Studies and Devotion

If I really wanted to develop a "readership" of this blog, I would spend time thinking through a specific audience and only write entries that applied to that specific group of people. But because I don't care a great deal who (if anyone) reads my blog I tend to write about whatever is on my mind - and from time to time what I write won't appeal or apply to you. For those of you who aren't seminary students or pastors, today is going to be one of those days. 


I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago with a friend's son who is going to Dallas Seminary this fall. He asked some advice about professors and classes and had some general questions about seminary life. One of the questions he asked is one that relates to advice I hear from pastors and professors all the time. He asked, "How do you keep your 'quiet time' separate from your studies?"

Lots of people advise pastors and seminary students to have a time of personal devotion which is entirely separate from their Bible study time as it relates to a class or a sermon. 

I think that's a bunch of hooey. 

I'll go a step further: I think it's extremely dangerous advice. 

If you treat your sermon study or seminary study as an academic exercise which is separate from your worship and devotional life, you are treading dangerous ground. In fact, a lot of pastors and seminary students lose their faith at some point in their studies or ministries because they forget that God is a God who should be worshiped, not just studied. If we ever approach Scripture without a heart of worship and devotion or without a desire toward obedience, we miss the point of Scripture altogether.

All Bible study should draw us closer to God. It should all be an act of devotion and worship whether you are reading it for the sheer enjoyment of being with God or to better understand a specific branch of theological thought. 

If pastors and seminary students want to set apart a time of reading Scripture for personal enjoyment apart from the need presented by an upcoming paper deadline or Sunday morning sermon, so be it. But let that be in addition to the time of personal devotion they enjoy while writing the paper or sermon. Academics and worship should never be separated.