My Advice to Students — Peter Enns Says, "Be Flexible About Your Expectations."
In the middle of my M.Div. program I had contemplated pursuing a doctorate in historical theology upon graduation. My academic mentor, Dr. Michael Wittmer, gave me some invaluable advice that helped me make my decision.
He said that if I could be OK with putting in the time and financial commitment without expecting a teaching position on the other side, then I should go for it; I should pursue such studies for their own sake without the expectation of a job. I opted for a ThM instead, which worked well given my pastoral pursuits. Peter Enns (contributor to the forthcoming book Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy) has similar advice for PhD students in our ongoing video series.
The main piece of advice he would give young graduate students is to be very flexible about your expectations about full-time teaching positions. The reason for his advice is because these positions in Bible, theology, and philosophy are becoming fewer not more. In this rather sobering video, Enns explains why this is the case in order to help students like you make decisions about your future, set expectations, navigate this journey with your spouse and family, and trust God along the way.
"Don't do this lightly, Enns says. "Trust God, but also be wise." If you are contemplating a PhD program, use Enns's advice to make decisions for your vocational future. If you are in the middle or ending a PhD program consider Enns's advice, too, while also continuing to pursue your God-given calling.
-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.
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