This is a guest post by Peter Krol.
I loved seminary while it lasted. The academic environment, the spiritual fervor, the disciplined accountability. Lectures, discussion groups, and access to both an exceptional library and a brilliant faculty. What a treat.
So you can imagine my chagrin when it came to a premature end. I had to move across the state. Life’s expanding responsibilities held me by the collar. The seminary had to drop my tuition discount. And there was not yet such a thing as distance education. Mine was a cold, hard providence.
Yet my infatuation with studying and teaching God’s Word made continuing education essential. Life might get busy and finances may remain tight, but the show must go on. If you’re busy and stretched thin like me, how can your educational hopes sprout wings?
1. Take a Class
If you have the luxury of a local seminary and a consistently available block of time, Godspeed.
But the rest of you have the Internet for your friend. Find online courses. Subscribe to seminary podcasts or iTunes U. Look for the many available options to inhale quality instruction at your own timing and pace.
Another great option is to take a Logos Mobile Ed course. These courses are taught by some of the most influential Christian scholars in their field. You can even earn a certificate, working at your own pace. They’re all available for much less than the cost of seminary tuition, and there are often many Mobile Ed courses on sale.
2. Find a Mentor
When I had to drop seminary, I asked my pastor to meet with me weekly. He assigned me theological readings, and we’d meet over lunch to discuss them.
You can take advantage of other local ministers, conference speakers, or respected bloggers. Find others trying to learn the same things you are. Contact them. Ask them questions. Pick your way through their juicy minds, as you would through an orchard busting with ripe delights.
3. Join a Book Club
Book clubs present a unique combination of benefits: accountability and discussion. Most clubs expect members to follow a scheduled reading plan, which fosters disciplined progress. And club meetings collect like-minded learners, eager to share, interact, and process.
One great way to get a book club going is to start a Faithlife Group. With a Faithlife Group, you can start a group reading plan, and even take community notes: just highlight a passage in the Logos edition of your book, jot down a thought, and send it straight to your book club members’ Faithlife feeds.
4. Read, Read, Read
Most books take less time to read than we expect, yet distractions persist like industrious gnats on a humid day. So nothing beats blocking time in your schedule to read books that will deepen your understanding and continue your Bible education.
5. Attend a conference
Attending a Christian conference is a great way to deepen your faith while getting quality teaching and fellowship with other believers. Of course, finding the time (and money!) to attend a conference can be tough.
Peter Krol is president of DiscipleMakers campus ministry, and an elder at Grace Fellowship Church of State College, PA. He blogs at Knowable Word, where he helps ordinary people learn to study the Bible.