Interview with Ben Nelson
Ben was a high school teacher before studying to become an ordained Presbyterian minister. He teaches Greek at the PTC, and is currently working towards his PhD.
What did you do before enrolling at the PTC?
I graduated from the University of Melbourne with Honours degree in Arts, majoring in History and Classics. After completing a graduate diploma in education, I then worked for many years as a secondary school teacher, teaching mainly Latin, but also history and English.
Why did you choose to study at the PTC?
My church (South Yarra Presbyterian) has always been very committed to the PTC, and so over the years I did the occasional short course and got to know some of the students and lecturers. I was always impressed by their firm commitment to biblical and confessional theology, long before I began to pursue my own call to the ministry through the candidacy process of the PCV. On several levels, therefore, PTC seemed the natural place to study.
What are you hoping to achieve with your PhD?
My research stands at the intersection of church history and biblical hermeneutics. There has in recent decades been considerable interest shown in the lesser known of the early Reformers, who were often very influential in their own time. Most of their work is locked away in Latin, but some of it is beginning to be translated. I am studying Johannes Oecolampadius, one of the most scholarly of the early Swiss Reformers, and in particular his Latin commentary on John's gospel. I would like to explore not only his approach to the biblical text, but also his role in the formation of Reformed theology, especially in the sacraments, Christology and the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. I hope by doing this to lay a solid foundation for further studies in New Testament and historical theology.
How has your time at the PTC helped grow your relationship with God?
Any sustained, reverent and serious study of the Word confronts us afresh with God, and that has been one of the great strengths of the courses here at PTC. On top of that, I have been greatly convicted and encouraged by the devotion and prayerfulness of the other students and lecturers at the college, and I rejoice that I will continue in the years ahead to walk before God together with them.
How can we pray for you and your family?
Please pray for us as we seek to balance study with family life and ministry commitments. I am thankful to be married to Jen, my gracious and lovely wife, and to raise alongside her our four children, Hephzibah (10), Esther (8), Beatrice (6) and Oliver (2).