What I’m studying

I said a while back that I’d post up a little bit about what I’m studying. It might be useful for anyone who’s considering studying at Oak Hill, or it might just be interesting if you’re wondering what an ordinand (i.e., someone studying Theological and Pastoral Studies) actually does!

Here’s a rough guide to the courses we’re doing:

  • New Testament Greek. Every TPS student at Oak Hill studies Greek, at least, they do if they come in in the first year. I don’t think you have to do it the whole time, but you do at least have to do it some of the time. I’m really enjoying it so far – although I don’t think I’m a natural languages person, I feel like I’m beginning to gradually get the hang of NT Greek after a few weeks. It’s hard work, but I think Greek isn’t too bad in that you get a much quicker payoff than with Hebrew!
  • Cultural Exegesis. This is a really interesting module: what is culture? How do we understand what’s going on – and, more importantly, how do we interpret it from a Christian perspective? Of all the modules we’re doing this year, this is probably the one I’m finding most interesting. We have to write an essay for this on a cultural artefact, which is pretty much licence to write an essay on virtually anything in the modern world: as long as it is the product of culture in some respects, you can analyse it. I’ve been thinking about writing an essay on smartphones, or something a bit more specific (i.e. smartphones and relationships).
  • Pastoral Leadership. This is about the practicalities of actually leading a church. I’m finding this another very interesting course, partly because I’ve not done anything like that before! We had a seminar this week on how pastoring works in different sized churches, which was fascinating.
  • Biblical Theology. This is a course which is trying to put the Bible into its proper theological perspective – how it relates to systematic theology, how we need to see the Bible as a coherent whole. Similar to some studying I’ve done with the Moore Course before, but worthwhile nonetheless!
  • Creation and the Doctrine of Humanity. I must admit, I found this module a bit hard to grasp to start with, but as of today it has really started to click. I can see the relevance that it has to us, and I’m looking forward to doing the rest of the course.
  • The Word of God. This is a module where various lecturers from different areas tell us about their particular specialities regarding the Word of God. We started with Mike Ovey giving a sort of Bible overview, and we’ve spent the last couple of weeks with someone else looking at the Old Testament – specifically, about archaeological evidence and various criticisms of it such as the Documentary Hypothesis.

Also, all students are doing a course on “Theological Reflection”, but I will talk about that some other time.

So… that’s a whistlestop tour of where I’m at in terms of my course! Let me know if you’d like me to go into anything further and I’ll do my best to explain some of it. Explaining things I think would definitely help me to get my head around the material at least!

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