For the good hand of the Lord was upon him, for Ezra set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach its statues and ordinances in Israel.
The major distinctive of our Seminary is that we literally study the whole Bible and expect our students to know the essentials of the whole Bible, much of it by heart.
The Seminary focuses on three areas of life implied in Ezra 7:9, 10. To study the law properly requires personal intimacy with Christ. To do the law requires Christian character, and to teach the law requires ministry skills. These are the three areas of focus of the Biblical Theological Seminary of St. Petersburg, Russia.
The Heart of the Student
We strive to influence men to set their heart on and be skilled in the personal study of God's word in the original languages. Ezra set his heart to study the law of the Lord. The Bible teaches that the law of God cannot be studied without the heart.
"One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and inquire in his temple."
II Corinthians 3:15-18 tells us that the beauty of the Lord is actually found in the law of the Lord. As the psalmist declares in Psalm 27:4, his one desire is to behold the beauty of the Lord. Therefore, the highest priority in the life of a man of God is that he knows Christ intimately through beholding His image personally, and corporately, in all of Scripture.
The Character of the Student in the Context of the Church
The second part of Ezra 7:10 speaks to an essential aspect of leadership development that connects intimacy with Christ, and ministry skills. This essential bridge between our communion with God and our ministry is our character. For Ezra set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach His statutes and His ordinances in Israel. The Gospels are full of Christ's hatred of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, and ministry without character is always hypocritical and ultimately destructive in the Kingdom of God. In the Biblical Theological Seminary we aim to develop Christ-like character in our men by three means.
The Ministry Skills of the Student
1 Timothy 3 mentions that elders and deacons should be tested before being ordained. Therefore, the Biblical Seminary tests its ministerial students by requiring that they have ongoing ministry in their local churches, and by constant oral presentations, exegetical papers and essays, and preaching and interaction in class.