When Dr. Eckhard Schnabel advises students who are trying to decide which degree to pursue, he almost always suggests the Master of Divinity degree. As he explains, "it's a general degree that forces students to learn something about everything, because in ministry we never know what will happen and what kind of task we'll be asked to fulfill."
In this video, he explains why he gives such advice: Exegesis is important, because everything boils down to "What does the Bible say?"; learning Church history is not only a duty, but also a necessity in terms of pastoral ministry, because we learn what worked and didn't work; systematic theology teaches us how to have a unified approach to what Christian's believe about certain topics; pastoral ministry classes help apply what we learn to preaching, counseling, mission, and evangelism.
As someone who holds the M.Div. and is in vocational ministry, I concur with each of Schnabel's reasons as to why students should pursue this degree. I'm a better teacher because I have a background in the languages, exegesis, and theology. I'm a better pastor because I have the ministry, pastoral care, and counseling background, too.
I echo Schnabel's closing advice to current M.Div. students: "Learn as much as possible and take the pursuit of that knowledge seriously."
-Jeremy Bouma ThM (@bouma)
"My Advice to Students" is a weekly video series designed to advise and guide students who are studying for a future of ministry in the Church, whether in the academy or in congregations. In these specially curated videos, leading scholars of biblical studies share their seasoned wisdom to help you navigate this important season of preparation.
Can't see the video? Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMACkAPOrNM