My colleague Pat McCullough has created a page for those thinking about becoming a Bible scholar. His tips are quite useful. I particularly appreciate his tips concerning a 2nd related major, learning languages well, and getting to know one’s professors.
Pat suggests that double majoring allows one to expand one’s knowledge in useful directions and I could not agree more. Particularly a classics major is a great choice and dovetails nicely with the need to learn Greek and Latin. Also, learning about the ancient world generally is imperative to understanding the world of the Bible.
Pat is dead on with his suggestion that one needs to learn their languages well, including German. Peruse Reumann’s Philippians new AB commentary or the UCLA library and you will quickly understand the importance of German for our field. You do not want to be like the PhD student I met who remarked with a bewildered tone, “you won’t believe how many works are in German, I am thinking I should know it better.” Of course I was thinking, “Yes I would believe it I have been inside libraries!”
If you want to get into a PhD program of any substance, getting to know your professors is critical. Not only will your recommendations be much improved but professors know other professors. A professor who knows you well is more likely to go the extra mile and contact professors at other programs on your behalf.
Thanks again Pat, these resources are always helpful and I can only lament the fact that I didn’t have any as I was beginning my journey.