Tag Archives: bible school

Jacob: A New Identity (Genesis 32:24-33:4)

[As part of our “Loving the Bible” class at Scoala Biblica Piatra Vie, each student is required to write a paper about some passage in the Bible and then present it to the class.  I decided that since I’m requiring my busy students to do the paper, I should do it as well.  Below is my paper about Jacob and his strange, late-night wrestling competition.]

To every child ever born God has given a destiny and purpose.  He has specific plans for each human being and has not only created each person with such individual and unique personalities, likes and dislikes, even talents, but He has also ordained specific things for him to do during his short lifetime, things that only that particular individual can accomplish.  Regrettably, most Christians are so haunted by their failures that they see only a long list of lost opportunities, resulting in a deep and pervasive sense of disappointment, a fear of having somehow missed God’s plans and purposes for their life.  For many, this sense is great enough that they fail to see by faith the redemptive power of God to bring restoration and renewal.  For those who have felt the weight of such a list of failures, there is much encouragement in the life of Jacob, in particular, in one fateful night when God met him and revealed his new identity.

July 24, 2015 - 'No Longer Jacob'

July 24, 2015 – ‘No Longer Jacob’

Continue reading

Noah and the Flood

[In the Communion with God class, each student this year was required to research a story from the Bible and then write a paper about what he learned and what it means for us today, incorporating all we learned about studying the Bible and hearing the voice of God.  Every assignment I give our students, I also give myself.  The following is the result of my research into Noah and the flood.]

The single most devastating flood in modern history occurred in 1931 when the Huang He (Yellow) River flooded; 88,000 square kilometers of land were completely inundated, 80 million people were left homeless, and anywhere from 850,000 to 4 million lost their lives[1].  While grievous, this flood cannot compare to that which occurred during Noah’s lifetime when nearly all of human and animal life was eliminated from earth.  When we hear news of any natural disaster, we find it difficult to face, and our reaction is even stronger when we read about the flood in Genesis.  We wonder, “How could a loving God kill so many millions so casually?”, and we question the goodness of our Creator.  While our first reaction to the story is often one of disgust and bewilderment, the thrust of the narrative as told in Genesis 5:28-9:29 is not, in fact, the catastrophe.  The narrative of the flood is far more a story of redemption than of retribution, and we see this most clearly by examining the relationships within the account, in particular, the broken bond between man and nature and, by extension, the redemption of that between man and God.

Continue reading

Jonah by Ben

[I gave an optional assignment last week in the Communion with God class to take a story from the Bible and re-write it.  It’s an awesome exercise that will help to draw out details from the actual events.  You’ll have to figure out what was really going on, why it happened the way the Bible reports it, what people were thinking and feeling…  I highly recommend it as a way to interact with the Bible!  Just don’t go around thinking you might as well write your own, more interesting version of the Bible and throw out that boring one you bought in the book store.]

Within minutes, the pale blue sky had disappeared entirely, replaced by a rolling mass of thick black and gray storm clouds.  The sun, once shining boldly, struggled now to reach even her fingers around the enveloping clouds.  Beneath the lead casket, the small ship appeared helpless on the blue-green back of a heaving, waking sea monster.  The sea was a giant stirring.

Aboard, every man took notice of the quick change in temperament, from the ancient Philistine captain borne in the womb of the sea to the newly-wed Egyptian couple on their first venture from solid land, and what a venture it will prove to be.

A cold wind brought with it the scent of rain, heavy and hell-bent.

“By Dagon, get ready, men!” the captain shouted and clenched his jaw tightly shut, his eyes challenging the sea and the wind and the rain.

A strike of lightning split the sky, and a blast of thunder shook the timbers of the small ship, the trumpet blast of some great sea god declaring war, announcing the coming of the rain.  The wind blew hard and stiff, and the ropes creaked, screaming under the pressure.  The sailors scrambled about the bridge, from starboard to port, loosening this, tightening that, attempting to anticipate the moves of the storm, most capricious of enemies; while, below decks the remaining sailors urged the vessel forward with herculean effort at the oars.  But for all their pushing and pulling, striving and straining, their most trusted ally had now by all appearances joined herself to the wind and the rain and, as a traitor, refused to obey their orders.

Another crack of lightning ripped the sky in two, and from the gaping hole the rain began to pour.

Continue reading

It’s been a while, so… What have we been up to?

final 0 scoalabiblica-logo-image

Well, it’s been almost a month since my last update, so I figured It’s about time to let you know how things have been going here in Romania.  Since my last update, we started teaching classes at Scoala Biblica Piatra Vie.  It’s our very first semester teaching these courses in Romania, and many books are not available in Romanian, so it’s been far less organized than I like, but God is working in and through us.

We have a total of 12 students taking 3 different classes.  They represent three different continents (Africa, Europe, and North America) and speak four different mother tongues (English, French, Romanian, and Swahili).  Yes, we’re pretty diverse!  Culturally (Romanians, Africans, and Americans), intellectually (from graduate school students to high school dropouts), and spiritually (a one-month-old believer from a Muslim background, Baptists who were taught to believe the charismatic gifts ended in the first century, Pentecostals who never learned to study the Bible, and even a few who don’t know what to call themselves)–we have a wide variety of students!

Continue reading