What is Studied While in the Seminary?

what is studied in the seminary

Seminary offers a privileged means of serving God and caring for others with immense love. As most incoming students have a goal of public ministry, courses are designed to shape them into wise Christian leaders. Through the formation process, seminarians gain skills in communication, administration, counseling, and preaching. Here are the foundational subjects included in every curriculum.

Biblical Studies

Through this course, seminarians get familiar with all 66 books of the Bible, focusing on repeating themes and instructive texts, such as the Gospels, Epistles, Proverbs, and Psalms. As a subtopic of this course, some seminaries include “hermeneutics,” various ways of interpreting the Bible. Viewing scripture from different angles confers a better understanding of the Word of God.

Interpretative methods can be historical, archeological, cultural, or literal. Common to all is a systematic study process. This entails identifying the scripture genre, context, underlying meaning, writer’s intentions, and theological themes. Additionally, each word of scripture is closely examined to grasp the takeaway message.

Church History

Seminarians trace the growth of the church, from its dramatic birth at Pentecost to the present. Through this gripping journey, students encounter steadfast martyrs, courageous disciples, devoted apostles, and the miraculous works of Jesus. Faith deepens by reviewing covenant promises and accounts of their fulfillment. Mistakes made by past disciples serve as keen lessons in wisdom and integrity. Examples of passionate evangelism fuel students’ desire to spread the Gospel.

Liturgical Studies

Starting with the earliest form of Christian worship, rooted in Judaism, seminarians study liturgy evolution through the Middle Ages and Reformation until now. Following this review, students learn the basic formula for public worship, incorporating the elements of repentance, prayer, praise, thankfulness, and heartfelt giving.

Especially interesting are the ways culture informs liturgical celebrations. Also fascinating is comparing various worship styles, such as traditional, blended, contemporary, and modern. Seminarians then apply what they’ve learned, planning liturgical themes and services for special rites and holy days.


Homilies should provide insight into Christian teachings and practical ways to live them out. Through this course, seminary students hone the art of giving inspirational sermons. One goal of preaching is empowering people to become Christlike. Hence, messages must be Spirit-filled and presented in understandable terms.

According to Christianity Today International, sermon material can be devotional, textual, expository, or topical. Messages can also highlight certain doctrinal principles, such as salvation, the Trinity, and resurrection. All homilies must incorporate the teachings of Jesus. Coursework includes writing sermons according to a specific format, followed by delivery in class, speaking genuinely and persuasively.

Pastoral Counseling

With this seminary course, students gain the knowledge, skills, and sensitivity to help people manage challenges and crises. Interactive classes delve into the topics of mental health, psychology, addiction, enduring illness, grieving lost loved ones, and coping with job loss. Also addressed are relationship issues, such as domestic violence, marital discord, separation, divorce, and blended families.

Pastoral counseling takes a spiritual approach to problem-solving. Among the skills taught are active listening, effective questioning, goal setting, and conflict resolution. Students also research sources of additional client support for the purpose of making referrals.

Once lectures are completed, seminarians are placed in settings where they can counsel clients under supervision. Through pastoral counseling, people are healed, strengthened, transformed, empowered, and renewed.

Ministry Leadership

Through progressive courses, seminarians learn the nuts and bolts of church administration. This entails holding a vision for growth and evangelism, requiring strategic planning, sound decision-making, and successful implementation.

Toward this end, seminarians study the qualities of leaders depicted in scripture, most notably Jesus. They also look to role models in the secular worlds of business, government, and sports. Emphasis is placed on developing noble qualities and virtues, such as integrity, responsibility, humility, kindness, honesty, and respectfulness.

As church directors, ministers must be skilled in financial management, following biblical principles. They should also strive to build rapport among various church departments and communities. Accordingly, seminarians are trained in group dynamics, communication, and negotiation.

Divinely Led

Attending seminary is a profound learning experience, steeped in worship and satisfying purpose. For those unsure of their vocation, time devoted to prayer brings clarity. As a seminarian, among the courses one takes are biblical studies, church history, liturgical studies, homiletics, pastoral counseling, and ministry leadership.

Related Resources: