“The knowledge of the Bible, so necessary in a preacher, is not a purely intellectual knowledge; it is, as Calvin never tired of saying, ‘a knowledge of the heart.’ The preacher studies the Bible because he loves the Bible, and he loves the Bible because he studies the Bible…”
This follows my two part blog posts on being in seminary (here and here). Due to my recent downtime in between quarters, I decided to read a book on John Calvin’s preaching technique and style. Just to let you know, this is the sort of thing that seminarians do during break (thank you for your prayers and thoughts of wow, he is a complete nerd). One of the parts of this book that struck me forcefully was that Calvin talked about the importance of developing a solid biblical education for a pastor. He wanted them to be well-versed in biblical understanding, being ready to expound on Scripture with eloquence and substance.
This belief in cultivating a robust clergy system can certainly cause people to pause at the danger of over-intellectualizing the Bible. This fear is that a firm biblical faith can sink into the mire of a brain-only religion. While this can be true, Calvin would also agree with this position and warn against it as well. Instead his position is one of cultivating a knowledge of the heart. This is where the preacher (or average Christ-follower) loves studying the Bible because he or she genuinely loves the God behind the Bible. He or she should not be caught up in the worship of the Bible or any theological framework, instead they employ those loves in pursuit of the higher love of Christ. That’s how I reconcile heart and head knowledge, combine them both into a robust relationship with Christ. Give it a shot, it’s worth it!