I finsihed my first semester of seminary work yesterday 12/14. I took my Greek Exegesis final (from my class with NT scholar Bill Klein) at 7:15AM yesterday; it was killer! All in all it was a good semester for developing skills in my Greek New Testament.
Similarly, my Gospel and Acts class (taught by Craig Blomberg) was enjoyable (though his final on Thursday was also quite challenging). In class and in his book, Blomberg does a nice job interpreting the Biblical text without any outside systematic theology (Calvinism, Ariminianism, Dispensationalism, etc.) determining the final outcomes. He does have a strong Baptist-bent, but this used to be a Baptist seminary so one shouldn't be surprised.
My remaining classes were a class on Teaching and Learning, an introduction to biblical interpretation, and a 1-credit class on spritual formation. It's been a rich blessing to be at Denver Seminary these last four months. I have met good friends, and I have been blessed by gifted intructors.
To celebrate, I read (that is by my own choosing!!) a small book called, "A Little Exercise for Young Theologians," by Helmut Thielecke. This book came from a lecture he gave to young theologians over 40 years ago in the thick of German theological education. He makes a number of key points. First, a first year theology student is like a first year choral student at a music conservatory. The gifted singer goes off to the conservatory to become a more mature performer. In that first year, the new exercises,acquired skills and knowledge seem to have a negative effect. The singer may not "sound" as gifted as when they begun, but it is only because the training is not complete. Similarly, a young theolgian is pushed intellectually and unfortunately, we young theolgians understand far more than what we are actually practicing in our own lives.
Thielecke puts this succinctly, "There is a hiatus between the arena of the young theologian's own spiritual growth and what he already knows intellectuarlly about this arena."
Likewise, a geologist knows rocks well. They study all the intricacies, perform experiments, and memorize scienific theories. But until they climb a mountain and smell the beautiful air, they knowledge is severly stunted. Young theologians (like geologists) must experience the world and the church before they can ever think their intellect on theological matters has substance.