The Need for Continuing Theological Education

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GUANGDONG, China – Approximately 6,000 ordained pastors and 190,000 lay preachers in China need continuous theological education to serve their churches more effectively. United Bible Societies (UBS) partners with seminaries and churches in China to conduct relevant Bible equipping courses for these pastors and preachers.

Most pastors and preachers, especially those in the rural churches, often do not have the luxury of time to further their theological studies even after many years in ministry. Yet it is necessary for them to do so. Through Bible equipping courses, pastors and preachers will be able to shepherd their church members more effectively and with increased motivation. They can also nurture and train future leaders to serve in the churches.

With the support of UBS, Guangdong Theological Seminary organised an equipping course for its alumni in July 2022 on the subject “The Chinese Bible - From Manuscript to the Chinese Union Version” taught by Dr. Simon Wong, UBS Translation Consultant. Some participants who attended this course shared their experiences.

Poster of the Bible equipping course organised by Guangdong Theological Seminary
Wang Chaoying, 45, Pastor

“[During the course], I was amazed at how God oversaw the entire process of how the Bible came to be - from its writing to its transmission, from the manuscripts to translations and then to the different editions. We ought to cherish the Bible we have today as it involved the effort of many people.

During the pandemic, believers in our church gathered online to read the Bible together, and to edify and pray for one another. Psalms 23 and 29 have encouraged us to have an unwavering faith. The Word of God has been a reminder of His sovereignty in this challenging time.”

Qiu Zhentai, 51, Pastor

“I would like to use what I have learnt in this Bible equipping course to explain the origins of the Bible to believers and help them establish a correct view of the Bible and apply the biblical truths in their daily life.

This equipping course has also helped me personally in my pastoral role and academic research. The verse from Amos 8:11 has been a constant reminder to me to not ignore God’s Word, but to seek His wisdom and power to solve problems and face the challenges in our daily life:

"Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God,
    “when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
    but of hearing the words of the Lord.”

I am determined to study God’s Word and walk the path that pleases God.”

With the national average ratio of 1 ordained pastor to 6700 believers in the Protestant churches in China, time for further study is a luxury many pastors and preachers cannot afford but need. (Photo: Jimmy Lam)
Chen Ruifen, 25, Preacher

“I would recommend this Bible equipping course to preachers and co-workers to enhance their understanding of the development, reliability and truthfulness of the Bible.

I feel that it is very important and necessary for me and my fellow preachers to participate in such training. Most of us are very busy with our daily pastoral care duties, and we could not make time to further equip ourselves in God’s Word. Being able to attend such a course helps us to increase our knowledge and obtain answers to our questions about the Bible without having to disrupt our church ministries.”

Liu Hui, 36, Preacher

“After graduating from the seminary and serving as a pastor for some time, I feel that it is very necessary for us to re-learn and re-charge ourselves in God’s Word.

At present, most of us in the Chinese churches use the Chinese Union Version Bible and trust in this one translation only. After attending this Bible equipping course, I hope to guide believers to understand and recognise the diversity in Bible versions and to learn to look at God's Word more accurately.

I’m thankful for this course and I pray that God, in His own mighty power, will mobilise His people to accomplish His will abundantly and exceedingly, and that churches in China will be a blessing to the world.”

The Chinese Union Version was translated in 1919. It is the predominant version used amongst the Chinese Churches in China. (Photo: Jared Wong)
Story: May Ang
2023©UBS China Partnership