The first-ever Bible Seminar on Old Testament (OT), jointly organized by the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary (NJUTS) and the United Bible Societies (UBS), was inaugurated by the Rt Rev Dr John Chew, UBS Vice President and former Primate of South-East Asia Province. This four-day seminar beginning on 20 February 2012 was attended by 21 Old Testament lecturers from 17 regional and provincial seminaries and Bible schools all over China.
In the opening lecture, The Rt Rev Dr John Chew set the tone for the seminar, stressing:“One needs to have a strong background of the Old Testament in order to interpret the New Testament accurately and to understand the full message of the Bible.”
Two international scholars in OT, Dr Pan Chou Wee, a lecturer at Trinity Theological College (Singapore) and Dr Daniel See, a Translation Consultant with Malaysia Bible Society were arranged by UBS to be resource persons at the seminar. These two OT experts gave daily lectures on OT themes and issues, and helped to guide and mentor each participant on one-to-one sessions. Most participants later commented that these mentoring sessions became their most treasured segment of the seminar.
What Participants Say
Dang Gaiqin, a lecturer from Shaanxi Bible School with more than 20 years of teaching experience, remarked: “This Bible Seminar has widened my perspective and stirred me to be more questioning in order to delve deeper into the Bible text. I am more motivated to work harder and to find answers for myself.”
OT lecturer from Inner Mongolia, Wang Dawei was grateful that the seminar gave him a platform to share his teaching concerns with the other lecturers-cum-participants.
Zhen Liqin, a lecturer at Beijing’s Yanjing Seminary explained that as there was a shortage of teachers in her seminary, she was asked to teach the Old Testament although she lacked prior training in OT and there were few resources to use for class preparation. “Now, after attending this seminar, I feel more confident as a teacher of OT,” she added.
Bible Resource Centre
During their time at Nanjing Union Theological Seminary (NJUTS), participants of the seminar were invited to visit the new Bible Resource Center (BRC). The BRC is currently holding more than 6000 items of which 4800 new resources were donated by the United Bible Societies. The Bible Resource Center is a reference library, scheduled for an official opening in May 2012,
Zhang Shuilian, (see photo right) a teacher at Zhong Nan Bible Seminary for 24 years, said the seminar has enlightened her. “It has also given me a renewed impetus to Old Testament teaching.”
What Zhang found in the BRC excited her so much that she spent her free time during the seminar at the BRC. “I have copied down the titles of many books in BRC which I hope to read or get hold of some day. The resources here are really an envy of many!” Zhang said, adding that she would love to set aside a week every year to do personal reading and research at NJUTS, more specifically to use the resources in BRC.
Just the Beginning
Zhang Shuilian, like many other participants, expressed the need and desire to have such a Bible Seminar yearly. They thought it was an excellent way for them to exchange ideas on different teaching methodology, to get updated on latest findings, to share thoughts, and to receive expert advice from the professors.
“We thank God for this important and strategic seminar which has helped the 21 Old Testament lecturers from different seminaries in China. They have been taught, mentored, guided, inspired and encouraged in their Biblical studies and teaching. Through them and their teaching, thousands of their students, who are future Church leaders and pastors, Bible preachers and teachers, will be taught God’s Word. And their students will bless many more Chinese Christians with the Word of God in the years to come,” reflected Kua Wee Seng, Coordinator of UBS China Partnership.
He added, “Thank God for the generous contribution of the donors which have made this Bible Seminar possible. The Lord willing, we hope that more will continue to give generously so as to enable us to hold such Bible Seminars on a yearly basis.”
Written by Jock Foo and Jenise Lee
Edited by Pamela Choo
for United Bible Societies, China Partnership