30 Tips for New Seminarians

Here is my humble attempt at giving advice to new seminarians and even current ones. I am beginning my second semester of doctoral studies. I thought it may be beneficial to write out (from a current students perspective and on that recently finished his Masters) some of the things I wished I would have known before beginning seminary.

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My Upcoming Semester

The winter break is finally over and it is time to begin the next semester. It is hard to believe that this will be my 4th semester at SBTS. I will be taking the following classes:

  1. Patristic Latin (Dr. Haykin): I am looking forward to this class for multiple reasons. As I continue in my studies I hope to integrate more of the Church Father’s writings in my exegesis. They provide a sea of valuable theological insights into scripture that we look over today. The book list for this class is: John Collins - A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin and Keith Sidwell - Reading Medieval Latin.
  2. Greek Exegesis of James (Dr. Plummer): I just took Greek Exegesis of Matthew with Dr. Pennington and James has much overlap with the Sermon on the Mount and the sayings of Jesus. It will be interesting to study how James integrates Jesus’ teaching in his own wisdom writing. I am also interested in seeing James’ idea of spiritual wholeness or “τέλειος”. I have blogged briefly on this idea (here and here) and am contemplating on writing my paper on some aspect of this theme in James. If any of you have any thoughts or ideas on this subject, let me know either in the comments or email. For those interested I have also put together a vocabulary PDF for James. It has the vocabulary broken down by paragraph, chapter, and also a cumulative list. We will be using Doug Moo’s commentary on James and the new exegetical guide to James by Chris Vlachos. In preparation for the class I also read Richard Bauckham’s book on James, which I highly recommend for anyone studying James. I also picked up a discourse analysis commentary on James by William Varner. I hope to learn some about this topic while going through James this semester.
  3. Christian Preaching (Dr. Prince): This class in association with the 9Marks conference. Book list for this class consist of R. Albert Mohler - He is not Silent, Peter Adam - Speaking God’s Words, and Dennis Johnson - Him We Proclaim
  4. Church History II (Dr. Haykin): I have heard great things about Dr. Haykin’s teaching here on campus. This will be my first semester under his teaching and I am looking forward to learning from him. We are using a variety of books but the bulk of the reading comes from Introduction to the History of Christianity
  5. Greek Exegesis of Mark (audit) (Dr. Vickers): I will be auditing this class since I am already in one exegesis class along with my first semester of Latin. I look forward to sitting through this class and doing some of the work (just not the exegetical paper) and seeing the different theological emphasis between Mark and Matthew. The book list for this class is R.T. France’s commentary on Mark and Jonathan Pennington’s new book on the Gospels, Reading the Gospels Wisely, which I highly recommend as a wonderful introduction on reading the Gospels as Holy Scripture.

This semester should be an excellent one. Throughout the semester most of my blogging will probably be through James and Mark. I am hoping to read some of the early Church’s writing on each of these books so I will also include some thoughts on their interpretations as I read them.

Tags , classes, sbts, mark, vickers, , haykin, plummer