Nanjing, CHINA – “Dear God, if you let me live, I will rise up to serve You when You call.” Mr Zhang Kun, 34, vividly recalls a promise he made to God when he was debilitated by a sickness during his high school days. His body felt extremely weak and his spirit was overwhelmed with fear. Miraculously, after he prayed, the fear left him. “From then on, I continued praying and committing my studies and exams to God. Each time, I can see God helping me.” By God’s grace, Zhang successfully completed his college and postgraduate studies.
During his postgraduate studies, Zhang began to develop a burden for the Lord’s work. “I saw the needs of the church. At the same time, I struggled in my decision to serve full time in the church. It meant that I need to pass the opportunity to work in the secular world. But the Lord guided and strengthened me step by step.”
Upon graduation, Zhang took the step of faith, answered God’s call, and enrolled himself into Nanjing Union Theological Seminary (NJUTS) to equip and prepare himself. One of his favourite subjects was Biblical Studies. After obtaining his Master’s degree, he went on to do a Master of Theology (ThM) in Biblical Studies.
When Zhang was doing research for his master’s thesis, he began to realise the significance of the decision God had led him to make to serve the church full time. “We have a lot to do for Biblical Studies in China. For instance, it is difficult to find adequate Chinese literature for this subject. I hope that I can contribute my part to Biblical Studies in China.”
The summer of 2022 was a highlight for Zhang in his seminary studies. He was one of the two first-prize winners awarded by NJUTS with the sponsorship of the United Bible Societies (UBS). It is a special award to recognize the top three ThM graduates for their outstanding research in Biblical Studies. To engender more local research in Biblical Studies, UBS is partnering with NJUTS, China’s national level seminary, to encourage Christian researchers in this area.
“I was thrilled and excited to hear that my thesis won the award! It was a great encouragement to see that my efforts and dedication to Biblical Studies had been acknowledged,” Zhang expressed joyously. Zhang said he felt very privileged and grateful to have won the award.
“The award has motivated those who are keen in Biblical Studies to dedicate themselves and dive more into this important discipline. We appreciate many people, including UBS, who support and care about our endeavours.”
Besides moral encouragement, the award also provided a great relief to Zhang who was totally dependent on his personal savings to do full-time studies. Zhang’s parents are lay preachers who have been faithfully serving the church for more than 20 years. “This award has provided financial support and encouraged me to press on in my studies and ministries. Aside from supporting my family, I am also saving up for the doctorate program in Biblical Studies. I will offer and make myself available for the Lord to use me,” said Zhang, who is determined to pursue the calling that God has called him to.
Will you please join us in supporting Chinese seminary students like Zhang Kun with your prayers and financial resources so that they can devote themselves to studying the Scriptures and shepherding God’s flock with His Word?
Story: Marcus Xiao
2023@UBS China Partnership