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A little reflection on my time in SBS. PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 10 March 2014 05:38

How SBS saved my life:

by Tricia Dougan


Is this too strong of a statement? Or is it the truth of what happens to your life when you are actively in the word of God?

I always use to say, “I would never do an SBS, unless God made it extremely clear, there is no way!” Last spring God made it evident that He was changing the plans. I was planning on finishing my last year of college and moving on from there. But of course the Lord knows more than we do and He knew I needed the SBS. I am still going back and finishing school, but this was a little sidetrack that turned into a pivotal year for my faith and for my overall well being.

For the last two years I had struggled with anxiety. This anxiety was a daily battle and had begun to affect my health, my grades in school and my overall approach towards God. I can confidently say that this has completely changed. There was not a certain day, or a certain book of the bible, or a certain piece of advice that changed this for me. It was the continual act of being in the word of God and learning who God was. It was never about me. The Bible is not about us. The Bible is about God and who He is and who He will remain to be. He is the hero of the story, he is the focal point. And yet He still makes us a part of the story, He still loves us in a way we will never be able to fathom, He still places trust in us that we did not earn, and He still pursues us when we are actively running from Him.

I assumed coming into this school that I would get all of my ‘Head’ questions answered. That my theology would be concrete in every way. Don’t get me wrong, my views on many things have changed and have become more stable. And yet the biggest thing this school has done for me is a renewal of my faith. After being in YWAM and seeing many amazing miracles and incredible acts of faith I would have assumed that this is when my belief in those things would have increased the most. But for me, after studying the word of God, after reading the gospels and seeing the acts of Jesus and the disciples, after reading the Old Testament and seeing the faith of those who loved God, I can honestly say this school has renewed my faith in miracles. My view of how incredible the Holy Spirit is has changed, my desire to share the gospel with others, my desire to pray and see healing, my desire to share the good news with the nations has increased a million fold during this school.

I am not sure how this happened. Again there was not a certain instance but a year full of studying who God is and what His word says that has changed everything for me. I feel more stable in my life than I have ever felt, I feel ready to make a huge transition and move back home. A transition that would have terrified me and possibly made me crippled by anxiety a year ago.

This is my personal story of SBS. I am not saying if you have anxiety that it will be solved by this school, I am simply sharing my own experience. I can assure you however that if you do this school you will see the face of God in a whole new way. You will work hard, and there may be days where you are annoyed with all the reading you have to do. But I can assure you that you will change, if you allow God to show you himself in this book. God of the Bible is the God of today. He is still actively moving in the world and in our lives, He still fervently fights for you and He still calls us into the greatest story ever told.

Isaiah 26: 3 ESV " You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."

Last Updated on Monday, 10 March 2014 06:09
Why I Love Grading PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 October 2013 15:34

By Serena  (SBS Turner Valley, Canada)

I have just finished grading a student’s work. In some parts they did fantastic; in others, there were serious challenges. After grading their work, I wrote them feedback: “You did this great”; “This is what I want you to work on, this is how you will get more depth.” And at the end I encouraged them. I shared how I was frustrated in SBS that I could not look at all that I wanted to, but that this is just the beginning of Bible study. And that as they keep studying the Bible, “it just gets better.”

As graders we get to pull out the best from our students. We are their coaches. Just like a sports coach encourages their players to be the best they can be, we do the same. A sports coach will identify a player’s weak spots and work with them on those weak spots until they are no longer an obstacle to them playing the best they possible can. As graders we are our students’ coaches. We get to cheer them on. We also get to help correct those areas that they are weak in. This will help them to get the most out of the Word and their time in SBS. I love that we have something that most sports coaches don’t. We have the Holy Spirit to help us identify those weak spots. We can pray in the process. Ask God to show you your students’ weak spots. He knows which are most important to work on right now. And ask God how you are to encourage each student. When we deal with people, there is usually more going on than meets the eye. God knows better than we do what each student needs most. It may be something you never would have expected.

Why do I love grading? Because I love my students. I want God’s best for them in everything, and that includes in their SBS work as well.


Last Updated on Monday, 14 October 2013 15:37
The Importance of the WHY Question in Inductive Bible Study PDF Print E-mail
Written by Judy Smith   
Monday, 22 July 2013 09:42


This is a “Back to Basics” reminder. I want to focus on the Why question as the bridge between observation and interpretation. (See original handout used in the SBS called, The School of Biblical Studies: the Basics Of Bible Study. This handout is found under The Method in the Menu: it is called Overview of the Method, The Basics of Bible Study). Note in this document Question number 13 under interpretation questions and also on page 5 the number 3 point.


In recent years the bridge between observation and interpretation has been changed in some SBS manuals. Instead of the Why question as the bridge, Historical Background has been put in as the bridge between observation and interpretation. I see this as a less than helpful change.

In The School of Biblical Studies a student is first asked to explore the text using variety of observation questions. The next step is to move from Observation to Interpretation. The Why question gets a person started. The student begins to ask Why questions about what they have observed. This leads to more Why questions. In fact Why questions keep coming. There are no limits on possible Why questions.

Why questions require deeper thinking, more digging, maybe more observation, and most likely Historical Background research. It is one thing to observe and answer what happened, where it happened, when it happened and who it involved. It is another thing when the student asks why it happened, and why it happened at that place and at that specific time and to those individuals. This opens up a whole new view of the Text. The answers to why questions are more complex. It is getting at the reason for things.

For example, I can observe that Isaiah has three main themes in Chapters 40-47. The themes are: idolatry, God as Creator (not just of the physical creation but also of events and new things) and third Godʼs ability to interpret and explain the past and to predict the future. If I then ask, why are these three themes highlighted in this section, I have then entered into thinking about the reason these three are put together.

I developed a whole lecture on Idolatry due to the Why question. I asked myself, why are people into idolatry? Idolatry is so foreign to my worldview. I had a hard time understanding why Israel keep turning to idols. This lead to considerable thinking and research (Historical Background) on the worldview of an idolator in the Old Testament. I would never have done the background research if I had not asked the Why question.

The point I am making is this. Why questions lead to Historical Background considerations and research. A person does not know what Historical Background to research or consider until they start asking a battery of Why questions.

In summary, the Why question is the bridge between observation and interpretation. Letʼs ask the Why question, lots of why questions.


Last Updated on Monday, 22 July 2013 10:17

Reflections 3/14

Charles Spurgeon was once asked, "How do you defend the Bible?" "Very easy" he responded.  "The same way I defend a lion.  I simply let it out of its cage."

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