NANJING, China — Ms Du Nana is a graduate of the three-year Masters program at Nanjing Union Theological Seminary (NJUTS) and a recipient of United Bible Societies (UBS) sponsorship in her third year. During her period of studies at NJUTS, she witnessed the establishment of the Bible Resource Centre (BRC) from scratch to its present scale. As part of the first anniversary celebration of the BRC, she reminiscences about the books she found in the Centre and the benefit she reaped from them.
Witnessing the Fruition of God’s Promises
Nana recalls that a major reason for her application to NJUTS was for the opportunity to use her library. “Coming from Fuzhou, it was difficult to get my hands on theology-related research materials. I had often heard about the seminary from elderly pastors since my childhood and was sure she would be well-equipped with theological books.”
By God’s grace, Nana gained admission to NJUTS. The setting up of the BRC to further enhance the collection of library resources began in the second semester of her first year. She witnessed the transformation of the BRC from being an empty room and just serving as a study for students busy writing term papers, to the holding facility it is today of thousands of valuable Biblical research resources.
“I saw God’s promises come alive before my very eyes as if I was witnessing what has been recorded in 1 Corinthians 2:9, ‘… no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.’ ”
A Special Place for Theological Students
The books in the BRC came in handy for Nana at spiritually needy times. “God led me to read Joshua – God’s Faithful Warrior by Dr. Pan Chou Wee and Running with the Giants by John C. Maxwell even when I was not searching for them. The contents of Dr Pan’s book resonated with my innermost being. It helped me adjust to the lonely life of a research student and prepared me to lead a preacher’s life – one filled with spiritual fellowship in the midst of solitude.”
Besides meeting Nana’s spiritual needs, the BRC resources also helped her to identify her research topic. It was through reading Joseph Huen’s book about the Hebrew culture that her interest in Old Testament Studies was piqued. Another book that clarified her research queries was Walter C. Kaiser Jr’s book on the use of Old Testament passages in the New Testament.
In her preparation to be a minister of the Word, Sun Baoling’s preface for his book, From the Bible to Preaching: Scripture to Sermon, was like a hammer to Nana’s heart. It has caused her to take her calling as a preacher seriously, encouraging her to live out that calling by focusing on daily events, however big or small, with the witness of Immanuel- God with us. This book Nana discovered in the BRC has made preaching and the Bible come alive for her; spurring her to live out God’s word in her daily walk as a preacher-in-training.
Looking back at the insights and perspectives derived from using the BRC resources, Nana has come to the realization that books should not be treated merely as tools. To her, they are not dead but alive with the spiritual and intellectual essence gathered from the lifelong efforts of faithful and God-loving scholars. For Nana, the BRC is a place where all can come simply as they are to gain knowledge, to delight in the joy of new knowledge and to taste the sweetness of fellowship in God’s presence.
Story by: Angela Teo
Edited: Cynthia Oh
Photo: Yeo Tan Tan
2015 © United Bible Societies China Partnership