Rest and the Learning Lifestyle: A Christmas Letter from President Scott Redd

As the semester comes to an end, I am sure most of you are looking forward to rest and relational time with your family and friends.  There are few joys in life as unique as the feeling one has when the last paper is turned in and the last exam completed.  What is it about the sweet relief of waking up in the morning only to be reminded that no research assignment is hanging over your head?  I know many of you have jobs and other commitments that need attending to, but I want to encourage you to rest as much as you are able.

I also want to encourage you to rest wisely.  To that end, I want to ask you to consider some holiday study.

I know, I know, it sounds like crazy talk, so please let me explain.

Is there a book that piqued your interest during the semester, but other assignments kept you from reading it as closely as you would have liked?  Maybe you rushed through a certain subject during the semester, and you wished that you had the time and/or energy to explore it more deeply.  With the Christmas holiday upon us, now you do.

The Christmas break from classes offers a great time to go back to what you have learned and engage it at a more leisurely pace.  It’s a chance to return to some idea, doctrine, or perspective you encountered, perhaps for the first time, during the semester and investigate it more deeply.

The pay-off for holiday study is fourfold:

First, holiday study is enjoyable.  It is amazing how pleasant it is to read a theological monograph or biblical study just because you want to.  Given your enrollment at RTS, however, I suspect many of you don’t need to be convinced in this regard.

Second, holiday study is devotional.  When you study at your own pace you will find that you have more time to reflect on the material, on what it says about God’s word, and what implications it has for life and faith.  There have been times when I realized that I didn’t really “get” an author’s perspective until my second read through the book.

Third, holiday study keeps you “in shape” for the next semester.  Yes, classes will resume, and a month or two in the winter can disappear before you know it.

Fourth, holiday study gets you into the habit of a learning lifestyle, increasing the chances that you will continue to explore God’s word deeply  after your degree is completed.

So consider holiday study, not as another thing to check off, not as another assignment to labor through, but as a chance to bask in your newly acquired resources and allow yourself to be surprised by what the Lord teaches you through them.

I hope that the Lord blesses you richly during your time at RTS, and I hope that he blesses you richly over this holiday, renewing you in his grace, strengthening you by faith, and fortifying you in fellowship.

Have a merry Christmas!

Dr. Scott Redd

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