[This piece in our series was written by current BCS senior Katie Fischer.]
Read Part 1 of our series.
For the past three years it has been my joy to study at Bethlehem College. Even though every step hasn’t been marked by a well written paper or that desired exam score, it has been deeply marked by the faithfulness of our God. Of the many things God has taken me through, my identity as his daughter in his church has been among the most important.
When I arrived at Bethlehem as a freshman my thinking about being a woman was little different from the world’s. As I began studying the Bible in a rigorous environment alongside a group of men who hoped to shepherd the Body, I wasn’t sure of my place. I wondered how spending late nights pouring over my Greek, memorizing Hebrew paradigms, and studying church polity was beneficial. My heart longed to know how, as a woman, I was honoring God. He heard my pleas and answered clearly; altering my worldview and creating a paradigm that ignited in me a new vigor with which to pursue my studies. These three reasons give me a desire to keep studying, even on hard days.
First, I want to be a wife who strengthens her husband and is a blessing to him. I have come to understand the role of wife as something precious and invaluable. If God provides a husband for me, I want to be a fruitful branch in his house (Psalm 128:3). To do him good and not harm, to be a helpmate who is a blessing. To be a wife who fears the Lord and has wisdom. A woman who posses these traits builds up her husband and blesses him beyond end. She isn’t a constant dripping of rain in her husband’s life, always nagging and never letting up. (Proverbs 27:15). Alongside better understanding the role of wife, I came to love the role of motherhood. Being a mother became a high calling, rather than a forced leave of absence from a career. God has chosen women to be the ones to nurture and care for children, training them in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). Studying the Bible produces women who have children and husbands who rise up and bless them (Proverbs 31:28). To be entrusted by God with the life of little ones isn’t something for which to put a career on hold, it is something I want to eagerly labor and prepare for. Contrary to what I once thought, marriage and motherhood is an honorable way to be spent by the Lord. I suddenly realized I was going to school because I wanted to be the very best wife and mother that I could, and there is not a hint of shame in that confession. I want to be equipped as well as possible to do a job so honorable.
Secondly, studying the Bible in an academic setting allows me to be fed richly from the Word. God has chosen to reveal himself in the Bible and I want to be able to properly handle it and so drink deeply from it (2 Timothy 2:15). In turn, I want to entrust to my children and to other women what has been given to me (2 Timothy 2:2). Feeling a desire to go spread the gospel overseas, I see it as my responsibility to be able to properly exegete the Bible, knowing I will be judged more strictly. But, whether I end up discipling women overseas, or down my street, I am being equipped to be faithful to the Word of God in any circumstance, honoring my Savior. Biblical faithfulness isn’t only for our pastors, missionaries, and teachers to strive for, but for everyone in the Body.
My final reason for studying at BCS came as I saw how God has drastically changed my life and heart since arriving. As I have studied the Bible in depth and rigorously at Bethlehem, God has awakened my affections more for him. I am pursuing this degree because I want to know God well so that I might love him more. By God’s grace, studying the Bible academically has awakened my affections and forever changed the course of my life. By being given these tools I will able to commune deeply with God for the rest of my life, to kill my sin more effectively and to seek his face more every day.
God has made it evident to me that women aren’t to sit idly by while men study the Bible in an academic setting; rather, it is vital to the church that women study the Bible. It will create wise mothers, able helpers, discerning missionaries, winsome coworkers, loving daughters, encouraging friends and bright lights in dark places. A college education isn’t the only way to produce this kind of woman, but it is one of the best ways to think hard and diligently about our Creator and his Word. Being a woman who brings glory to our Father isn’t for the faint-hearted or the weak-minded, but for those who fear the Lord. God has used Bethlehem College to that end in my life and I will continually praise him for it.