China Bible Teachers Back to School

Dr Chan Yew Meng (standing) and his ‘students’ at the Second OT seminar at Nanjing Union Theological Seminary July 2013

JIANGSU, China– 22 teachers were back in the classroom to learn more about the Old Testament (OT) from 15-26 July 2013 at Nanjing Union Theological Seminary (NJUTS).

This two-week symposium, sponsored by the United Bible Societies, was the result of the overwhelming response from the OT lecturers who attended last year’s symposium. Most lamented over the shortage of time and were hungering for more. This year, Bishop John Chew, Vice President of United Bible Societies (UBS) and former principal of Trinity Theological College, Singapore, Dr Yu Suee Yan, UBS Global Translation Advisor and Dr Chan Yew Meng, Registrar and Old Testament lecturer, Trinity Theological College took turns to share. Bishop Chew used the exile of the Israelites to give a telescopic view of the OT. Dr Yu’s microscopic approach helped the participants appreciate the delicate nature of translating the OT and Dr Chan gave an overview of teaching from Genesis to Malachi and addressed practical issues like curriculum planning.

Learning from Each Other

Bishop John Chew giving the opening lecture.

Besides classroom learning, participants were split into groups to allow teachers to exchange ideas and learn from each other. First-timer Tan Yuzhen believes the teachers’ time together has truly been meaningful. “Even the informal gatherings like meal times and post-class discussions have been beneficial.” Tan from Hunan Bible School felt very grateful to be selected for this programme. She had recently returned from her studies in Hong Kong and will be the first teacher at her school to specialise in the OT.

She felt the timing of this seminar was nothing short of providential. Besides the teacher exchange forum, participants had the opportunity to have one-to-one sessions with the key speakers. Dr Chan Yew Meng could see the eagerness of his students to address practical classroom issues and students were quick to show their appreciation of his willingness to share his knowledge and experience.

Wang Jiawei, the key coordinator for the OT seminar from NJUTS was pleased that everything has gone smoothly. Despite having to manage the logistics for 22 participants, charming Wang still had a smile on her face. “Bishop Chew and Dr Yu offered their refreshing scholarly perspectives. Dr Chan’s lectures have been very practical in terms of helping the teachers plan their syllabus …It has been my pleasure to help in the organisation of the symposium.”

Dr Yu browsing at the BRC with the students.

Using the Bible Resource Centre

During their time at the NJUTS, many of the participants were found in the Biblical Resource Center. Many were seen reading and gathering resources for the upcoming semester. High praise should be accorded to NJUTS who specially extended the library hours so that the participants could use the facilities.

Second-timer to the OT seminar Zhang Shuilian from Zhongnan seminary says that her time at the library has been most useful. This time, Zhang came prepared. There were certain questions she had in mind and areas she wanted to research. Hence, she could be diligently found each afternoon and evening reading titles related to these subjects. Li Jingwei from nearby Jiangsu seminary was happy to use the resource center. “I have found my time at this seminar very rewarding. Firstly, having the precious opportunity to learn from teachers but also knowing, I can access the wealth of resources at the Biblical Resource Center.”

United Bible Societies is happy to partner with Nanjing Union Theological Seminary in the up-skilling of Bible teachers in China.

To read about last year’s seminar, please go to: The Bible Seminar on Old Testament

“If you wish to participate in making the next Bible Seminar possible for Bible lecturers in Nanjing, China, please make your financial contribution to the Bible Society in your country and designate to UBS China Partnership – Equipping Christian Leaders”

(Project 71252)

Story and photos: Jenise Lee
Edited: Cynthia Oh
2013 © United Bible Societies China Partnership