My Advice to Students: Charles Halton Says “Make Friends with Your Peers.”

Jeremy Bouma on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,,.

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9780310514947Academia can be a lonely, isolating road. You spend hours reading and studying alone; you write articles and papers alone. Yet according to Charles Halton, editor of Genesis: History, Fiction, or Neither?, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Friendships are really important in academia…make friends with your peers.

Halton has practiced his own advice, sharing that everything he’s done professionally has come through friendships. Here are some highlights from his insights:

Go to professional meetings; Don’t be a mercenary friend to exploit people; Get to know people deeply; Congratulate professional accomplishments;

I have personally found Halton’s advice to ring true. Most of what I’ve accomplished has been because of friendships (I’m looking at you Dr. Jason Myers and Dr. Michael Wittmer!)

Listen to Halton’s advice above,…

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My Advice to Students — Paul Molnar Says “Do What it Takes to Get the Job Done”

Jeremy Bouma on 3 years ago. Tagged under .

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9780310498124Nothing in life is guaranteed, as they say. Whether you’re pursuing the pastorate or professorship, the same is true for what lies ahead on the other side of graduate school.

And yet Paul Molnar, professor and contributor to Two Views of the Doctrine of the Trinity, gives this advice:

“If you love what you’re doing, then you’ll do what it takes to get the job done.”

Molnar shares some of his journey from adjunct to full-time professor at St. Johns to illustrate what’s necessary to ensure success.

While he says there’s no guarantee, Molnar encourages, “If you work extremely hard, and you are willing to make sacrifices…there is a really good chance you will have success.”

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My Advice to Students — Mark Strauss Says, “Learn to Think Critically”

Jeremy Bouma on 3 years ago. Tagged under ,.

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9780310243588Mark Strauss, author of the new ZECNT Mark commentary, says the one thing students must learn is critical thinking.

He calls it “so essential in terms of doing advanced study…and being a Christian in today’s complex world.”

Critical thinking’s fundamental for us, like a protractor is for an architect. Strauss suggests two ways to sharpen your critical thinking:

Write book reviews. Read books, seek to critically analyze them and map their strengths and weaknesses. Read broadly. “One of the mistakes students make,” Strauss says, “is they have an idea and they take that idea into the marketplace, but no one cares!” Without surveying the landscape of ideas, you’ll talk past people.

Not only is learning to think critically…

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My Advice to Students — John Byron Gives 3 Solid Pieces of Advice for Mid-Semester

Jeremy Bouma on 3 years ago. Tagged under ,.

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9780310327264 (1)By now we’re nearing the middle of the semester, so it’s a good thing we’ve got some timely advice from John Byron, author of 1 & 2 Thessalonians. He has three things to share:

Don’t be in such a rush. Students often see school as a hinderance to fulfilling their calling. Here’s what he tells them: “You only have this opportunity once in your life.” So take advantage of it. The habits you form now will follow you later. Some of these habits include: rushing; frustrating professors; skimping on writing papers.  “These habits will most likely follow you in the pulpit, and you may find you’re frustrating the very people you’re trying to minister to.” Take control of your education. While your institution has required courses, Byron says “Don’t just…

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My Advice to Students: Todd Wilson Says “Don’t Begrudge Suffering God Sends Your Way”

Jeremy Bouma on 3 years ago. Tagged under .

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9780310515838Todd Wilson, author of the new book Real Christian, has three things to say to students—the last one is perhaps the most powerful.

Take Professors, Not Classes: “You can have a great subject and if you have a bad professor it can be a tedious experience. But if you’ve got a topic that isn’t interesting but a great professor it can be life changing.” Stay Invested in the Church: “It’s really critical to stay in the life of the church, invest in the life of the church, and serve God’s people in that way.” Don’t Begrudge Suffering: God has a way of surprising you by sending you challenges during graduate school. While there is a temptation to see them as a…

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My Advice to Students — Fred Sanders Says Master These 3 Things

Jeremy Bouma on 3 years ago. Tagged under ,.

