Choosing a school
I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies from Briercrest College (http://www.briercrest.ca) in 2005. I was used to studying French in High School, and was surprised that the college had no French program. I liked languages, however and signed up for Biblical Greek in my freshman year. To make a long story short, I ended up specializing in Biblical languages, taking every Greek and Hebrew course the school had to offer at the time (5 semesters of Greek and 4 semesters of Hebrew, plus I did my internship with one of the Greek professors).
When I was nearing graduation, some people suggested I enroll in the Seminary right away. I had thought about it, but after hearing advice from many different people, I decided I would probably get more out of Seminary if I first gained some more life experience. I had entered college straight out of High School. I did well in school, I liked school, and I liked the idea of a Masters degree, but I decided to wait.
I gained life experience. Over the next several years, I got married, had four kids, have served in the local church for several years, have faithfully worked at a few different jobs to pay the bills, have owned and operated several cars, paid rent on a house, etc. I have some life experience, now.
In the midst of changing diapers and taking care of middle-of-the-night feedings, I always made an effort to maintain my Greek and Hebrew knowledge, and regularly read the Bible in the original languages. In about 2012 or so, I saw a book on Aramaic (Basics of Biblical Aramaic by Miles van Pelt) and ended up buying it. I dove in, doing about a chapter a week, and managed to teach myself the basics of the language. But I was hungry for more.
It was time to find a Master’s program.
But where? How to discern the Lord’s will. I knew about Briercrest Seminary. I once heard someone say it’s not a bad idea to diversify and take degrees from different schools, so I looked around on the internet to see what was available.
I ended up prayerfully choosing Briercrest Seminary anyways, for a number of reasons:
-I think God approved the choice.
-I didn’t want to uproot my family, so the school had to offer a program by distance learning or modular format so that I wouldn’t have to move to the campus. (Otherwise, I might have chosen somewhere like McMaster https://www.mcmasterdivinity.ca/ or Tyndale http://www.tyndale.ca/). Briercrest offers Seminary courses by distance and in one week modular format, which means I only have to make the occasional trip, while doing the rest at home.
-I wanted it to be accredited. This is so that the degree would be more useful in getting certain jobs, and I wanted to leave the door open for doctoral studies later in life. (Otherwise I might have wanted a school like Liberty University http://www.liberty.edu/ , which offers everything online)
-I wanted a school that taught conservative evangelical theology (otherwise I might have chosen a school like Ames http://ameschristian.net/, which has a bit of a charismatic leaning)
-I wanted a school that would recognize what I did at the BA level– especially with Greek and Hebrew. Many schools offered an exam of some sort to be exempted from language study. Briercrest, however, already had my college transcript on file, so there was no fuss for advanced standing. In fact, my Greek teacher was still on staff.
-I wanted a school that actually offered a degree that I wanted. Otherwise, I might have enrolled in a school like Athabasca University http://www.athabascau.ca/, which has plenty of online/distance programs… just not the ones I wanted to take.
So with prayer and a bit of uncertainty (I prayed that God would only let me in if it was His will), I filled out the enrollment forms, got my reference letters, and was then accepted into Briercrest Seminary. Answer to prayer!