A Changed Life

Twenty years ago, I finished a life changing year.

I spent nine months in Canberra, Australia. Living in another country will be a landmark for anyone, but that was just the frosting on the cake.

I spent the nine months immersed in the Bible.

Seminaries are great tools to prepare people for ministry, but my program was a little different. I went to the School of Biblical Studies through Youth With A Mission. Instead of different classes covering doctrine, church history, counseling, and other skills required by pastors, we did one thing.

Read the Word.

We read the Bible five times in nine months. Probably more, honestly. We did the inductive Bible study method. The idea is to study the background, history, and literature style of each book, and read/study it in context.

When we did Galatians, we read about the region, the peoples there, what issues Paul seemed to be addressing. We then read through the book in one sitting, out loud. It would give us the overall context of the book. Then we would start drilling in until we went paragraph by paragraph through the Bible (except for some Psalms and Proverbs).

Reading Isaiah out loud in one sitting took over three hours.

It was an amazing time. We had a small class of students from Australia, Germany, Sweden, the Philippines, and me as the token American. This was on an international campus, so we were exposed to a lot of other nationalities as well.

I work as a physician assistant, so I have had many difficult classes dealing with physiology, medical assessment, and pharmacology. But the SBS was the hardest in the sheer fact of doing the work. We ended up doing a commentary on the whole Bible by paragraph. It was intensive, and there were no short cuts.

I can’t believe that I was leaving Oz about 20 years ago to the day. It seems just a few years ago. However, the mirror confirms that it has been a while. That, and my teenagers. Life has definitely had its twists and turns, things that I didn’t see coming. Relationships, love, death, birth, and all the in-between items. Life has been glorious at times, and life has been very hard.

Through it all, it has been such a blessing to have that background in the Bible. It has served me so well through the years. I can’t think of another investment in my life that was as profound as pouring through the Bible like we did.

So a simple piece of encouragement for today: dive into the Word. Learn the story of the Bible, dig into it as much as you can. It has given me such a foundation. I would be lost without it. You may not have the opportunity I had, but don’t forsake studying and learning the Bible.

So thank you Alan, Joyce, Sue, Sandra, and Mholly. Thank you for your service and faithful training to us. Thanks to all my classmates who allowed me to grow alongside you. I am forever grateful.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 109:105