Friday, July 16, 2021

A Big Mistake I Made in Seminary (But Not the Only One)

When I was in seminary I made a bunch of mistakes. One of the worst had to do with Biblical Hebrew. There were two main teachers of Hebrew at Talbot at that time. One of them was Dr. Charles Feinberg. Yes, THE Charles Feinberg. He was a real expert in Hebrew but he rode his students hard, as in VERY hard. Getting an A in his class was unheard of. But you learned Hebrew. The other prof (whom we'll call Dr. G) was known on campus as a Pushover. You took him if you wanted an easy A. The problem was, you never learned Hebrew. Class time was spent listening to Dr. G. tell jokes.

So who to take?

I chose Dr. G. Big mistake. Yes, I got an A. But I learned no Hebrew. Even the tests were open book. Why did I make this huge mistake? Was it because I was on an academic scholarship that required straight A's from me? Or was it because I was a lazy beach bum from Hawaii who always took the easier road in life? Either way, the sad truth was that years later I had to teach myself how to read Biblical Hebrew. Happy to say I do read Hebrew quite a bit these days, though mostly in one of my three Hebrew New Testaments (shhh, don't tell anyone). I regret not taking Dr. Feinberg for Hebrew. Even then I knew I should have. The harder road was the better road by far.

I'm consistently awed at what the Lord did in my life while I was seminary despite my foolish choices. I learned my lesson from taking Dr. G. From then on, I had no interest in just getting by. It was mastery or nothing. Yes, there were incredibly difficult courses after that. But I was happy that I didn't give up. My seminary experience ended up being an inspiring, challenging, and rewarding adventure.