As a new student at Dallas Theological Seminary I had the pleasure of going through new student orientation. You remember orientations right? Where the drill is, “Hey you sit through a days worth of lectures and we will give you a cardboard sandwich for lunch, a sack full of coupons and a Frisbee.” In a lot of ways, orientation at DTS followed that formula verbatim (except my sandwich was more soggy than hard) and it felt more like a borientation than an orientation (sorry I couldn’t help it), but there were aspects to the experience that I was not anticipating.
The first was how eclectic the student body is at DTS. At my table for breakfast I sat next to an older gentlemen in his 50’s who is retired from the Air Force where he traveled all over the world but he has this vigor to know God more deeply. So in his twilight years he is stopping so that he can know God. Another student at my table is from China and he learned English so that he could come to DTS just so he could learn Greek! In fact I was amazed by the amount of students from Asian descent. DTS has really done a great job of making their resources available to students all over the world so that they can get solid Biblical training (DTS is currently translating a number of their online course into Chinese, you can read more about it here).
After breakfast we were called into the chapel and then something else happened that I did not expect. President Dr. Bailey introduced the next speaker, former DTS President Dr. Donald K. Campbell. Now I didn’t really know what he was going to say but when a man has a building named after him on campus and he is still alive, you pay attention. He stood in front of that podium, looking at the near record number of incoming students and said “What a privilege it is to study the word of God.” He had me. In the context in which he said these words he was addressing students who would study the Bible day in and day out and he urged us to not get immune to it and see it merely as a textbook. However my thoughts did not go to the future when I have to outline the book of Leviticus where Dr. Campbell’s words will no doubt be a mantra in my head. My thoughts went to the past. How often have I viewed the study of God’s word as an obligation instead of a privilege?
I don’t know if you have ever thought of this before but Bibles were not a common everyday item until the invention of the printing press in the 16th century. That means for the 2,000 years of Church history nearly ¾ of the church has not read the Bible for themselves. They would look at us and see the Bible on our book shelf, the Bible in our car, and for goodness sakes the Bible on our phones and go “why do the take for granted what I have so longed for my entire life.” The sad fact is that the Bible has become so common place that we have been diluted to the wonder and the awe that God has spoken. Never forget what a privilege it is to study the word of God!
His Boy and Yours