This week was the second week of classes at Oxford and I met with my New Testament professor for our first tutorial, as well as my Old Testament professor to discuss what we will study. I have really enjoyed the New Testament class so far, we are covering the Gospels and the book of Hebrews, so my last two essays have been on the book of Luke. I am incredibly thankful to have this opportunity of a semester devoted to studying the Bible academically for the first time, and the Oxford system is based on self-guided study, reading commentaries, and writing essays where you are able to form your own opinions about what you’ve learned.
This is system is totally new to me and my NT tutor has kindly shown me how I need to learn to think more independently, comparing what I read with Scripture itself to see if I agree. That sounds really basic, but I am genuinely realizing how little I have read the Bible and interpreted it on my own. I was very happy to learn that she views the Bible in this way and wants to teach me how to read it as the ultimate standard against which to hold opinions and interpretations.
As a whole, this week has been really encouraging, as my roommate and I seem to have found a welcoming, Bible-believing church that sings worship songs loudly and with British-accented conviction. The colorful leaves are really beautiful against old libraries and little city streets, which makes walking everywhere an encouragement in itself. The Lord has really been gracious in providing a community of believers in the church, genuine friendships with unbelievers, time to study his Word with the conviction that it really is self-sufficient and self-interpreting, and beauty in the outdoors while getting to travel a bit in autumn. It has been convicting as well, that my heart for others and way of living should look different as a believer in a community of generally unbelieving people who have similar values outside of faith. It feels like that should come a lot more naturally than it does, but it helpfully humbles me in reliance upon the Holy Spirit’s work and wisdom, rather than my own (this is also easy to write and less easy to actually rely on-- so working on that).
“Beneath the cross of Jesus, I find a place to stand, and wonder at such mercy that calls me as I am; for hands that should discard me hold wounds which tell me ‘Come.’ Beneath the cross of Jesus, my unworthy soul is won.”
-Beneath the Cross of Jesus Keith & Krysten Getty
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