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Is There a Doctor in the House?: An Insider's Story and Advice on Becoming a Bible Scholar
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Is There a Doctor in the House?: An Insider's Story and Advice on Becoming a Bible Scholar

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  76 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Ben Witherington overturns the notion that all one needs to become a premier biblical scholar is a Bible and a pencil. This book demonstrates the wide range of skills one must master and invites all would-be biblical experts to cultivate the multidisciplinary requirements of being a faithful, credible student of the Bible.
ebook, 160 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Zondervan (first published August 23rd 2011)
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Peter Mead
I picked up this little book thinking it would only appeal to my interest in academia, but found it to be of value to all involved in Bible handling – students, preachers, teachers, scholars.

The label “scholar” gets thrown around a little too easily. If one person in the church is starting to learn biblical Greek, they get labelled a scholar. They may barely even be a student yet! In this book, Witherington reflects on his experiences as a student, pastor, teacher and writing scholar. His manner
Danny Daley
I read this book near the end of my undergrad and while I was trying to decide how much schooling I was going to pursue. When I read the book and considered the advice Witherington gives on what it means to be a scholar, I initially thought he was overstating the requirements. Now that I'm actually working through advanced degrees I see that he was dead on in terms of what it takes to truly be a scholar in the field of Biblical Studies. This book convinced me to go all in, and I wouldn't change ...more
Mark Barnes
I wanted to love this book. I certainly did love the sheer Christianness of it's approach which was very refreshing. I loved his continued advocacy for biblical scholars to be generalists not just specialists — amen to that! And I loved the chapters on the character of a Bible scholar — much needed. But I was disappointed both with the size of the book (just 150 pages), but more importantly, it simply felt rushed. It was as if Witherington had simply sat down on half-a-dozen evenings and written ...more
Mark Taylor
The main message of Ben Witherington’s little book is quite simple: Becoming a good Bible teacher and scholar requires great sacrifice, preparation and character. I read this book hoping God would use it to direct me regarding the questions of if and when I should pursue a Ph.D. degree. Some parts helped me clarify questions, a few offered guidance, many told me things I already knew.
Witherington’s first and final chapters were a helpful dose of wisdom and perspective wisdom regarding the realit
Witherington's book is a concise, articulate introduction to the world of Biblical studies. His premise is simple: if you are truly called to be a biblical scholar, know what you are getting yourself into, buckle up, and commit yourself to doing good scholarship in service of the church. However, before attempting to climb into the world of biblical studies, examine yourself because, "not many of you should presume to be teachers...because teachers will be judged more strictly." This is an arduo ...more
I enjoyed the book for its personal anecdotes from the world of biblical scholarship and its sober words of challenge. It could have been better edited for grammar, and at times it was unclear who was his intended audience. I imagine some of the stories about famous scholars would have been uninteresting to someone who needed the lessons in theology or hermeneutics provided in the later chapters. His testimony is encouraging: "If you were to ask me today whether it was worth answer would ...more
Josue Manriquez
This is a great book. As the subtitle reveals, this book is about what it takes to become a Bible scholar. It is a very easy read that "simple" lay people can read, even if they have no desire to be a Bible scholar. Witherington makes it clear that a lot of studying/research is required to know and teach the Bible; yet he is also clear that what is most important is for one to have a godly character. The Bible is not simply a work of literature; it is the Holy, inspired Word of God which transfo ...more
Matt Anderson
I have been going back and forth about pursuing my doctorate for the last two years. I have had multiple meetings with one of my professors from my Masters program in which he helped me talk through what it would take to get into a respected program, and which schools I may want to consider. Because I kept wavering on whether or not I should go for my doctorate at this point in my life, my professor recently gave me this book to read. He told me that after reading this book, I would have clarity ...more
Loved this book. gave me a clearer vision for my studies.. not sure I'll get to Ph.D but will be fun trying.
Insightful. Not a how-to manual; a memoir.
Interesting and enjoyable.
David Rathel
I hope to begin PhD studies in the fall and so I picked up this book to help prepare me for what lies ahead. Witherington does a great job instructing his readers that doctoral studies, in the Christian realm, will require perseverance, sacrifice, and, most of all, character. Along the way he provides personal anecdotes from his own life that I found to be very encouraging and helpful (not to mention sometimes humorous).

A quick read that is beneficial.
Shane Saxon
Excellent book. I felt like I was sitting in Pastor Ben's office chatting about life. He's a world class scholar, but he spread his poetry, comic anecdotes, and personal stories skillfully throughout the book to help lighten the tone. This book really motivated me as I look to the future, and I would recommend it to seminarians and pastors everywhere.
Johnathon Vogel
Excellent book! Anyone desiring to pursue an advanced degree should read this book. Anyone desiring to practice good Biblical scholarship in any fashion should read this book. I am even more motivated to mastering the biblical languages after reading this!
This was great book by a renowned professor in biblical studies. It has loads of practical advice for students considering work towards the doctorate, and lots of autobiographical detail about the author's life to make it very interesting. I recommend it!
Some parts encouraging, and many parts disheartening, this was a pleasant read about renowned scholar Ben Witherington's journey to being a biblical scholar. Helpful as I consider graduate studies and further discern what direction that will take.
Wonderful book that gives you insider info on how to become a Biblical Scholar from a seasoned veteran of Biblical Scholarship. Should be required reading for all the christians who are called to be a Scholar
Perfect for those wondering if they should pursue a degree in Religion.
Helpful advice, interesting anecdotes, quick and fun to read.
G. Jorge Medina
Good advice for anyone serious about becoming a bbilical scholar.
Wish this book had been available about 40 years ago.
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Ben Witherington III (PhD, University of Durham) is Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, and is on the doctoral faculty at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He is the author or coauthor of more than thirty books, including The Jesus Quest, The Paul Quest, and The New York Times bestseller The Brother of Jesus. He has app ...more
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“If a seminary or Christian college has a wise provost or dean or department chair, he or she will realize that they need some faculty who are master teachers but publish little, and some scholars who can both teach and publish, and some who would be better just being research professors. It takes a variety of faculty to make up a good school. But alas, even in schools that have such administrators, promotion and sabbaticals are often based on publications or planned publications, not just on reviews of one’s classroom performances. Thus, some scholars who find research and writing a huge cross to bear are forced to carry that cross all the way to Golgotha Publishing House in order to get promoted. It really ought not to be that way at a Christian school, where the main goal should be “training students or budding clergy in the way that they should go.” 1 likes
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