ANHUI, China – Due to the stringent Covid control measures implemented across China, the free copy of the Chinese Study Bible (CSB) finally reached Yu Feng by mail about a year after his seminary graduation in 2021. Thanks to the diligent teachers at Anhui Theological Seminary who did the tedious work of compiling and confirming the mailing addresses of all their graduates and ensuring the mailing service was in order. Yu was extremely thankful to have received his personal copy of the CSB, distributed with the support of the United Bible Societies (UBS).
“Whilst ministering to the younger believers in Feixi county, I realised that I needed to correctly handle God’s Word and shepherd the believers,” Yu reflected. “Some of the young people whom I am ministering to struggle to spend meaningful and adequate time with God. Their foundation in the faith is unstable. Some of them don’t feel loved and have difficulty expressing love. They are willing to share their vulnerabilities but may not be willing to accept other people’s views and advice. I know there is only one way to help them – the authority of God’s Word! The CSB came really timely!” Yu was relieved.
Yu found the Introduction section in the CSB explaining the theme, time of writing, author and outline of each book useful. “Whilst doing my sermon preparation or describing an event in the Bible, I need to examine its background to have a deeper understanding. The CSB has met my needs in this aspect.”
“I found the introduction and analysis of Israel’s geographical terrain, customs, and religious habits with lots of details very well captured. Such meticulous narrative was enlightening. For example, in Genesis 30, Jacob and Leah’s eldest son Reuben found the mandrakes in the field. I was wondering what kind of plant was this, and what would be its significance to this passage? I tried to look up for information and finally found the specific explanation in the CSB. Mandrake plants were believed to have helpful effects on fertility! I now see the reasons for the family tiff,” Yu shared excitedly.
It’s evident why CSB has proven helpful to Yu and many of his counterparts. Due to the general lack of Biblical resources in China, UBS has been supporting the Churches in China to provide Bible resources that will help the lay preachers and Bible school students who are unable to afford these resources. The CSB is a translation and adaptation of the study notes from Crossway’s English Standard Version Study Bible and has been well received by the Chinese churches.
Before attending the Seminary, Yu worked in Nanjing after he graduated from College. Everything seemed to go wrong at that time. When he participated in a company team building event, he fell ill, and it developed into an electrolyte disorder. Whilst getting to the hospital for an emergency treatment, he met with a road accident! He started feeling anxious and would wake up from nightmares in the middle of the night worrying that the same unfortunate accidents would happen again. “When I felt restless, I would go to the church even if there was no meeting. I would ride a bicycle around the church building till I felt calm and peaceful. I then decided to quit my job in Nanjing city and return to my hometown to study theology,” Yu shared with much relief.
When Yu first came to faith, he turned to Psalm 91 “by chance” one day. He did not have a deep understanding of this chapter so he went to look up the exegetical commentaries but there were not many findings. When he obtained the CSB, he intentionally turned to Psalm 91. To his delight, he learnt that Psalm 91 is an affectionate poem that exudes God’s love. During his daily devotion, he would meditate on Psalm 91 to feel and appreciate God’s distinct love.
“The CSB’s interpretation of Psalm 91 shows me God’s omnipresent love. I felt comforted, and I experienced the power of such love in my personal life and ministry, like in helping the young people who are struggling in their faith. With the CSB, I am now more confident when delivering my sermon supported by Biblical truth. We are called to be the channel of the Gospel, and I want to be held responsible for that calling. Studying the Scripture via the CSB has helped me tremendously to live out this calling.”
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Story: May Ang
Photo: Anhui Theological Seminary
2022@UBS China Partnership