a PhD in Biblical Studies?

should you get one?  Here is what Dave Black, professor of New Testament and Greek at SEBTS says on his blog (dated July 9, 2019):

There’s been a lot of online discussion lately about whether or not you should get a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies. So few jobs. So few opportunities. Such a major commitment of time and money. Are you sure you want to do this?

Big shock: If God calls you do to something, He will take care of the place of service. I wouldn’t accept doctoral students unless I believed that. If you’re not sure, ask yourself: What does it seem that God has predisposed me toward? Do I love to teach? Do I really and truly enjoy research and writing? As in: Nerd Alert. Then, as God begins to move you in a certain direction, obey. Go with it. It’s God’s responsibility to gift you. It’s yours to show yourself obedient. God has spoken clearly on this matter (1 Cor. 12:4-6). Since the Spirit has gifted you, the Lord will appoint you to a place where you can exercise that gift, and the Father will determine the results of your service. Certainly you’re taking a big risk. But all of life is like that. Christianity is an adventure. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t need faith.

Believer, God has equipped you to love, to serve, to minister to others. Spend time with the Spirit today. Ask Him to point you in the right direction. If you’re already using His gift to serve others, thank Him for it. There is hardly anything more rewarding in this world.

Well, some different things have happened for me.  I got into a Chaplain Residency program and began to see a possible new place for me in ministry since I knew through repeated experiences that pastoring a church was out of the question.  So I’ve gone with it.  I’ll admit it’s been a challenge.  Getting a hospital chaplain job is hard, and I spent two years working in an unhealthy hospice office situation.  I have the skill sets to be a chaplain, I just have had some pretty negative experiences.  But I have also had some good ones too.  Like Dave says, you follow the leading of the Spirit and go where he leads.  The righteous shall live by faith and not by sight.  We can’t always go with what we see and or experience.  We have to trust the leading of the Spirit and go with him.

Even so, I know I have a calling and a gifting for being a teacher in the body of Christ.  I have waited a long time and even contemplated going to get a Ph.D. with Dave at SEBTS (not that that is needed to serve the church in teaching, by no means whatsoever).  Circumstances prevented that and it’s okay.  Sometimes, in a life of faith, we see an opportunity, we strike while the iron is hot, we make a move, and it pays off.  Other times, as challenging as it can be, we wait on the Lord for his timing, even years and or decades and pass as we faithfully wait. Debbie did her DMin and I worked and supported her while she did that.  It’s paid off.  She’s now on as full-time faculty at Grand Canyon University and its a HUGE lift for our family.

Last year April I was let go from the toxic hospice situation I was in.  I was hard but I was burning out and getting frustrated with the circumstances.  I had been praying for a change and asking God what to do.  I didn’t know I was going to be fired.  But about two weeks prior to that I had found out about a doctoral program at Evangelical Seminary in Myerstown, PA.  They started a new ThD.  When I learned about it I thought, could this be it?  I started praying for an opportunity to do the program.  I applied and was accepted.  But then, it happened that we needed to move back to Arizona because things were not working out for us in eastern North Carolina.  The move resulted in our moving in with Debbie’s parents for a year and my delaying the ThD program.  We prayed we’d get good work so we could support ourselves and move forward with our lives.  The GCU job was the biggest answer to our prayers yet thus far in our marriage, we’ve ever had.   I will be starting up with the ThD in August with the first residency in September.  I have my concerns but the path is open and I know the Lord will make a way.  How? Because so far he has.

Following the Lord isn’t always smooth sailing and can get rough at times.  In the end it will be worth it.

One response to “a PhD in Biblical Studies?

  1. Hey Brian. Sorry for this late comment but I just saw this post. Have you been able to start your doctoral studies? I hope so. I know your interest in all things biblical is very high. At any rate, trust you are doing well.

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