Is There a Doctor in the House? An Insider's Story and Advice on Becoming a Bible Scholar
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Number of Pages: 160
Publication Date: 2011
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)|
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Many people assume that becoming a serious student of the Bible merely requires diligent study of English Bible translations, but biblical scholarship is much more complex. Is There a Doctor in the House? demonstrates what it takes to be a responsible Bible teacher, a well-published Bible scholar, or even a good student of the Bible: exacting knowledge of biblical languages and the languages in which most Bible scholarship is done; a love for history and archaeology; a sensitivity for literature and literary genres; and an understanding of theology, ethics, and ancient religions and philosophies. In one sense, every Bible scholar has to be a general practitionerthe foundation of biblical scholarship must be both broad and well built. Through the course of this book, Witherington invites would-be Bible experts to pursue excellence for the sake of the Bibles world-altering message. From students considering a Ph.D. to lay Bible teachers, Is There a Doctor in the House? promises to be an informative, engaging, and often humorous resource.
Witherington takes readers through the process of choosing a doctoral program, both overseas and in America, and he devotes a whole chapter to exploring the sacrifices that an individual, his or her spouse, and family members might have to make in the pursuit of such a calling. He challenges the notion that all you need to study and teach the Bible is a copy of the Scriptures and uses 2 Timothy 2:15 to affirm careful and serious biblical study. "Consider this book," he says, "an invitation to strive to become an expert student or teacher or scholar of the Bible."
Witherington helps readers understand this by introducing them to a diverse range of issues and skills that are important for any Bible student to learn, including a working knowledge of biblical and scholarly languages, history and archaeology, literature, and, of course, theology, ethics, and ancient religions and philosophies.
Divided into eleven chapters, it also comes with an exploratory diagram called "The Illustrated Guide to a Ph.D.," as well as two appendices, which provide further and more in-depth reading. The chapters are broken into focused sections that provide a clear road map for easy and fast-paced reading, and each chapter ends with Witherington's own insightful and cleverly penned poetry. He uses personal anecdotes, advice from scholars such as John Wesley, and a great deal of Scripture to illustrate and develop his points, which he ties together with his humor and wit. Faithful to his convictions, he remains gracious and fair in his presentation of other schools of thought. Witherington is particular throughout his book to say that "research by a Christian is never done just for its own sake, or even just to advance knowledge in a given field. It is done in service to the Lord and to his church."
Witherington is considered one of the top evangelical scholars and has written more than 40 books, including The Brother of Jesus, The Jesus Quest, and The Gospel Code. He is currently a professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. Is There a Doctor in the House? is a work of entertaining, perceptive, and practical information that will benefit any who read it, especially if they are looking for direction and advice on the road toward biblical scholarship. Stephanie Warner, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
JacobLouisville, KYAge: 25-34Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5Prospective PhD Students: Read This!October 3, 2011JacobLouisville, KYAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 4Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5As a graduate of a Bible college and now student at a seminary, I find myself in many conversations about doctoral work. The seminary environment encourages scholastic achievement. I think that is a good thing. Theological education is so essential for a life of service in pastoral ministry. I believe that pursuing excellence in biblical literacy, theological acumen and pastoral care are pursuits worthy of lifelong devotion.
But what about doctoral work? Who should pursue a PhD? What costs are involved? How do you choose the best school/program? Those of us who are considering doctoral work or are convinced to pursue it would do well to listen to the advice of one who has successfully completed a PhD and helped many others to do the same. Ben Witherington has written Is There A Doctor in The House? for that reason. This book is an exploration of the qualities of a successful bible scholar.
Doctor is an incredibly helpful and encouraging book. He answers all of the pressing questions I've ever had about doctoral work. Witherington covers issues like what schools to pick and which programs. He also discusses the costs and benefits of doctoral work. This is not an easy task; it is not for everyone. That is made clear.
I believe that the strongest contribution that Witherington provides in this book is his insistence that scholarship must be done for the church. He understands his role as a scholar to be one that equips and encourages the saints to do the work of ministry (Eph 4). That is a much needed word. Christian scholarship done for the sake of scholarship usually proves of little benefit to the church. Christian scholars are called and equipped by God to bless the church. Any doctoral work needs to be pursued for that very purpose.
I believe that any PhD student or prospective PhD student needs to read this book. There is considerable wisdom in these pages that we need to hear.
NOTE: In accordance with the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission I would like to state that I received a complementary copy of the aforementioned text for the purposes of review. I was not required to furnish a positive review.