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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Reflections on Reading and Studying This Fall

Reading hasn't always been a part of my life. Actually, I never read a book until my first year of college. No one in my family reads, and all my friends growing up were jocks like me who didn't want to squander the summer sunshine sitting inside with my head in some book which I knew would be boring me to sleep. Thankfully, the Lord instilled in my heart and mind a love for learning and yes, reading. I feel like I have a ton of catching up to do as I talk with many other brothers who have had a lifelong training and theological education. There are so many areas of my learning that I feel totally inadequate to speak about, but I am slowly catching on (hopefully). Last week, I received all my syllabi and began planning out the semester (what and when to read books, mapping out deadlines, structuring my week, etc.). As usual, some classes demand more reading than others. This year, from what I understand, there is a reading limit for professors which peaks at 1200 pages per class. My guess this might be due to a few classes from last semester (such as Schreiner's NT theology which had 2000+ pages and Wright's English Puritanism which had 12 textbooks plus a reader which article entries, some which were entire Puritan paperbacks xeroxed!). Anyway, it looks like I will be spending about 20-25 hours a week reading if everything goes according to schedule. I am a really slow reader, so I might need a little more time than the average student. :) Anyway, because I have planned on doing this and at the request of William Turner, below is my class schedule. Also, because I am lazy and don't feel like putting all the bib details of each book, I took a picture of my shelf of class textbooks. Of course, there are some there that I added from my personal library to include for supplemental reading as well as a few for additional study. If you click on the picture, it should enlarge so you can read the binding. My classes this fall are: 1. Personal Evangelism with Dr. Beougher 2. Christianity in a Postmodern and Pluralistic Society with Dr. Wellum 3. Greek Syntax and Exegesis with Dr. Pennington 4. Introduction to Biblical Counseling with Dr. Scott My book reads for this fall: And, as a bonus, I thought I'd share another pic from a shelf comprised of some of my research for the "omnibenevolence" of God. I will continue to read and post in the future as I have time. So here it is (click on image): Finally, I have chosen to study and address the position of universalism and hell for personal research. I have my reasons, which I plan on sharing in the near future. My personal research during seminary has been as follows: Fall 2004: Anti-intellectualism and Open Theism Spring 2005: Exclusivism and Theology Proper Fall 2005: Inclusivism and Emerging Church movement Spring 2006: Providence and Religious Pluralism Fall 2006: Universalism and Hell So that is where I am in a nutshell. As I am nearing completion of my bibliography work on religious pluralism, I will post it soon. I hope it will be helpful for many who are interested in responding to pluralism in our times. It will be my largest bibliography work to date, currently having 450+ entries. If you are a student of a college or seminary, I would be interested in your classes. If not and you are currently reading/studying, please share what book(s) you are/plan on reading.


Blogger Timmy said...

I just realized that one BIG book I left out for class reading is D.A. Carson's The Gagging of God.

It doesn't matter anyway since I couldn't fit it on the shelf, but thought I'd make the correction.

8/19/2006 06:56:00 AM

Blogger Rich Clark said...

That's interesting, it looks like we have Greek together.

8/19/2006 07:45:00 AM

Blogger Timmy said...


Dr. Pennington might teach more than one syntax class. If he does, my class time is from 2:30-3:45 Tuesday and Thursday.

I sit in the back right and usually mess up when called to translate in class . . . :)

8/19/2006 12:04:00 PM

Blogger Stephen Newell said...

After getting to see how meticulously you've planned things out, I'll be sure to give ya a lot of prayer, bro. But I'm also sure you'll be able to do a lot of stuff in a good amount of time. We may not like saying this, but when I see stuff like that, I can't help but think "God helps those who help themselves." I know, shoot me now before I fall into heresy!

8/19/2006 12:18:00 PM

Blogger T said...

Timmy, this Autumn I'll be doing Arabic, Coptic, Greek Palaeography, Second Temple Judaism, and continuing work on my thesis.

8/19/2006 03:15:00 PM

Blogger T said...

By the way, we don't actually have 'classes'. These are all voluntary attendance (some people come and never go to a single class, and just work on the DPhil thesis the whole time, which in my opinion contributes to a myopia of the worst kind!...I like to stay broad even while narrowing on my thesis...its probably more than anything due to the fact that I know so little about stuff I should have learned long time ago!)

8/19/2006 03:17:00 PM

Blogger Rich Clark said...

Yep, that's the same class. I'm the guy with the spiky hair on the right near the front.

And by the grace of God I have yet to be called on in class. Greek is infinitely more intimidating than any classroom experience I've had so far.

8/19/2006 03:18:00 PM

Blogger Mathew Sims said...

I will be at Geneva Reformed Seminary this Fall (a small seminary in Greenville, SC) and will be taking Systematic Theology, Hebrews & the General Epistles, Early Church History, Greek, & Homiletics.

Soli Deo Gloria

8/19/2006 04:52:00 PM

Blogger Timmy said...


Have you made it to the point where you have determined your thesis yet? If so, do you mind sharing it?

I heard Arabic was quite tough. I remember Dr. Gentry talking about how many cases and irregular forms of the verb. I would like to learn Arabic and Farsi, especially since my roots are there. Actually, my family also speaks Assyrian but had to learn Farsi and some Arabic while living in Iran.

Second Temple Judaism eh? Will you be going through the two-volume set of Justification and Variegated Nomism? If not, what would be some other good resources to consider?

8/19/2006 09:01:00 PM

Blogger Timmy said...


I look forward to meeting you in person (and hearing your translations in class!). No really, I feel your apprehensiveness man. Oh, and I am thinkinga about posting some stuff from Young's book that I liked which had to do with hermeneutic and exegesis from the first section. I though some of the things he said was helpful. See you in class Tuesday. :)

8/19/2006 09:03:00 PM

Blogger Timmy said...


