The truly worrying thing is that we’ve only in our first actual week of classes. The previous 3 weeks have been the summer Greek intensive. Now we are into the normal term timetable and encountering real live classes in theology.
The course consists of:
Hebrew and Greek
If you break it down, we are studying the 4 classic divisions of theological study: Exegetical, Systematic, Historical, and Practical – and Biblical Languages. I think most of us find the amount of reading to be the most difficult aspect of the study. The required reading is manageable, but there is a whole list of interesting ‘further’ reading which it is difficult to do more than dip into.
I answered my first question in class today. If you’re of a Canberran extraction, you’ll be pleased to know it was in my first Greek class with Con as lecturer.
Having got that out of the way, now I can sit up the back and make mischief.
The routine is starting to settle into shape. I require a Campos coffee in the mornings to warm my heart towards the study of divine things. Classes take up all the morning. We have lunch together with the fourth year students – they seem a lot like us but cynical, 20kgs heavier, and bearded (even the women). In short, they look like Theologians… mercy…
Every lunch I resolve not to eat the hot food and stick to the salad, but when I arrive at lunch I find such a bounteous spread of cheesy temptations, and I’m so famished from my mental gymnastics, that I cave in.
I’m eating a lot of fruit though.
The rest of the day is free for studying.
In the middle of all the hard work, I have to keep being reminded that the study and scholarship is not simply an end in itself.
This was something that John Woodhouse, our Principal, made very clear in one of his first addresses to our Year.
â€œFor an overseer, as Godâ€™s manager, must be blameless, not arrogant, not quick tempered, not addicted to wine, not a bully, not greedy for money, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled, holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it.â€ (Titus 1:7-9 HCSB)
We are studying because, like all Christians we have been taken hold of by the gospel of Jesus, the Christ.
As those who may be called upon to exercise the oversight of a congregation of believers, we must display a character that adorns the message, and not depart from the faithful message. We are to love Christ’s people through the encouragement of sound teaching, and to love-in-defence by refuting those who do not know sound doctrine. The key to this is a thorough familiarity with the truth.
The Speaking God is at work in this world through his powerful word, yet he has entrusted this trustworthy, powerful word to the lips of ones like us. Our task, which is the core of our ministry is to rightly handle this word, to preach it, teach it, live it.
There is no more important responsibility that to hold firm to the trustworthy word of God.
Therefore, our community of learning is an expression of our partnership with the wider church in the gospel. Study and learning are key to what we are doing at College. But it is to the end that we may be able to encourage our brothers and sisters with sound doctrine and refute those who contradict it – to speak the endlessly living truth about God.
(ideas from a sermon by John Woodhouse, “What is Moore College about?”).
Keep praying for us, that we would have God’s strength and protection for this task.