Category Archives: B. B. Warfield

“The Religious Life of Theological Students” by B. B. Warfield

“We are frequently told, indeed, that the great danger of the theological student lies precisely in his constant contact with divine things. They may come to seem common to him, because they are customary… The words which tell you of God’s terrible majesty or of his glorious goodness may come to be mere words to you, Hebrew and Greek words, with etymologies, and inflections, and connections in sentences…

It is your great danger. But it is your great danger, only because it is your great privilege. Think of what your privilege is when your greatest danger is that the great things of religion may become common to you! Other men, oppressed by the hard conditions of life, sunk in the daily struggle for bread perhaps, distracted at any rate by the dreadful drag of the world upon them and the awful rush of the world’s work, find it hard to get time and opportunity so much as to pause and consider whether there be such things as God, and religion, and salvation from the sin that compasses them about and holds them captive.

The very atmosphere of your life is these things; you breathe them in at every pore; they surround you, encompass you, press in upon you from every side. It is all in danger of becoming common to you! God forgive you, you are in danger of becoming weary of God! Do you know what this danger is? Or, rather, let us turn the question- Are you alive to what your privileges are? Are you making full use of them? Are you, by this constant contact with divine things, growing in holiness, becoming every day more and more men of God? If not, you are hardening!

And I am here today to warn you to take seriously your theological study, not merely as a duty, done for God’s sake and therefore made divine, but as a religious exercise, itself charged with religious blessing to you; as fitted by its very nature to fill all your mind and heart and soul and life with divine thoughts and feelings and aspirations and achievements.”

Benjamin B. Warfield, “The Religious Life of Theological Students.” Originally an address delivered by Warfield at the Autumn Conference at Princeton Theological Seminary on October 4, 1911. Reprinted in The Master’s Seminary Journal, Volume 6, Number 2, (Fall 1995), pp. 181-95.

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Theology as Worship by B.B. Warfield

“The systematic theologian is pre-eminently a preacher of the gospel; and the end of his work is obviously not merely the logical arrangement of the truths which come under his hand, but the moving of men, through their power to love God with all their heart and their neighbours as themselves; to choose their portion with the Saviour of their souls; to find and hold him precious; and to recognise and yield to the sweet influences of the Holy Spirit whom he has sent. With such truth as this he will not dare to deal in a cold and merely scientific spirit, but will justly and necessarily permit its preciousness and its practical destination to determine the spirit in which he handles it, and to awaken the reverential love with which alone he should investigate its reciprocal relations. For this he needs to be suffused at all times with a sense of the unspeakable worth of the revelation which lies before him as the source of his material, and with the personal bearings of its separate truths on his own heart and life; he needs to have had and to be having afull, rich, and deep religious experience of the great doctrines with which he deals; he needs to be living close to his God, to be resting always on the bosom of his Redeemer, to be filled at all times with the manifest influences of the Holy Spirit. The student of systematic theology needs a very sensitive religious nature, a most thoroughly consecrated heart, and an outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon him, such as willfill him with that spiritual discernment, without which all native intellect is in vain. He needs to be not merely a student, not merely a thinker not merely a systematizer not merely a teacher – he needs to be like the beloved disciple himself in the highest, truest, and holiest sense, a divine.”

–B.B. Warfield, Studies in Theology: The Works of B. B. Warfield, vol. 9, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1991 rep.), pp. 86-87.

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