Six classes?! Wow, dude there is no way I could hack that. Kudos for your diligence in your studies.

Do you mind sharing what your textbooks are for Systematic and Hermeneutics? I am always curious what other profs are using these days . . .

Thanks man.

8/19/2006 09:06:00 PM

Blogger blake white said...

Say man, did someone assign 'Missional Church' or are you just reading it on your own?

8/19/2006 11:08:00 PM

Blogger ColinM said...

I am at Southwestern, and will be taking Apologetics with William Dembski, Baptist Heritage with Berry Driver, and, if they let me in, New Testament Greek with John Taylor (which I believe is the same as your syntax class-not sure). If any of you guys see BRandon Wright in your class, tell him "Hyde Park is the most Calvinist church in Austin." Tell me his response.

8/19/2006 11:52:00 PM

Blogger T said...

Timmy, Yes I've heard Arabic is tough. We'll see. I've a sufficient background now in Semitics, though, so it should flow. By the way, Farsi is in the books for next year. When you say your fam speaks Assyrian, do you mean the same language as the Syriac Christian community? If so, that would rock because Syriac has become my new favourite language!

I won't be reading any Justification or anything. My readings in Second Temple Judaism will be strictly Jewish. I'm trying to read them in their words. I'll be reading lots of Talmudic and Midrashic works (both are in Hebrew and Aramaic, albeit a later Hebrew than in the OT), as well as more history on the Hellenisation of the Jewish World. If you want to read good history that gives you a background of that world, before reading something like the more evangelical treatments of it, you should read an easy intro like 'The Jews from Alexander to Herod' by Russell. its short and very good on history, plus it has a nice section on intertestamental literature of the period and helps you see how Jewish thought was evolving between Malachi and the time of Christ. Somewhat more complicated is Martin Hengel's 'Judaism and Hellenism'. But both of these are good background. If anything is clear in studying Second Temple Judaism, we must understand the extent to which Hellenism exerted its influence on the Jewish thought of the period.

As for my thesis (get ready to snooze), I am working on evaluating several Jewish revisions of the Books of Kings that were made during this period in the Greek language, and one in Syriac. This will help us to see how they were doing exegesis in that day (bc all translation is interpretation), what parts of the more established Hebrew text they thought needed improvement, why they thought they needed to be improved, and it will also help us to see what form(s) of the text were in use in the early Christian church.

Asleep yet?

8/20/2006 02:40:00 AM

Blogger Stephen Newell said...

I haven't exactly planned out my reading now that I'm an academically free man. *shamelessly brandishes newly acquired M.Div.*

But after we talked on the shuttle at work Friday, and starting to plan out my work needs for church, it hit me that I'm gonna need to plan out my reading as well, especially if I want to get at least 100 pages a day like I said on the blog the other day. So you've encouraged me to at least start thinking about it.

Suffice it to say that I'm reading Riddlebarger's The Man of Sin and have only really decided that the next book off the shelf will be J. I. Packer's Knowing God.

8/20/2006 04:47:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am praising the Lord that I am not a seminary student this semester (I just finished up in May)! One book I am currently reading is David Wells' "No Place for Truth." I just finished John Piper's "Contending For Our All." And I will be doing my best to keep up with my Greek (favorite subject) and Hebrew as a part of my regular studies. Soli Deo Gloria!

8/20/2006 07:01:00 PM

Blogger Timmy said...


Nah, just been meaning to read it for some time now. Thought I'd put it in the stack of missional literature I am hoping to get around to inbetween class textbooks. I also have Bosch's Transforming Mission and the additional reader which I think would compliment the study well.

8/20/2006 10:40:00 PM

Blogger Timmy said...


Indeed, I do believe Assyrian is Syriac if not really similar with it. I have to check with Dr. Gentry about that. We discussed it some time ago after class. My mother and family grew up in a village where they learned other languages such as Turk along with Farsi and Assyrian. English was her 5th language.

Concerning 2nd Temple Judaism and Hellenism, the only book I have read is Nash's The Gospel and the Greeks which does not deal with the intertestamental period as much as it does early patristics. I remember you saying that you were interested in the Kings before you headed out. Are you looking to do some work on the Hexapla or textual criticism of the LXX in the Kings?

8/20/2006 10:54:00 PM

Blogger Timmy said...

@ Scott,

It's great to hear you keeping up on your studies, especially the languages. For many, I assume that the hours spent in cultivating and growing in proficiency in languages is not efficient enough for our pragmatic church models, but I cannot think of more important tools for the primary task of preaching and teaching in the local church. Keep it up bro.!

@ Stephen,

100 pages a day? That's a load definitely. My problem with reading is I am too ADD to sit still long enough to read that much in one sitting. I have to get up and do some burpees or something . . .

8/20/2006 11:00:00 PM

Blogger Mathew Sims said...

Well the Greek is a no credit refresher class b/c I took Greek undergrad about five years ago.

Systematic Theology we are using Reymond's and Berkhoff's and hermeneutics I am not sure yet.

What texts are you guys using?

Soli Deo Gloria

8/21/2006 08:13:00 AM

Blogger Timmy said...


For systematic, most profs give you the option of using either Erickson or Grudem for the primary text. They compliment that will usually 3-4 other required readings, depending on what particular doctrines are covered.

I am not sure what books are using in Hermeneutics. I will try to check the bookstore out on that one.

8/21/2006 12:45:00 PM

Blogger Stephen Newell said...

Burpees? Dang. If that's what I think it is, you should have met my former roommate and had a contest. If it isn't what I think it is, I'll just walk away slowly and let you pretend I didn't say anything. *wink*

8/21/2006 04:30:00 PM


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