Scholastic Competencies Needed for Ministry

An extensive area of scholastic competence that is of utmost importance to ministers is hermeneutic excellence.  The ability to discover the meaning of the biblical text is vital for the spiritual formation of modern disciples.  In a plea to today’s pastors Raymond Ortlund observed that, “Gospel doctrine creates a gospel culture. The doctrines of grace create a culture of grace, a social environment of acceptance and hope and freedom and joy.”  Hermeneutic competency coupled with humility before the inspired text enables one to recognize one’s own neediness of the Gospel and the knowledge of a proper response to those in need of pastoral guidance.  Paul Tripp, a highly sought pastoral counselor, warned that “it is possible to use the Bible outside of its intended purpose.”[1]  Therefore, ministers must be faithful to the text as it was inspired as intended by the Holy Spirit.  The Lord desires for all people to undergo personal transformation through His word (Isaiah 55:10-13), and ministers of the Word are the primary conveyors by which transformation takes place.  Hermeneutic excellence is not only helpful, but vital to the tasks of preaching, teaching, and counseling as the minister rightly interprets and applies the Scripture.

Hermeneutic excellence benefits the minister by enabling him to develop scholastic competence in theological understanding.  The ability to obtain and to communicate the knowledge of God, as discerned by the correct interpretation of the Scriptures, is not only necessary, but critical for both personal and corporate worship and discipleship.  The locus of ministry is in the Godhead, and all ministry flows from knowledge of and dedication to God.  Knowledge of God is always better than its only alternative: ignorance.  As explained by R.K. Hughes to those studying Paul’s directions to Timothy, “A virtuous man may be ignorant, but ignorance is not a virtue.”[2]  One of the greatest benefits of theological competency is that it propels the learning and understanding of the character and nature of God.  Because God seeks to be worshipped by those who worship him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24)[3], ministers must be able to thoroughly obtain and soundly convey the truth about God if he is to lead in worship and discipleship.

                [1] Paul David Tripp, Dangerous Calling (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2012), 50.

                [2] R.K. Hughes and B. Chapell, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: To Guard the Deposit (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2000), 31


                [3] All biblical quotations taken from the KJV.

2 thoughts on “Scholastic Competencies Needed for Ministry

  1. Blessing my brother!

    I was sitting at the computer just now working on an assignment for class concerning Competency in Ministry and your works came up. Great reading and greater work by you. I shall be following your inspirational works going forward. I’m proud of my former classmate!

    Craig Scott LRU

    • Craig! Thanks so much for your compliments. I really enjoyed writing on this topic, and I am so thrilled that it has been a blessing beyond academia. I hope you’re doing well! I’m so thankful for the time we had in and out of class together. God bless you, my friend!

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