Biographer Andrew Hoffecker describing Charles Hodge’s time in graduate school:
He eventually came to the conclusions that graduate students must make for surviving. First, one cannot master everything…. Second, he came to the realization that a fundamental feature of graduate education is learning where one can find information. Knowing the sources and having the tools of research prepares one for a lifetime of learning.
—Charles Hodge: The Pride of Princeton (P&R, 2011), 48.
Those are the same conclusions I came to during my time in seminary. I think I was probably a little too eager to come to the first conclusion; I could have come closer to mastery with greater Spirit-filled self-control and diligence (and a little less focus on finding a wife, but who can blame me?). But the second conclusion guided me well throughout seminary. From the very beginning of my Ph.D. studies, my goal was to become familiar with all the best tools for understanding God’s Word. There are definitely some specialized skills I lack—the ability to date Greek NT manuscripts, to translate Akkadian or Ugaritic, etc., etc. But BJ Seminary at least gave me access to the most important tools I need for actual exegesis and theological construction. For that I’m deeply thankful.