The Truth about Bible College, Part II

Last week I told you about how I, a Bible college grad, learned something awesome at church…leading me to conclude that you don’t have to go to Bible college to learn the Bible.

And as promised, here is part two, where I debunk two popular Bible college lies.

Lie #1: Bible college graduates know everything there is to know about the Bible.

You may have seen it before: the Bible college graduate comes home fresh from commencement and he’s pretty sure he knows it all. He’s had the training, knows the difference between Greek and Hebrew, and might even definitively  explain the Trinity in the middle of Sunday School. “Well, actually, what that word means in this verse is…” and he goes on to enlighten you with his vast knowledge of the Scriptures.

Yes, there are some who actually do think they know everything. And I’m afraid there’s nothing you can tell them that will convince them otherwise. On behalf of Bible college graduates everywhere, please accept my apology for the annoyance and obnoxious attitudes that some of us possess.

But let me assure you that we are not all so erudite. In fact, in my experience it is quite the opposite. I find it puzzling and humbling that the more I learn about the Bible, the more I realize how much I don’t know.

And catch this: the more time I spend in God’s Word, the less holy I become in my own eyes. God’s Word shows me just how selfish and sinful I truly am. So while I do grow in godliness and holiness as I walk with Him, I also see my true colors. Where I once thought I was doing pretty good, I find trash cans and dirty laundry in my heart. And please don’t take this as super-spiritual piety and contrition. It’s a frustrating phenomenon, because I often feel like I can’t win. “But He gives more grace…”

I’m not sure that every Bible college grad will recount this experience, but I bet if you talk to a good number of them, if they’re honest, they’ll describe a similar process.

We don’t know everything, and we never will.

Lie #2: You can’t know anything about the Bible if you didn’t go to Bible college. 

Somehow, I’m not sure how, but somehow, we believe that we aren’t qualified to serve or teach or even learn or do anything in church if you don’t go to Bible College. But guess what? That’s a lie. In fact, there is no biblical mandate for formal Bible college education. It does instruct, however, older men and women to teach younger men and women. And sometimes that looks like formal education. Whether right or wrong, our society values the diploma. But, as evidenced by my epiphanic moment last Sunday (and those of others), it’s clear that a Bible college degree is not necessary for finding spiritual knowledge and nourishment in God’s Word. What is required, though, is your engagement. Pay attention. Listen. Read, and think.

“I didn’t go to Bible college” is not a legitimate excuse. Find a new one.

One thought on “The Truth about Bible College, Part II

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  1. Thank you Emily for your honest appraisal. Your illumination is evidence of a rightful awe and reverence of a Holy God. Perhaps we share Isaiah’s experience and confession recorded in Isaiah 6?

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