Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Update: End of SBS

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A foggy evening at The King’s Lodge

Hey everyone,

It's been a few months since I released an update last, but it's been a crazy whirlwind these few months!

I last wrote at the end of 2nd term, and it is now the end of 3rd term and thus end of the School of Biblical Studies (SBS). It has been a wild ride this last term, as we've been studying the Prophets of the Old Testament (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggis, Zechariah, Malachi) as well as Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther and Chronicles (from the Old Testament). We capped it all off with Revelation at the end. 

Some of us went into Birmingham to have an Asian meal - we finished it off with Bubble Tea!

It's funny because a lot of people say 3rd term is the best term - I'm not sold on that! But I will say it's been the most eye-opening term for me. First term was about learning the process of how to read and study the Bible through studying the New Testament. I found that while I learned a lot, it was quite familiar because most of the Christian circles I've been involved with up to this point in life have had a tendency to focus mostly on the New Testament. Our modern-day culture is also derived from a Greek culture, so we have a tendency to understand more easily how the people of the New Testament thought and acted. Then 2nd term we left the relatively short New Testament books behind and dived right into Genesis, which for anyone who's opened the Bible knows, it's not short! While there was a change of culture and time period (Abraham's story began about 4000 years ago!), and it took some time transitioning to a completely different mindset, the stories from Genesis through to Kings were still familiar (and there were many I could say I'd never heard of before!). We like stories, and when we read the Old Testament, we tend to read the stories involved (and skip over law, chronology and other bits we don't like). However, 3rd term took us into the confusing mess that is the Prophets. I've rarely ever opened my Bible to read the Prophets - they use foreign figurative language that we find difficult to understand. They spoke to a specific time period and a specific set of circumstances. And we got the opportunity to dive in and learn all that! 

Near the end of the term, we had an oral exam, where we had to know all the Prophets - the main idea of each book, the major reason it was written, a key verse from the book (that sums the book up), who wrote it (if known), who it was written to, where it was written from/to, personal details of the prophet and the overall structure of the book. On top of that, we had to know a number of key events from the 4 centuries that the prophets cover! A lot of material! While oral exams are really not my thing (especially being deaf!), I really appreciated that studying for the exam helped me to "finally" contextualize each of the books, understand them and see the bigger picture into which each book fit into. 

At the end of it all, we had our commissioning and celebrated being done 9 months of intense studying of the Bible! I definitely don't know everything, and can't claim to be any sort of expert on the Bible, but I will say that I finally understand the broader picture of God's story. The broader understanding of how the entire Bible is about God wanting to be with His people again. The story of how one day, He will be fully in relationship with us again. And I'm immensely grateful to this school for helping me to get there.

My graduating class!

As for right now, I'm nearing the end of a 3-week break. My Mom was able to come to my commissioning, and afterwards we went for a road trip through Scotland for a week! Then I went with some friends from The Kings Lodge (the YWAM base I am currently at) to Wales for a week to go camping! This week I've been recovering, processing, and beginning some homework I need to do for my next school.

My Mom and I overlooking Loch Ness in Scotland

We found the Queen!

Which leads to…

My next school!

On Friday I begin registration for my next school, which is called the Titus Project.  It's a 3 month school which focuses on us taking the skills we've learned in SBS and learning how to teach them to others. We spend 3 weeks at The Kings Lodge being trained on how to teach effectively, then we split into 2 teams for outreach. One team will be in the UK for 1 month and India for 1 month, and the team I'm in will be going to Uganda for the full time! More details to come! I'm excited to step into this next bit of the journey!

Prayer Points:
  • I would be able to get the necessary vaccines in time
  • I would be fully recovered from SBS before I start Titus
  • One of the warnings of doing an SBS is that it becomes difficult to read the Bible devotionally after studying it so intensely for so long. Pray that I and my classmates would be able to read and be able to be spiritually nourished from the Bible

Hiked a hill with some of my classmates!

1 comment:

  1. Stephen - Great update. Can't wait for some photos from Africa. God bless you on this exciting journey. Nine months of intense bible study. So fabulous!