Today in the library, I stumbled upon four new students toiling away on a research and writing assignment. This encounter reminded me of when I started seminary, and what I wish I knew then that I know now in my final year. Over the past four years, numerous books have encouraged and instructed me. Along those lines, I would like to suggest a few titles to aid the budding seminarian.
The Bible – First and foremost, the student of theology must consume the source of that theology. It is the Scriptures that are most important for spiritual growth and maturity. A common phrase around here is “the Word of God does the work of God.” God has revealed Himself through His Word, and it is the primary means of grace today. So, seek Him there.
The Path to Being a Pastor by Bobby Jamieson– This book is an encouragement to men aspiring to be senior pastors. Men like me and many who come to seminary. Jamieson encourages the reader to use language of aspiration instead of personal calling. He offers practical tips to prepare well in study and preaching. And he challenges the aspiring pastor to meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. If a man desires to be called to a ministry, he should first be eligible for ministry.
Deep Work by Cal Newport– Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. Seminary will require a tremendous amount of deep work. No doubt, you should attempt to integrate your work, study, and family life, but there are times that require focus. You will serve your family well to accomplish much of your schoolwork inside these deep work sessions.
How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler – The majority of your time spent on schoolwork outside of classes will be reading. The average class at DBTS has about 800 pages of reading. A full-time student will have about 2,800 pages of reading per semester. Why not take some time to develop the skill of reading before you dive in?
I hope these titles encourage and instruct you. This list is not exhaustive, but a few that I have found helpful. What would you add to the list?