In 2018, the Barna Group reported that close to half of Americans,
“engage with the Bible on their own by using, listening to, watching, praying or using Bible text or content in any format (not including use at a church service) at least three to four times a year… Two-thirds of Americans express at least some curiosity to know more about what the Bible says, including one in three who express a strong desire…Just over half of adults who used the Bible in the past week say they give a lot of thought to how it might apply to their lives.”
So, how is this data relevant? Chances are that you who are reading this blog are also someone who engages the Bible at least three to four times a year, has some curiosity about the Bible, and/or thinks about how the Bible applies to your life. If you do not identify with these categories, then chances are that you know or will know at least one person who does.
Whether we like it or not, the Bible has deeply impacted American culture, literature, legislature, and history. The Bible is a force that needs to be reckoned with, and many secular and religious theologians have tried to academically reckon with it. But what about a spiritual reckoning?
Everyday people report that engaging the Bible on a monthly basis has led to positive spiritual changes in their lives. In the same Barna report,
“More than half of monthly Bible users report that reading the Bible has resulted in a self-perceived willingness to engage in their faith more and to show more loving behavior toward others. Two out of five Bible users say they are more generous with their time, energy, or financial resources. More than half of Bible users contend that when they use the Bible, they have a greater awareness of how much they need God all of the time. Slightly less than half experience a curiosity to know God better and consistently experience a sense of connection with God.”
It is obvious from this data, and from any person who has been transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that the Bible is not just some lifeless text. It is the very Word of God himself, and it changes entire societies. If engaging the Bible on one’s own or in a small group leads to this much spiritual growth, imagine what going to Bible college can teach you!
Bible college can teach you much more than you might expect. Yes, this education will plunge you deep into the background and language of the Bible, teaching you profound mysteries and truth that you might not have ever known, but it also teaches you about God himself. The words of the Bible reveal the nature and character of God alongside the nature and character of humanity. By learning both in such a rich context, you then learn how to live. Studying about the character of God teaches you how to be godly, and “godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).
Getting an education at Bible college develops special character that produces perseverance, humility, honesty, wisdom, vitality, grace, compassion, boldness, strength, diligence, creativity, leadership, and critical thinking. Yes, many Bible college students seek careers in churches or para-church organizations, but many others go on to do amazing work in the secular world too. In fact, many secular employers give high praise to Bible college students because they tend to have such strong characters.
In today’s world, with the plethora of knowledge and opportunities via the Internet, technical abilities are more accessible than ever before. What is more valuable is grounding oneself in a firm identity, an identity that was given by God, an identity that has the character of Jesus Christ who held favor with both God and mankind.
Any college or university can grant you knowledge, but not many can grant you wisdom that is rooted in truth. Bible college can help you discover your truest identity and can make you more like Jesus.