The Not-So-Special Season of Seminary

My seminary education was unbelievably special. It was a unique and weighty privilege to give myself for a season to the intense, disciplined, and uninterrupted study of God in his word.

I graduated this May from Bethlehem Seminary, and I can honestly say I would do it all over again, if given the chance. I simply wouldn’t trade the lessons learned, friendships forged, or skills acquired for anything. Seminary was a sweet and special season. But was it really special?

In a fresh article for Tabletalk, summarizing the blog series “How to Stay Christian in Seminary,” David Mathis says no. I wish I could have read this in August of 2008 before diving into my seminary season. While it can be a profoundly powerful and valuable time for those called into ministry, too often seminary can become a bad excuse for laxity in our fight for faith or taking a few plays off in battling sin, loving our families, or winning converts. After all, we left the rhythms of real life to prepare for real life, right?

Staying Christian in Seminary

Mathis writes, “Chase the trail of ‘staying Christian’ in seminary long enough, and you’ll realize it’s less about what a special season seminary is and more about what Christianity is in every season of life, in every age of church history, in every place on the planet. Staying Christian in seminary is about staying Christian in general.”

He highlights a simple key for combating this complacency: There’s nothing really that special about seminary. That’s right, you need the gospel, your Bible, and grace for the everyday as much as ever — maybe more.

We’ve pulled together some resources to help you stay Christian in seminary — and for that matter, in all of life. Don’t let Satan convince you that you don’t need help. As you’re being equipped to battle darkness in this world, he’s as eager as ever to encourage pride, undermine faith, and destroy future ministry in the midst of your season of prep. With a little practical advice, and a lot of God, we can be hopeful about staying Christian, even in seminary.


More on staying Christian in seminary —

Marshall Segal (@MarshallSegal) is executive assistant to John Piper, a recent graduate of Bethlehem Seminary in Minneapolis, and author of Single, Satisfied, and Sent: Mission for the Not-Yet Married.