Many of the rural pastors have not gone to seminary. Many have learned from tradition. Many have followed the pattern of rural church leadership and followed the same pattern, often a pattern of bad theology. I know, I was one of them. I don’t believe it is purposeful or intentional. There are many seminaries online for a bi-vocational rural pastor to learn. Many are not challenging enough and lack personal mentoring. Listening to a lecture and taking a quiz may not challenge you enough to think critically. Seminaries should challenge young men to sharpen their skills to better teach the Scripture for which they are responsible for preaching. Lacking such an attitude of this approach will only produce bad doctrine.
Learning the languages of the Bible is difficult. It is especially difficult for those who work a full time job, pastor a church, have a family and trying to get their degree. That’s a full load for anyone. My goal for Greek is simple. I want a working knowledge of the language. I wanted to know how to read the NT in Greek and say the words. I wanted to know why those words meant different English words, known as the semantic range. Why? So I could say those words form the pulpit and look educated? No, a thousand times no. The reason was to explain when necessary to meaning for the word in English and why it was used by the biblical writers. Knowing this has been such a blessing in my own personal Bible study. I rarely use this multiple times in a sermon but when it in necessary I see the honoring of God’s word.
For example, I was preparing a message from Mark 8:34-38 where Jesus told Peter to “pick up a cross” in order to follow and be disciple. I studied the word cross from the Greek Lexicon, how it was used, why it was used and the meaning of the word cross. It meant much more to Peter and the disciples than it may mean to us today. Being able to use the tools of a Greek Lexicon, a Greek NT and resources available as to why the word was used and what it meant was a blessing. I ran the word and its reference on how many times in appeared in the Greek NT to see the other instances it was translated. I love God’s word and the ability to read, learn and share this.