I want to address a particular group of people today: students of the Bible. While all Christians are students of the Bible in some way, there are some who decide to pursue formal Bible education; whether that be through a Bible college, seminary, or some other means. I am currently in my senior year of Bible college, with plans to attend seminary next Fall.
After 3 and a half years in Bible college, I’ve begun to realize what a unique experience it is to be surrounded by men and women who are studying, just like me, to serve God through ministry. But it’s easy to forget what a blessing that is.
So, dear Bible student:
Don’t resent the rules of your institution. Even if you don’t agree with all of them, they’re there to help you in your walk. Once you’re gone, you don’t have to abide by them, but understand that they are given to you out of love.
Be thankful that you’re required to be in chapel. Most Christians are in the world throughout the week and the only formal Bible exposition they hear comes on Sunday morning. You, on the other hand, get to hear it three times a week. Cherish that.
Relish the fact that you get to study the Bible in depth every single day. Some overseas Christians are lucky to have a single copy of God’s Word. You, however, probably have access to hundreds of Bibles, Christian books, and commentaries. Don’t forget that people with that kind of access to Bible material are a minority. That means you're a minority.
Don’t get embittered by the people you’re studying with. This is especially applicable to those of you who stay in dorms. There are a lot of weird people out there. As one of my professors likes to say, when weird people get saved, they just become weird Christians. Love them too, even if they annoy you sometimes (or all the time).
Love on the faculty and staff. Many small Bible colleges require faculty and staff members to raise support like missionaries. It’s likely that they are taking a pay cut to provide their services.
Use your time wisely. Once you’re in ministry, you won’t have the kind of time you have right now to study. Take advantage of it. Read, read, read. Devour the Word. Buy a Kindle and load it up with resources. Take an hour a day extra and read something that isn’t required for a class.
Be honest. Just because you’re a Bible student doesn’t mean you’re perfect. You don’t know every Bible truth there is to know, you haven’t reached a state of sinlessness, and sometimes a person doesn’t need to be confronted over something, you just need to forgive them in your heart. Be a transparent person. Admit your faults, confess your sins to God and others (when necessary), and fall on the grace of Christ every morning.
Don’t give up. College is hard. Seminary (I’m sure) is even harder. You’ll be tired and sometimes you’ll be depressed. You won’t want to read another chapter from II Chronicles, you won’t want to parse another Greek verb, and you won’t want to learn about textual criticism methods (unless you’re weird, then you might really love textual criticism and if that’s the case, more power to you). But don't quit. It's worth it.
Above all, thank the Lord God who has given you the tremendous opportunity to study His Word in a more formal manner. And “Press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14 ESV)
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