Why did I do this? Getting real about Bible College

On the journey of studying theology, nothing is wasted. Every mark, assignment, and lecture is an invitation to growth. I have learned this first hand.

In 2020, I began my Master of Theological Studies at Morling College. It has been one of the most challenging and rewarding seasons of my life so far.

Most days I roll out of bed at 6 AM. Meditate, read, make breakfast and am out the door by 7.30 AM. I drive to work, overthink and sift through my mental sandbox, quietly trying to prioritise the upcoming work day in my head.

I arrive at the office, make my first coffee and sit to set up my weekly workflow and begin reading my emails. Work, work, work, work.

Great, it’s 4.36 PM. I am content with the work I’ve put in today. My brain feels fried – I think I have time for a short run before getting home for a quick dinner, grilled chicken and an assortment of vegetables.

Then into my next assignment – a 2000-word critical book review on The Road to Character.

This is usually what a day in my life has looked like for the past two years. It’s been a time of finding the sweet spot between full-time study and work.

Working in marketing and at a cafe on the weekends. It’s been a season of squeezing in time for exercise and friendships.

A season of finding 20 minutes for a quick dip at my local beach, remembering God’s kindness in a sunset and his joy in the laugh of a child running into their mother’s arms. Two weeks ago, I submitted my last assignment (13 weeks and nearly 25,000 words later).

You may be reading this and feel called or inspired to study theology.

Can I encourage you whether you are a mother raising children, an 18-year-old passionate about missions, or find yourself in the middle of your career studying is possible and it is worth it!

I promise you that studying theology will provide you with more than just a degree or award; it will be a truly transformative experience.

I want to share three lessons I learned from my studies over the past two years:

1. Study shapes us

As friends were getting married or starting families or buying their first home, I found myself week in and week out in public libraries (they have great WiFi and free air con!) studying concepts such as Covenant, the life and ministry of Jesus, how to develop a robust orthopraxy, wrestling with Calvin, or contemplating the doctrine of sin (just to name a few).

At times I was frustrated or completely perplexed – but I loved it. More than just giving me a mark, these hours of study and research have shaped and formed me.

I did not digest every word I read or memorise every journal article or theological insight we discussed, but I know my mind and heart have been shaped and enlivened to see God’s work in me and the world around me.

2. How to think (critically)

Say your pastor assigns you a two-week study on Covenant, where do you start? In the age of (mis)information, I’ve learned the importance and skill of researching.

From writing 2000-word critical book reviews to 4000-word major projects on the kingdom of God and the work and ministry of Jesus, thanks to my lectures and courses, I know where to look and how to develop a well-informed argument. Less Facebook, more commentaries!

3. Be kind to yourself

Pursuing a degree in higher education is a great blessing and opportunity. I wanted to do my best on every assignment. The times I received a 72 over a 78, I would feel devastated and out of my depth. But in my final meeting, my research supervisor told me: “Be kind to yourself.”

Now, you may be thinking: “Why did you put yourself through this?” or “Sounds too hard.” Honestly, it was challenging, but I am beginning to learn, after 26 years on this beautiful planet, that anything worthwhile takes time, perseverance and persistence.

So again, if you feel an inkling to step into a season of study, I would love to invite you to Morling’s Next Open Nights in February 2023.