For years, it frustrated me when pastors would talk of their college days. College for preachers sounded kind of unnecessary for me. I mean – when did the Apostle Paul go to college? If a man was called of God to preach, why would he need to go to college to have someone teach him how to perform the duty God called him to do. God doesn’t call the qualified. God qualifies the called. Right?
To add to this feeling, I used to be a part of a ministry that frequently visited various churches. From meeting a variety of pastors, it seemed to me like for the most part, the pastors who preached with the most power were the ones who never went to Bible college. A lot of the Bible college grads seemed like they only taught and never preached. Yes, a pastor is supposed to be apt to teach, but they should also know how to preach and should do so.
Lately, God has been making some changes in my life which has caused me to reevaluate my thoughts on Bible college. I decided to enroll in an online theology course to see what it would be like. I have now listened to approximately twenty different hour-long lectures so I thought I would share another viewpoint on this topic. (By the way, that is why I have not been writing as many blog posts lately. I have been a tad bit busier than normal.)
I have been studying Bibliology, Greek, the New Testament, the Old Testament, and Church History. I have learned a lot in a very short amount of time – and no, no one is teaching me how to preach.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned that I have found very interesting thus far:
- The old testament begins with mankind (Adam) being created in God’s image. The new testament begins with God (Jesus) being created in the likeness of man.
- The key differences between Roman Catholics, conservative protestants, reformed protestants, Armenian protestants, liberal protestants, new-orthodox churches, fundamentalism, and new evangelicalism.
- The Bible never calls itself by the name Bible anywhere in the scriptures.
- For the first 200 years of its existence, the Bible was separated into books, but not divided up into chapters and verses.
- How it was determined what religious writings were inspired of God and belonged in the Bible
- No archaeological discoveries have ever been able to prove the Bible wrong
- Things written in the Bible about 3500 years ago have only been verified by Scientists in recent centuries
- Roman emperors as well as the catholic church, aided by the Jesuits, did everything in their power to eliminate Christianity. Somewhere around 75 popes in a row covering a period of approximately 18 or 19 centuries approved of Christians being arrested, severely tortured, and murdered simply for not adhering to Catholic teachings.
- The 4 books we call the gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John provide a four-fold portrait of Christ – Matthew shows Christ as King, Mark shows Christ as God’s servant, Luke shows Christ as Perfect Man, and John shows Him as Eternal God.
- Much more!
Should Sunday School teachers, deacons, and missionaries be required to go to college? No. There is no scripture whatsoever to support that. (If anything, that kind of reasoning will make it take longer for people to do the work God called them to do.)
Should a person be required to go to Bible college to be a preacher or a pastor? No. There is no scripture whatsoever to support that. (If anything, that kind of reasoning will make it take longer for people to do the work God called them to do.)
Is it wrong for a preacher or pastor to go to Bible college? No. There is no scripture whatsoever opposing it.
Is Bible college helpful for the Sunday School teacher, preacher, missionary, or pastor? Absolutely. I wish I would have enrolled years ago. Having a better understanding of the persecutions Christians were enduring, for example, paints a much more vivid picture of what was going on when the apostles were being arrested and beaten during the New Testament.
Are there times when going to Bible college is a bad thing? Yes. If a person is not selective as to what college they attend, they can be indoctrinated with false doctrine. They can have man tell them how to preach and teach. They can have man add their opinions to the Bible or take away from the power of the Word of God. They can also delay the work God could have them doing out in the field. (I encourage online college courses – that way people can continue serving God in the field God has called them to and earn their degree on the side. Think about it – if God calls you to preach and you start preaching today – how many people’s lives may be changed over the next four years as a result of you being obedient to God in preaching His Word? If you spend the next four years away at Bible college learning to preach instead of just getting out there and preaching like God told you to do, how many souls would you impact during that same time period? It’s something to think about, right?)
So how does a person know if they should or should not go to Bible college? Prayer and Bible reading. When we pray we talk to God. When we read His Word, He talks back to us. There is not a one answer fits all for Bible college. Find out what God’s will is for your life and get in and stay in that will.