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9780310517092While I eventually learned in seminary that you can’t master it all, I wish I would have had this advice from Fred Sanders, theologian and co-editor of Advancing Trinitarian Theology.

Rather than shotgun it, he advises theology students to focus by mastering these three things:

Master a major doctrine. “Resist the temptation to find some little tiny detail no one has looked at, but face up to a central doctrine of perennial importance.” Master a classic work (or two). While he says to stay up on the latest journal articles and scholarship, Sanders says know “a big old musty book” or two backwards and forwards. Master research languages early on. “Even though it’s a little bit crazy-making climbing the barrier of…

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

Jeremy Bouma on 3 years ago. Tagged under .

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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…

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My Advice to Students — 3 Tips from Bruce Longenecker

Jeremy Bouma on 3 years ago. Tagged under ,.

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9780310330868

For today’s advice post, we’ve got a three-piece special from Bruce Longenecker, professor and author of the new book Thinking Through Paul.

We figured since it was the start of a new school year, you needed all the advice you could get!

Longenecker’s three-piece special touches on the theological, the historical, and the linguistic:

Theological: “Avoid buying into the view that history has nothing to do with theology, and theology has nothing to do with history.” Historical: “Any student who wants to explore the world of the New Testament needs to get to the Vesuvius towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum as soon as possible, and as often as possible.” Linguistic: “Learn Latin, to unpack the Greco-Roman world…

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My Advice to Students — Jason Sexton Says, “Serve the Church, Do Serious Scholarship”

Jeremy Bouma on 3 years ago. Tagged under .

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Jason Sexton, editor of the new Two Views of the Doctrine of the Trinity, wants his future colleagues to see themselves as servants of the church by doing theology for the sake of the Church.

Is this how you see yourself—whether a pastor, professor, or student? As a servant of the Church through your scholarship and theological discipline?

Sexton is particularly interested in seeing young academics consciously go about serving the Lord in two ways:

Serving the church consistently; Doing scholarship in a serious way.

Sometimes we need a good reminder that we do theology—whether biblical, historical, systematic, ethical, or whatever—not for the sake of the Tower our a particular Society, for a book contract or a viral blog post. No, we do it for the Church.

Sexton provides this needed reminder. So listen to his advice…

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My Advice to Students — Lynn Cohick Says, “Take Paul’s Advice in Philippians”

Jeremy Bouma on 3 years ago. Tagged under .

By now most seminaries have received a fresh (and seasoned) crop of students eager to learn the Bible and theology and prepare for a life of Christian service. So it’s fitting we restart our regular advice to students with some wisdom about our pursuits and motivations. Lynn Cohick, author of the Philippians commentary in the Story of God Bible Commentary series, says students should take Paul’s advice when it comes to their academic career. The particular advice Cohick quotes in Philippians can be boiled down to two convicting commands: Don’t lose your first love; Don’t make it about yourself.

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My Advice to Students — Scott Rae Says, “Your Academic Work is Discipleship”

Jeremy Bouma on 3 years ago. Tagged under .

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9780310513995During seminary orientation seven years ago I remember our president giving us fresh seminarians some important words of encouragement for our new season. Scott Rae, author of Do the Right Thing, has the same advice for you and your own journey, as well:

Consider your academic work as part of your calling from God and part of your discipleship.

Whether you are a student now or will be next month, this season of your life is part of what it means to faithfully follow Jesus. Right now God is calling you to be a student, and follow Him in that way.

I remember…

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My Advice to Students — Michael Bird Has 3 Things to Say to Younger Bird

Jeremy Bouma on 3 years ago. Tagged under .

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I would wager most of the scholars who’ve contributed to our series would say their advice is meant for a younger version of themselves as much as young students and scholars.

Michael Bird, contributor to Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy, has three things to say to young Bird and young up-and-comers:

Don't be a man pleaser. “Because if you go chasing respect or chasing some sort of validity in a certain camp, ultimately you’re going to sell out.” Work in the primary languages and sources. Bird admits this is something he wishes he would've done more of as a young scholar. Take measures…

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