Is There a Doctor in the House? is a witty, educational, and practical book written by Ben Witherington III for those wishing to pursue Bible scholarship. He writes with an insider’s perspective, explaining the most important skills needed to become a Bible scholar and how to learn, sustain, and use them. Whereas this book can be beneficial to any Bible student, the focus is “on what it takes to become a good and even well-published Bible scholar.”
Witherington takes readers through the process of choosing a doctoral program, both overseas and in America, and he devotes a whole chapter to exploring the sacrifices that an individual, his or her spouse, and family members might have to make in the pursuit of such a calling. He challenges the notion that all you need to study and teach the Bible is a copy of the Scriptures and uses 2 Timothy 2:15 to affirm careful and serious biblical study. “Consider this book,” he says, “an invitation to strive to become an expert student or teacher or scholar of the Bible.”
Witherington helps readers understand this by introducing them to a diverse range of issues and skills that are important for any Bible student to learn, including a working knowledge of biblical and scholarly languages, history and archaeology, literature, and, of course, theology, ethics, and ancient religions and philosophies.
Divided into eleven chapters, it also comes with an exploratory diagram called “The Illustrated Guide to a Ph.D.,” as well as two appendices, which provide further and more in-depth reading. The chapters are broken into focused sections that provide a clear road map for easy and fast-paced reading, and each chapter ends with Witherington’s own insightful and cleverly penned poetry. He uses personal anecdotes, advice from scholars such as John Wesley, and a great deal of Scripture to illustrate and develop his points, which he ties together with his humor and wit. Faithful to his convictions, he remains gracious and fair in his presentation of other schools of thought. Witherington is particular throughout his book to say that “research by a Christian is never done just for its own sake, or even just to advance knowledge in a given field. It is done in service to the Lord and to his church.”
Witherington is considered one of the top evangelical scholars and has written more than 40 books, including The Brother of Jesus, The Jesus Quest, and The Gospel Code. He is currently a professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. Is There a Doctor in the House? is a work of entertaining, perceptive, and practical information that will benefit any who read it, especially if they are looking for direction and advice on the road toward biblical scholarship. – Stephanie Warner, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
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.