The End of Week One

Well, the first week of school has come to a close. What did I learn so far? Well, I’ve learned that I have a lot to learn! In the next three months I’ll be enrolled in seven classes. Two of these classes meet for two hours a week, namely Ecumenical Creeds and Intro to Ministry and Mission. Intro to Theology, NT Textual Criticism, and OT Textual Criticism are all one hour a week. The Final two courses, OT Hebrew and NT Greek, meet for 3 hours a week.

The bulk of the work will come from our Hebrew and Greek language classes, as expected. By the end of the semester we should know all the vocabulary used more than fifty times in the scriptures. So far the language classes have focused on seeing exactly how much knowledge the different students have, and working towards getting us all on equal footing. In Hebrew we’ve started by reviewing the basic grammar rules. Because I’ve studied Hebrew for three years I seem to be doing quite well. In Greek we worked on translating a passage in 1 John. The whole class seems to be having difficulty right now, as our vocabulary and grammar is a bit rusty. Some students have never read Greek out loud while others, like me, have done ample amounts.

Our textual criticism and Intro to Theology classes seem to be quite heavy on the readings with minimal assignments. Which is great except that the final exams are worth 60-80% of the course grade… Let the note taking begin 🙂

In Ecumenical Creeds we’ll be studying the importance and history of Christian Creeds, as well as their function in the church.  As far as assignments go, this course has quite a few. First up is memorizing the Apostles’ Creed (done) and the Nicene Creed (working on it), we also have to know the outline of the Athanasian Creed and its main points. In early November we will be tested on our knowledge of the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Days 1-31 (I’ve learned up to 11 so far). Final we have to write a 4000 word research paper addressing an aspect or article of a creed. I think I will look at the history of the descendit, (He descended into Hell), but I’m not totally sure right now.

We also have a Sermon Session which meets for a two hour block on Wednesdays. Freshman don’t prepare any sermons in the first semester thankfully, so it is basically an opportunity to think critically about the structure and delivery of a sermon. To help with this we have a public speaking workshop once a semester. In two or three weeks I’ll by taking the opportunity to tell about an event that happened to me in the past. I’ve already started working on that assignment and have decided to right about a minor car accident I was in a few years ago.

Our first Intro to Ministry and Mission class will be on Monday. I suspect that it will have a similar structure to the Ecumenical Creeds course. Overall it’s been a very exciting week. I’ve really enjoyed the reading assignments and am looking forward to the weeks to come.

In my Reading I came across a nice quote by John Calvin that I thought was relevant

“Let us show ourselves to be such disciples as our Lord wishes to have – poor, empty, and void of self wisdom; eager to learn but knowing nothing, and even wishing to know nothing but what He has taught[.]” – John Calvin, Psychopannychia


Depending on God

(I can’t remember where exactly I found this prayer)

O Jesus Christ, Thou Son of the Blessed, Lamb of God, Which takest away the sins of the world : In Thy all-sufficient merits alone we trust for the remission of our sins. Through the Blood of Thy Cross we hope for peace with God, for strength against the powers of darkness, for safety, and help, and salvation ; the communion of Thy Holy Spirit here, and everlasting bliss with Thee hereafter. In Thy unfathomable grace, and the unsearchable depths of Thy love, is our trust. In Thy Name standeth our help. Have mercy on all broken hearts, and heal them ; all struggling with temptation, and rescue them ; all fainting in despair, and raise them up. Have mercy on all that groan beneath their sins ; on all that fall away from Thee ; on all that waver in their faith, and stablish, strengthen, settle them. O Blessed Jesus, Who didst shed Thy Blood for our souls to save them, shed Thy Holy Spirit upon all, and heal them. Have mercy on all in misery, or peril, or pain. Preserve them, Thou Who didst on earth so mercifully relieve and succour the distressed. Thou God of all help and comfort, take us to Thy tender care, and save and succour both our bodies and our souls. Thou that didst redeem us all, keep us for ever Thine, we pray Thee, for Thine infinite mercy’s sake ; and keep us in the love of God, until we come with all the multitude of Thy redeemed saints to those eternal mansions which Thou hast prepared in the kingdom of Thy Father. Bring us in Thine own good time to share Thy glory, and to praise Thee, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, One God for evermore. Amen.

New Beginnings

I’m about to begin, if the Lord is willing, four years of graduate level education as I study at a Theological College. I’ve moved across the country and away from almost all my friends and family. It’s certainly a daunting time for me and also quite stressful. I definitely don’t feel prepared to pick up my Hebrew and Greek, or memorize the Heidelberg Catechism. I thought I would be one of the older people in my class but it turns out that at 25 I might be the youngest (there’s one student I haven’t met yet). The other students are married, some have one or two children, and are in a different place in life. Even though they’ve also moved and had to leave friends behind, they also took a support group with them. I’m somewhat envious of their situation.

There’s also a bit of excitement as I look forward to digging deep into God’s word. Each day at school the focus will now be on how to better understand, interpret, and apply God’s word to my own life and the lives of others. What a prospect!

Tonight is convocation, I’ve been asked to help usher and seat people. It’s a good opportunity for me to meet new people, something which I would rather not do but at the same time want and need to do. Then we have our new student orientation day on Monday, followed by a BBQ. Finally on Tuesday regular classes begin. So it will be an exciting, daunting, and whirlwind of a weekend! And as I’m about to begin a new journey I’ve been reflecting on Psalm 121, a psalm traditional used by travelers on their way to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem.


I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.



You are Worthy

‘You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created and have their being.’

I confess Father that I am unworthy of the grace you have shown me, for I have sinned against you once more this day. I cling only to the sacrifice of Christ and the pouring out of his blood. Wash me clean of my sins, purge me with hyssop that I would be clean. Enable me by your Spirit to live a life of thankfulness to you. As a child loves his earthly father, so help me to love you my Heavenly Father.

Luther on Self Righteousness

“Whenever we, on the ground of our righteousness, wisdom, or power, are haughty or angry with those who are unrighteous, foolish, or less powerful than we . . . —and this is the greatest perversion—righteousness works against righteousness, wisdom against wisdom, power against power. For you are powerful, not that you may make the weak weaker by oppression, but that you may make them powerful by raising them up and defending them. You are wise, not in order to laugh at the foolish and thereby make them more foolish, but that you may undertake to teach them as you yourself would wish to be taught. You are righteous that you may vindicate and pardon the unrighteous, not that you may only condemn, disparage, judge, and punish. For this is Christ’s example for us, as he says, ‘For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him’ (John 3:17). He further says in Luke 9:55-56, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of; for the Son of man came not to destroy men’s lives but to save them.'” Martin Luther

Error and Truth

“Error, indeed is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced more true than truth itself.”
― Irenaeus of Lyons

Rise Up

“Why believe the devil instead of believing God? Rise up and realize the truth about yourself – that all the past has gone, and you are one with Christ, and all your sins have been blotted out once and for ever. O let us remember that it is sin to doubt God’s Word. It is sin to allow the past, which God has dealt with, to rob us of our joy and our usefulness in the present and in the future.” —Martyn Lloyd-Jones