tend to be much more used to the straightforward narrative a modern book provides. As a beginner, I would read a modern conservative ST first (my choice: Robert L. Reymond, who ties his theology to the Westminster Standards) to get the basics of Reformed theology down first. Once you're grounded, you can always go back and read Calvin later to get his take on things.
     
  19. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Just offering a basic reminder. I have run into seminary students who had not read the Bible all the way through. Even if you have, it might be a good practice to continue systematically reading it.

    You'll get all sorts of other stuff thrown at you--it is intense. But it's amazing what a consistent dose of God's Word will do over the long haul to keep you balanced.
     
  20. ReformedReidian

    ReformedReidian Puritan Board Doctor

    This is going to sound cynical, but it might save you a letter grade. Find out the unique distinctives of the particular seminary and really go whole hog in endorsing them. Publicly. And find out what the seminary is specifically against and publicly attack that, too.

    1. If you go to SBTS, embrace a gentle Calvinism and attack postmodernism.
    2. If you go to NOBTS, be familiar with Molinism.
    3. If you go to WTS-PA, live and die for Van Til.
    4. If you go to WTS-CA, Kline.
    5. If you go to RTS-Jackson, probably Donald MacLeod's stuff. But it's probably changed a bit since I was there. And attack theonomy, even if it isn't particularly relevant to the topic.
    6. If you go to RTS-Orlando, Frame.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • List
  21. Guido's Brother

    Guido's Brother Puritan Board Junior

    If you go to CRTS, just study the Bible and the Reformed confessions. :D
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • List
  22. yeutter

    yeutter Puritan Board Junior

    Victor, Wes, & Matt have offered excellent suggestions. I presume you are the under care of your Presbytery, Classis, Session, Consistory, Diocese, Deanery, District, Board, or whatever as you prepare to go to Seminary. Listen, and head their instructions and advise. Beyond that: if you have not already done so, beginning reading through the Bible annually.
     
  23. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Probably the most unusual thing I've ever read regarding choosing a seminary was an article (or booklet?) that William Sanford LaSor wrote many years ago. His subject was, basically, don't pick a seminary you're not intellectually smart enough to attend. Don't pick a seminary that's over your head, so to speak. I don't remember his reasoning (this was many years ago), but, as I say, it's the most unusual thing I've ever read on the subject.
     
  24. ReformedReidian

    ReformedReidian Puritan Board Doctor

    I forgot one:

    Covenant Theological Seminary--Just write "missional theology" on your ST books.
     
  25. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Junior

    what do you mean by gentle Calvinism, is that the same as the term tolerant Calvinism have had others tag on me in a bad sense according to them?
     
  26. ReformedReidian

    ReformedReidian Puritan Board Doctor

    Years ago they were strongly 4 point Calvinist (Russell Moore, Bruce Ware). Sure, Mohler is a 5 Pointer but he only talks about culture warrior stuff, so you really wouldn't get that from him.
     
  27. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks for the clarification. Those who have tagged me as being one of them would use it to refer to not agreeing with them that only Calvinists teach the real Gospel at all, and that pretty much real salvation occurs only within reformed/Calvinistic churches.
     
  28. John Yap

    John Yap Puritan Board Freshman

    I feel that memorising the catechisms which is a requirement in seminaries is something that can be done pre-seminary, and also strengthens your convictions of course.

    To balance catechism memorisation and biblical languages all at once... yikes, best to do what I can to lessen the load
     
  29. ReformedReidian

    ReformedReidian Puritan Board Doctor

    Get John Murray's commentary on Romans. It's a great resource on how to do exegesis. And he goes whole hog on prepositions, which is always fun. Murray is a reliable resource. His reformed credentials cannot be gainsayed, yet he is not a slave to tradition.
     

Share This Page