Tuesday, April 20, 2010

To Get in Seminary...

Three times this morning I found myself giving feedback to students along the lines of "I would be very happy if by the time you graduate you know..." so I thought I would capture those three things here (there are more, but this is part of such a list):

1. A seminary graduate should be able to tell the difference between what one biblical text says and what another biblical text says and be able to distinguish between the two.

(So Matthew 28 says nothing about Paul's "over 500 brothers" in 1 Corinthians 15. Is this the same event? It could be, but make sure you understand Matthew in its own right before splicing things from other books into it. Matthew "knows" nothing about the 500 in its self-contained story)

2. A seminary graduate should be able to tell the difference between what a text actually says and interpretations that fill in gaps left by the text.

(This is closely related to the first one, but this one has more to do with the distinction between us as readers and the text, while the first one had to do with the distinction between one biblical text and another. Many legitimate Christian readings infer Trinitarian understandings into texts long before God unfolded those understandings in the first five centuries of the church)

3. A seminary graduate should know when they are reading a text "more than literally" and when they are reading it in its plain sense.

(So Moses' calling might be a model for God calling us, but this is a metaphorical use of the text, not something the text actually says).


Bob MacDonald said...

Good objectives - good luck!

Lenny Luchetti said...

I try to encourage these admonitions in my preaching classes, especially point #1. Sometimes we preachers jump all over the biblical story without really listening to the author (i.e., Matthew, Paul, or John)of the main text we're proclaiming. Thus, the congregation often leaves the service wondering what in the world the main text really said about the kingdom of God.