A Letter to New Bible College Students

Writing PenDear New Bible College Students,

Not so long ago I sat where you sit. I remember feeling anxiety and excitement. I remember wondering if Bible College would be harder than high school, and I hoped I could succeed. I remember asking myself why I came: was it to please my parents, or because I really loved God? Whenever people asked me why I came, I told them I wanted to be a pastor. That sounded like a noble answer, and my dad is a pastor so it made sense. However, deep in my heart I didn’t know what else to do. College was just a better option than living with my folks.

Feeling Less Than Average:

Before I tell you the rest of my story, let me explain why college made me nervous. I was always less than average when it came to school. In fact, one of my grade school teachers told my mother “Josh is so bad at spelling he will be lucky to finish high school.” Fortunately, spell-check was invented shortly after this conversation!

To compensate for my lack of confidence I put tremendous effort into my first assignment. I even worked up the courage to ask a third-year student to help me proof-read my work. We spent several hours reworking my paper until he was finally satisfied that it would receive a passing grade. Although I was grateful for the help, it freaked me out! If my work needed to be that good in order to pass, I was doomed. Nevertheless, I submitted my first paper and waited. A Letter To New Bible College StudentsAfter a week, I opened my mail box and pulled out my first official college paper. I was delighted to see a mark of 88%. That paper gave me my first taste of academic success, and as they say, the rest is history. I now have a master’s degree in Biblical Studies, and teach at Eston Bible College. I still marvel at God’s sense of humour—I went from being the kid whom people predicted would fail high school, to the professor who marks other people’s spelling!

Don’t Resist the Process:

After ten years at Eston College, I want to tell you that if I can do it, you can too! Let me leave you with this advice: those who gain the most from Bible College have this in common, they don’t resist the process. You might not feel like you have all your ducks in a row, but that’s pretty normal! As C. S. Lewis once said, “The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.” 1)C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (HarperOne, 2009), 60. Whether you grew up in church, or are brand new to Christianity, God promises to give wisdom to those who ask (James 1:5). If you will seek God and trust the process prepared for you at college, God will honor your obedience by opening his word to you.

Bless you as you strive to follow Christ!

Josh Chalmers

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