Dig a Well
If in your seminary menu there is a range of options you can choose from in terms of how hard the courses are and what they focus on, I’d especially encourage you to go deep in Bible, theology, and exegetical tools. You can always read more books, but seminary is a unique opportunity to form an exegetical tool kit where you can get trained in the biblical languages. You can gain a lot of skills and habits and ways of interpreting Scripture that you then rely on in your studying going forward.
It’s not just stocking a bookshelf; it’s more like digging a well that you can then draw from over time. So, I would especially encourage you to prioritize Greek and Hebrew and learn them as well as you can. Try to get up to a reading fluency where then you can go and read Genesis in Hebrew during your quiet times or you can read along in Greek if your pastor is preaching through Ephesians.
I’d encourage you to get the languages to a place where they’re good enough that you’re using them on your own outside of sermon and teaching preparation. Then, the teaching preparation becomes a bit of the overflow—even of your own devotional engagement of Scripture in the original languages.
That is a high bar, but I’m confident that for the vast majority of guys that are qualified and gifted for pastoral ministry, it’s an attainable goal. And the payoff will be worth it for deepening your knowledge of Scripture in the long run.
Bobby Jamieson is the author of The Path to Being a Pastor: A Guide for the Aspiring.