What makes a good biblical scholar or theologian? What advice would I give students—or have given myself 10 years ago—looking into advanced degrees? For those who are interested or who just compulsively read this blog, here are five suggestions amid...
I think the answer to that question can only be measured based on output. Good scholars can be recognized either through their writing or through their teaching.
I took the first steps of my journey to becoming a biblical scholar because I believed, as I still do, that the Bible is the Word of God, and that as a person of faith, I had an obligation to listen to its words and submit to its authority.
A good theologian knows what they are doing and why they are doing it, asking the vocational questions of what it means to be a theologian and what it means to do their task well. A good theologian keeps these questions close at hand, since they...
My most salient advice for biblical scholars and theologians is: be aware of the diversity of your discipline, and work hard toward inculcating permeable boundaries for the disciplinary city. Those marginal spaces in the discipline are essential for...
“Humility, faith, faithfulness, worship.”
A good biblical scholar brings the text to life.
From my perspective, a good biblical scholar is someone who is immersed in the primary sources, has a firm grasp of the history of the discipline, and communicates clearly with and listens to the voices of others.
Plenty of curiosity, along with a good measure of endurance (and occasionally guts) to carry it out.
Peter Malik, Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Kirchliche Hochschule Wuppertal/Bethel, Germany
This is a complex question because it requires an attribution of value, which can vary from person to person and generation to generation. But that’s exactly my first point. A good theologian or biblical scholar effectively communicates the...
Tom Holland, Tom Wright and the Search for Truth: A Theological Evaluation (London: Apiary Publishing), 2017. Pp. 495. by Don Garlington This full-sized volume consists of thirteen chapters: (1) “Probing the Contours of Recent Research;” (2)...
For me, what makes a good biblical scholar or theologian is putting all your cards on the table.
The last few weeks saw numerous job offerings in all subdisciplines at institutions around the world, from South Africa to Belgium, Denver to Latvia.
Short answer: Honesty.
Faithfulness without fearfulness.
~Timothy Larsen, McManis Professor Christian Thought, Wheaton College
Sometimes you just need four concise points to deliver a compelling message. Paul Sloan does that for us in this week’s edition of “What makes a good biblical scholar or theologian?”
It’s hard to give a one-word answer that doesn’t sound trite. I’ll offer a hyphenated cheat: “confident-humility.” Biblical scholarship requires a willingness to keep every question on the table and to listen to others...
Persistence. Dealing with failure and rejection are inherent parts of the academic game, be it in journal submissions, book proposals, conference papers, job applications, grant applications, fellowships, awards, or promotion.
“Sympathy, curiosity, industry, creativity, intentionality, honesty, and responsibility.”
In my experience, it is the ability to listen that makes a great biblical scholar.
I’ve always valued a quote from Luther: “It’s not reading books that makes a theologian, but living, dying, and being damned”!
~Rev Dr Walter Moberly, Professor of Theology and Biblical Interpretation, University of Durham
One thing that makes a good scholar is the ability to be an original thinker. In one sense, this means the ability to approach problems from new angles. In another, but related, sense, this means the ability to see the edifice of a scholarly...
Collaboration, curiosity, endurance, creativity, passion, courage (willing to challenge stubborn consenses), and dedication. Many of the virtues of a good detective!
A good biblical scholar realizes that others are smarter than he is.
Editor’s note: Crispin Fletcher-Louis has disrupted our normal series on “What makes a good Biblica Scholar or Theologian?” with a title of his own making. We’ll let it slide, because his advice is just that good. Enjoy the...
A good biblical scholar is discerning. This discernment is exercised at key points in the research process. First, a good scholar chooses worthwhile research projects to invest time in. Time is a limited commodity, so choosing the right project is...
Humility: Submit your work on the text and invite the critique and examination of others without defensiveness. Others help to improve your contribution.