Most Seminarians have a good knowledge about the Bible. The reason for this is not far-fetched: it is simply because the Bible is the center of theological education. More than half of what is studied in the Seminary revolves around the Holy Scriptures. This is why serious minded Seminarians graduate with a fairly good knowledge about the Bible. You cannot be a successful theologian without having a certain degree of knowledge of the Bible.
But for what reasons do Seminarians study the Bible? What is their basic motivation about the Word of God? In other words, what does the Bible mean to them? Do Seminarians study the Bible for spiritual reasons or for mere academic reasons? To put it more bluntly, do Seminarians consciously study the Holy Scriptures for other reasons rather than academic and ministerial reasons? On the scale of preference, will Seminary students rather study the Scripture to grow in the knowledge of God and His Word or in order to find answers to their academic work? I am afraid that the answer to this last question may be in the negative.
It is surprising to discover the attitude of many Seminarians towards the Bible. It is quite ironic that many students in the Seminary will rather spend many hours reading the Bible because of some academic reasons than read it for few minutes purposely to hear God speak to them through His Word. Such an attitude among Seminarians is not only uncalled for but also unfortunate. The Bible deserves a better treatment than this. What benefits are there in having mere head knowledge of the Word of God without taking the Word of God seriously? Such a knowledge can only lead to destruction. It is like the case of a politician who does not believe in politics or a doctor who does not believe in science. In each of these cases, the entire endeavor becomes nothing more than doing something “to fulfill all righteousness.”
The temptation to study the Bible just for mere academic reasons is very high among Seminarians. In order to guard against this unhealthy practice, Seminarians must make a conscious effort to have regular times to study the Bible for their personal growth in the faith. They must be willing and ready to allow God speak to them through His Word beyond what is demanded from the classroom context. They must also learn to love God and His Word and by doing so develop a conscious plan to know Him personally as He has revealed Himself in His Word. There is nothing to be compared to having this personal quiet time of listening to God through His Word. This is because God has spoken in His Word, He still speaks and will continue to speak through His Word. The Word of God is the wellspring of life from which the Seminarian can find answers to his struggles and challenges. This however does not come by mere reading it for academic purpose.
By Seth Kajang Bature. Seth is a student at Westminster Theological Seminary, PA.