On Avoiding Christian Scholarship

On an incredibly exciting note for myself, I am planning to begin my seminary education this fall! Cue the obscene amounts of caffeine and late nights. One of the things I struggle with in my pursuit of higher education is how to apply a text to my life and not just allow it to be an academic pursuit. Throughout most of my undergraduate education (pretty much until my final year of school) I was simply trying to get a passing grade in my classes until it suddenly struck me that I need to be applying what I learned to my life! (See Luke 12:48)

I found a very interesting post titled ‘On Avoiding Kierkegaard’s Indictment of Christian Scholarship‘ that is worth reading. Kierkegaard begins by saying,

The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in this world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.

What a scathing review of the academic pursuit of a believer! Yes, it is incredibly convicting to be alone with the New Testament, but because of my academic training and some very godly teachers, I have a proper lens through which to view the Scripture I’m reading. I know so many people who have a wrong interpretation of Scripture that ends up dictating their life (God helps those who help themselves, don’t judge lest you be judged). Without a proper background and training it’s so easy to pick and choose the pieces of the Bible you want to apply.

So I’m going to enter into seminary with a different perspective than I entered my undergrad work: with my eyes wide open to see how God wants to further rule in my life as I attempt to apply Scripture to my life. May He alone get all the glory!

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