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My Advice to Students — Todd Still Says, “Be Open to Criticism & to Being Surprised”

Jeremy Bouma on September 24th, 2014. Tagged under .

Jeremy Bouma

Jeremy Bouma (Th.M.) has pastored on Capitol Hill and with the Evangelical Covenant Church in Michigan. He founded THEOKLESIA, which connects the 21st century Church to the vintage Christian faith; holds a Master of Theology in historical theology; and makes the vintage faith relevant at

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I still remember the first time I received back a graded, marked-up seminary paper. It was on the Judah and Tamar narrative of Genesis 28 for Biblical Hermeneutics.

Let’s just say my tuition dollars padded the red pen expense account!

While none of us love a margin full of track changes or red comments, Todd Still, author of Thinking Through Paul, insists we need such criticism to sharpen our thinking. “It’s important to be open to constructive criticism,” he advises in the first of two pieces of advice.

Pivoting toward our studying and devotional life, he then urges students to come to the text expecting it to be surprised: “Great students are not only curious students, but all of us should be open to being surprised.”

Be open to criticism; be open to being surprised.

Listen to and consider Still’s advice to enhance your semester experience.

-Jeremy Bouma, Th.M. (@bouma)

“My Advice to Students” videos advise and guide students studying for a future of ministry in the Church, whether in the academy or in congregations. In these specially curated videos, leading scholars of biblical studies share their wisdom to help you navigate this important season of preparation.