Biblical And Theological Formation
Dr. Christopher M. Hays
BA Ancient Languages (2002; Wheaton); MA Biblical Exegesis (2004; Wheaton); MA General Theological Studies (2006; Wheaton); D.Phil. New Testament Studies (2010; University of Oxford); British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2010-2013; University of Oxford)
When I was 14 years old, God called me to Latin American missions and I went to Wheaton to prepare for that vocation, specifically to study the Bible. Someone told me that part of the Bible was written in Greek, so my freshman year I enrolled in Greek 101. In that class, I fell over heels in love … with Greek. As it happens, I met my wife, Michelle (née Lichtenstein; French & Ancient Languages, 2001), in Greek 102, but during that first semester, I only had eyes for grammar and vocabulary.
Since graduating from Wheaton, Michelle and I have gone on to be missionaries in Latin America; I am now a professor of New Testament at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia in the city of Medellín. My Ancient Languages degree has been vital to my success as a theologian and as an expat. In the former sense, having a strong command of Greek and Hebrew gave me a huge advantage as I entered graduate school and eventually became a biblical scholar, and I obviously continue to use my Ancient Languages degree on a daily basis, as I teach and write about the Bible. In addition, spending the last decade outside the US and needing to learn several other languages (German, Spanish, the mystifying Scottish brogue, etc.), the linguistic background Michelle and I acquired at Wheaton has proven invaluable. Most of all, though, the biblical and theological formation I received in my ancient languages classes have been decisively formative for my paradigm as a missionary and for my faith as a Christian.