I am just a dissertation away from my PhD in Pastoral Ministry and I can see that the hours upon hours of study and reading have really helped my preaching and understanding of God’s Word. Especially the studies of church history have given me a confidence in dealing with much of the pseudo-bible teaching floating around today. Seems there really is nothing new under the sun. Every weird idea and concept floating around today was dealt with and answered in the first 300 years of the church.
But, all that being said, I have to also say that it was tough to stay close to the Lord during all that study. I do NOT recommend seminary for a young or not highly grounded believer – and all my study was through a very conservative seminary! The fact is, academia can be a false road to a deeper walk with the Lord.
The Bible is clear that knowledge, study, wisdom, understanding is good but only as it draws us closer to God, more dependent upon His wisdom and not our own. One can know volumes about God but not really know God.
Knowledge about God can never be a substitute for knowing God.
Those who know about God can tell others about God but only those who know God can make Him known.
Any who insist upon fully understanding God before they accept Him are doomed to remain on the outside. They will never understand all about God nor can they and … to insist upon total understanding is even a rather hypocritical stance since they do not apply that standard to everything else in life. Will they not use a computer until they understand all about how it functions? Will they not board a plane unless they know all about the dynamics of its operation? Will they not take a picture unless they understand the science of digital photography? Will they not get married until they fully understand the male (or female) brain? We do things every day in rather simple areas of life that require overriding our desire for full understanding so how can we hope to wrap our finite mind around an infinite God?
A second false road many wander down in search of God is that of good works but, more on that next time.
The highway to the city of God does not run through our head nor through our hands but through our heart.