Starting Seminary with Jennifer Guo

Hi, my name is Jennifer Guo and a few weeks ago I started the Jennifer GuoMDiv program at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Logos asked me to chronicle my seminary experience, so this blog series will be an account of all aspects of my seminary journey, from the interesting discoveries I make using Logos, to stimulating things I’m learning, to my personal experiences as an MDiv student. Here’s a bit about how I got here and what my first semester looks like.

Though I have been serving consistently in ministry—and reading voraciously in biblical and theological studies for the majority of my ten years as a Christian—I never felt called to pursue vocational ministry or formal theological education until recently. The call to seminary came just as I had settled into a career in finance using my MS in accountancy, making the decision to pursue seminary a very scary step for me. Getting here has been a journey of faith, and I have been learning to trust God in new ways.

But it hasn’t all been gloom and doom! The process has been fun and exciting as I anticipate studying with many of the scholars who line my bookshelves. Once it became clear to me that I was supposed to be at TEDS, I decided to teach myself beginning Greek to try to test into NT Greek Exegesis I. Usually students without undergraduate Greek coursework take eight credit hours of beginning Greek that don’t count as graduate credits and are not part of the degree programs. However, I hoped to test right into exegesis because it would save a lot of money and would also enable me to start NT canon courses sooner.

Before choosing my study materials for my Greek self-study, I briefly considered the debates about Greek pedagogy and pronunciation; while I could see the advantages of a living language approach and Modern or Reconstructed Koine pronunciation, I decided to go traditional and use Mounce’s classic The Basics of Biblical Greek Basics of Greek(both the grammar and the workbook). Then it was just a matter of disciplined study and consistent review. I would have also liked to work through Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, but I didn’t have the time; thus I was very nervous about the exam and felt inadequately prepared.

When I received the results of the placement exam three days before the semester started I was thrilled—not only did I pass but I tested into Dr. Constantine Campbell’s exegesis sequence. TEDS has a stellar NT faculty and it would be a great privilege to study Greek under any of them, but I was particularly excited about the opportunity to study NT Greek from a cutting-edge scholar in the field.

My schedule this semester comprises a veritable “who’s who” of contemporary biblical and theological scholarship: in addition to NT Greek Exegesis with Dr. Campbell I’m also taking Systematic Theology I with Kevin Vanhoozer, Biblical Theology and Interpretation with D. A. Carson, American Church History with Scott Manetsch, and Elementary Hebrew. But it’s also a great time to be at Trinity in general: the school recently received a $1 million grant to launch the Center for Transformational Churches as well as a $3.4 million grant to study the doctrine of creation within evangelical theology. Additionally, this year’s Kantzer Lectures in Revealed Theology entitled “God, Evil, and Possibility” will be delivered by Henri Blocher.

I look forward to sharing with you some of what I’m reading, learning, and experiencing over the course of the next three years. If you’d like to connect with me elsewhere, you can follow me on Twitter and check out my personal blog.

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