Scripture and Seminary

Rightly Handle the Bible

The Bible can be intimidating for those of us without years of study or a seminary degree. We know how to read it, but can be left scratching our heads at how to correctly interpret the text. How do we make sense of different genres and cultural references? How does every book relate to the biblical story as a whole? What if we want to dig deeper? 

In two videos from The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference, Mark Mellinger sits down with Carrie Sandom to talk about Christ-centered approach to biblical interpretation and then Jenny Salt to discuss the value of women in seminary. Carrie Sandom is an author and the Associate Minister for Women at St. John’s Church in Tunbridge Wells, UK. Jenny Salt serves as the Dean of Students at Sydney Missionary and Bible College in Sydney, Australia. 

How do you approach the Bible—confident, intimidated, knowledgeable, hesitant, eager, enthusiastic? Why? What motivates or inspires your study of Scripture?
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What has been your experience studying Scripture? What tools or methods have helped you grow in your understanding of context, literary styles, etc.?
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In addition to understanding culture and genre, Carrie talked about the importance of interpreting biblical passages in light of the whole story of redemption. She takes a Christocentric approach by asking these questions of every passage:

  1. What do I learn about God?
  2. How does it point to Lord Jesus? 
  3. What is the response for me today?

How might this interpretive method change your approach the text? How does it challenge you and encourage you?
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Carrie offered two helpful books for biblical interpretation:
  • God’s Big Picture by Vaughan Roberts
  • Dig Deeper by Nigel Beynon and Andrew Sach 

Maybe you feel comfortable with the Bible, but want to go even deeper in your study. Maybe you want a more comprehensive handle on Scripture and theology so you can teach it to other women. In this video, Jenny Salt talks about the value of seminary education for women.  

What is your perception of seminary study? Women in seminary? How did you form those perceptions?
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Jenny had no end goal in mind when she started seminary, she simply wanted to know the Bible better. Have you ever considered taking seminary classes? Why or why not? If yes, what might be holding you back right now—life stage, family, time, cost, career, location? Could it be an option in the future?
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Though seminary may not be for you, how could you benefit from a more comprehensive knowledge of the Bible and theology? How might learning to love God with your mind impact your study of Scripture and spiritual life?
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Though seminary is not for everyone, the Bible—the revelation of God, His a great love story of redemption—is for all. May we trust in the interpretive methods of those in leadership. May we be faithful to seek the Lord in our study and ask Him for insight and understanding. 

For more information about The Gospel Coalition, click here