Growing up, I always struggled with reading the Bible regularly. Even though I knew it was a ‘good’ thing to do, I would often go for months without reading it. When I did open it, I would usually use the ‘flip and point’ method, where I turned to a random page and read a line, hoping it was a message from God. The book just seemed overwhelming and kind of boring to me. I never knew where to start, and I didn’t see how a lot of it was relevant to me. There were some moments, scattered throughout my teen years, where I felt Holy Spirit speak to me through a passage or verse, but those moments were rare. When my friend Lydia suggested to me that I do a YWAM Bible course, I was a little hesitant, but also knew that at some point I needed to get into the Word, and it seemed like a good time to start. I was in a hard place, I felt distant from God and I knew that my view of God’s character and myself was definitely skewed. So, in hope that somehow the Bible would change my perspective, I did the school, and I am so thankful I did! Below are 5 ways in which a YWAM Bible course transformed my life.
1. I learnt that God is the same “yesterday, today and forever”.
Before the school, I couldn’t say that I believed this to be true. I would hear stories from the Old Testament and didn’t see how they lined up with God’s supposed goodness. I was afraid to read them, just in case they proved that God is actually bad. But throughout the school, I allowed myself to ask God questions and search for His heart in Scripture. I began to see the big picture of the Bible and how God did certain things because He had an enteral perspective. He revealed to me that He truly is good and always has been. Now that I’ve finished the school, I am able to say with conviction in my heart, that I believe God is the same God now as He was in the Old Testament, and that everything He has ever done has been out of love.
2. The truth set me free.
I remember the first moment I experienced the reality of this. I was in class and our teacher was reading Psalm 139 out loud to us. As I sat there listening, I felt like the words were piercing into my heart and mind, confronting the lies I had been believing about myself, and setting me free from them. God later gave me a vision of what He was doing. It was a vision of my head covered in thick, black slime. I saw Jesus’ hand reach in, rip the black slime off my head and replace it with a crown of flowers, representing the truth. Throughout the course, I experienced so much freedom and healing as I encountered the Truth, whose name is Jesus.
3. I was equipped with tools to study the Word.
One of the reasons the Bible seemed so overwhelming to me was because I didn’t have the tools to study it. I would often not bother reading some books because I didn’t think there was a way I could make sense of what was being said. What the Bible course did for me was equip me with lots of helpful study tools, empowering me to be able to study books I never thought I could understand or apply to my life. I’ve learnt the importance of handling the Scripture with care, reading it in context and applying it to my life in appropriate ways.
4. God gave me a bigger heart for the people of the world.
Being a full-time missionary with YWAM, I already had a ‘heart for the nations’, however as I studied the Bible for three months, my passion to reach the unreached grew so much more. I was exposed to God’s radical pursuit of the lost and was blown away by the lengths God has gone to show the world His love. His heart for the nations was contagious, causing me to pray with more passion and love people out of the love God has so beautifully demonstrated towards us. I saw where I fit in His redemption story, and I left the course more on fire for His cause than ever before!
5. I grew deeper in intimacy with Jesus.
The nature of the Bible course was quite academic, involving many late nights of study and plenty of hard work, however, I remember thinking it felt like one long, 3-month quiet time. Studying had never been so refreshing, mind-blowing and powerful! As I studied, my intimacy with God deepened so much. I would be writing an essay and have to go take a walk outside to express my heart of worship and love for God. There were also moments of great wrestle, however. The truth I was being exposed to was often quite confronting and convicting. It often felt like I was going through the fire, but it was so worth it because He was refining me like gold, and in the end, I looked more like Jesus and loved Him in new and deeper ways.
It’s been almost two years since I did the Bible Core Course, and as I reflect back on that time I can see how significant it was in giving me a stronger foundation of truth and a deeper appreciation for the Word. I would encourage anyone who is hungry to know Jesus more and gain some tools in how to study the Word to do this school! The Bible is a precious gift that people died for just to have in our language. May we not take it for granted, but treasure the words on those pages, allowing Holy Spirit to sharpen us, and take us so much deeper with Jesus.
YWAM Newcastle Staff