How Do I Choose a Seminary?

Posted On November 09, 2022

Written by Dr. Ben Shaw, professor of Old Testament

When I made the decision to go to seminary, I could have planned better. I was in a Presbyterian denomination, and my presbytery (the body of elders that oversees the churches in an area) told me that I could go to any seminary I wished if it was one of the denomination’s seminaries. For several reasons, I eliminated all but two, then flipped a coin. By God’s providence, I went to the seminary that Dr. R.C. Sproul had attended, and I was able to study under Dr. John Gerstner. From there, I moved on and did graduate work in Old Testament, which eventually brought me to teaching at Reformation Bible College.

If you are planning on going to seminary in preparation for pastoral ministry, it’s important to think through your decision carefully. Keep in mind, there is no one perfect seminary. All of them have varying strengths and weaknesses. Below are several things to consider when choosing a seminary:

  • Is your family in favor of this venture? If you are married, is your wife on board? Seminary can be tough on families, and even tougher if it introduces tensions into the marriage.
  • Does the school have a strong view of biblical authority? Is it strong in the biblical languages? Are there plenty of opportunities for instruction and practice in preaching? Do the members of the faculty have actual church experience? Are there churches in the area where you could be active and that could provide internship experience?
  • If you belong to a denomination that has one or more seminaries, you should give them strong consideration. They will have connections that can enable you to find a pastoral call more easily upon graduation. They may also have financial resources available for members of the denomination.
  • Is the school affordable? You do not want to graduate from seminary with a heavy debt load. Is there financial aid available apart from student loans? What is the cost of living in the area?

Additionally, if you are planning to attend seminary, our Accelerated Degree program can help you earn a B.A. and an M.Div. while saving time and money, and without compromising the quality of your education. This track allows you to study with RBC for three years, then offers a direct path to attend any seminary in our Accelerated Degree program.

Finally, seek the help of your pastor and professors, and pray for God’s guidance. He will direct your steps.