Brian Rosner on “What Makes a Good Biblical Scholar?”

What makes a good biblical scholar?

Lots of things, many of which have to do with self-awareness.   In no particular order:

A good biblical scholar is committed to patient historical, literary and theological analysis of the text on its own terms.

A good biblical scholar doesn’t believe the old adage, “what I’m not up on, I’m down on.” They don’t think something isn’t important if they don’t know about it already and are open to learning from all comers.  But he or she is not trapped by every new fad or methodology.

A good biblical scholar has a high boredom threshold and can chew on the same bone for years, if not decades.  But he or she is also easily distracted and incurably curious.

A good (Christian) biblical scholar does not divide devotional from academic reading. He or she reads the Bible rigorously and as one who believes the apostolic witness to God’s work in Jesus Christ and lives their life as part of a local community of faith.

A good biblical scholar knows their limits and is a serial collaborator – with other biblical scholars and across disciplines.

A good biblical scholar is constantly making connections within and across the biblical texts.  He or she loves the details as well as the big picture, both the trees and the woods.

A good biblical scholar reads widely to appreciate and learn from good communication – not just NT Wright and Lynn Cohick, but also from the likes of Tim Winton and Marilynne Robinson.  He or she believes that the point of studying the Bible is for the benefit of others and knows that if they can’t communicate their findings there is little point in studying the Bible at a scholarly level.

Brian S. Rosner (PhD, Cambridge) is principal of Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia.  He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books, including the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, the Pillar New Testament Commentary 1 Corinthians (along with Roy E. Ciampa), Paul and the Law: Keeping the Commandments of God, and most recently, Known by God: A Biblical Theology of Personal Identity.

2 thoughts on “Brian Rosner on “What Makes a Good Biblical Scholar?”

  1. It is very important that the Bible-scholar always keeps an open mind and is not restricted by the ideas of his own faith-group.

    Always analysation has to be done with retrospect to historical knowledge and proofs.

    A good biblical scholar has constantly to be making connections within and across the biblical texts and should be fully aware of the many human doctrines of which he should be able to distance himself.
    At all times he should check everything with the bible in his head, loving not only the details but always having an eye and an ear for the big picture.

    It may not be an ego-tripping but all research should be a grand work of co-operation, all working together working for the same goal to unravel the still hidden mysteries together and to uncover historical and biblical truth.


  2. Pingback: For a close relationship with God | From guestwriters

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