Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield (1851-1921) served as distinguished professor of theology at Princeton Seminary where he taught from 1887 until his death. He addressed seminarians and faculty on October 4, 1911, concerning “The Religious Life of Theological Students”.
Professor Warfield recognized the temptation to dichotomize one’s intellectual life from one’s spiritual life. Disagreeing with those who viewed the life of learning and the life of devotion as mutually antagonistic, the theologian exhorted students to integrate the life of faith with the discipline of learning: “Sometimes we hear it said that ten minutes on your knees will give you a truer, deeper, more operative knowledge of God than ten hours over your books.” He asserted that the appropriate response was to spend “ten hours over your books, on your knees. 
Emphatic in Warfield’s address were urgent warnings to future ministry leaders describing the spiritual dangers inherent in a life of theological study. He first cautions seminarians to recognize that spiritual danger “lies precisely in [your] constant contact with divine things.” 
Think of what your privilege is when your greatest danger is that the great things of religion may become common to you! The very atmosphere of your life is these things; you breathe them in at every pore; they surround you, encompass you, press in upon you from every side. It is all in danger of becoming common to you! The words which tell you of God’s terrible majesty or of his glorious goodness may come to be mere words to you—Hebrew and Greek words, with etymologies, and inflections and connections in sentences. 
Secondly, Warfield sternly cautions that the daily intellectual study and assigned tasks of seminarians are spiritual disciplines not to be practiced with a cold sense of duty, but with joyful engagement and thankfulness to God for the privilege to study “holy things.” 
Are you, by this constant contact with divine things, growing in holiness, becoming every day more and more [people] of God? If not, you are hardening! And I am here today to warn you to take seriously your theological study, not merely as a duty, done for God’s sake and therefore made divine, but as a religious exercise, itself charged with religious blessing to you; as fitted by its very nature to fill all your mind and heart and soul and life with divine thoughts and feelings and aspirations and achievements. You will never prosper in your religious life in the seminary until your work in the seminary becomes itself to you a religious exercise out of which you draw every day enlargement of heart, elevation of spirit, and adoring delight in your Maker and your Savior. 
Knowledge without humility results in pride which, if without repentance, dissipates into spiritual vapidity. Seminarians are called to the daily practice of thankfulness to God for gifts of faith, learning and participation in an academic community where worship and scholarship thrive. Ultimately, theological education forms and prepares the seminarian for vocation and mission. How, then, does one avoid the temptations, the dangers of theological education? Warfield instructed his academic community:
. . . make all your theological studies “religious exercises.” This is the great rule for a rich and wholesome religious life in a theological student. Put your heart into your studies; do not merely occupy your mind with them, but put your heart into them. They bring you daily and hourly into the very presence of God; his ways, his dealing with [humankind], the infinite majesty of his Being form their very subject matter. Put the shoes from off your feet in this holy presence. 
Over a century has passed since Professor Warfield’s address challenged Princeton seminarians to a life of spiritual integrity, yet the veracity of his devout warnings and instructions remains a clarion message to 21st century theological students:
Keep always before your mind the greatness of your calling . . . the immensity of the task before you, the infinitude of the resources at your disposal. If we face the tremendous difficulty of the work before us, it will certainly throw us back upon our knees; and if we worthily gauge the power of the gospel committed to us, that will certainly keep us on our knees. 
 Warfield, Benjamin B. The Religious Life of Theological Students. (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Co., 1911), 1.
 Ibid., 6.
 Ibid., 7.
 Ibid., 6.
 Ibid., 12.