To Ignite a Fire


“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire,” said a Nobel prize winner.[1]


Trustee Justin Taylor puts it this way: “Christian education recognizes the insufficiency of merely receiving, retaining, and relaying notional knowledge (1 Corinthians 8:1; Matthew 7:21–23), but insists that…our study results in delight.”[2]

No wonder the mission of Bethlehem College and Seminary reads,

Under the authority of God’s inerrant word, Bethlehem College & Seminary exists to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ by equipping men and women to treasure Christ above all things, to grow in wisdom and knowledge over a lifetime, and to glorify God in every sphere of life.

Don’t miss the words “passion” and “treasure.” These are not merely brain words, but heart words.

It was at a President’s reception that Chancellor John Piper said,

Education is the instilling of habits of mind and heart that incline and enable students for the rest of their lives to

  • Observe the word and the world carefully
  • Understand what they observe clearly
  • Evaluate what they have understood fairly
  • Feel that evaluation proportionately
  • Apply their discoveries to all of life wisely
  • And express these discoveries clearly and accurately and creatively and winsomely

For the glory of God and the good of the world.[3]

Notice the fourth bullet point—“Feel that evaluation proportionately.” One crucial aim of biblical training is to ignite a fire. We call it serious joy.

Last week when the Board of Trustees met in a seven-hour meeting, the opening devotional went three times longer than budgeted because discussion erupted from hearts kindled by magnificent biblical realities. It’s proportional evaluating like that which unites us.

You may be interested in knowing that the balance of the meeting addressed such things as

  • Separate interviews with two candidates for trusteeship
  • A review of our financial picture, including an enrollment forecast (please consider sending your students and your donations so that they can graduate debt-free)
  • Evaluation of the president
  • Self-evaluation of the Board (required by our accrediting association)
  • Governance matters
  • Infrastructure design
  • Envisioning a possible name change so students applying to the college aren’t inadvertently misled into thinking they are enrolling in seminary

The president’s report closed by saying, “[I]t is good for us to feel our dependence upon the Lord for his provision. We must labor, but he must build the house. We must stay awake, but he must keep the city. We must plan and strategize and experiment and be ready to act, but he must prosper the school. And so we ask him to do so.”

I invite you to co-labor with us in prayer.

Sam Crabtree
Board of Trustees, Chair


Prayer Requests:

  1. Please pray that the Lord will help us to embrace humility, patience, and dependence on him as we labor and wait on his provision.
  2. Pray that we will be faithful in living out our mission statement and our vision for an Education in Serious Joy.
  3. Pray that the Lord will use the education we provide to light a fire in men and women who will treasure him above all and spread a passion for his supremacy wherever they go.
  4. Pray for the continued provision of scholarships that will allow us to graduate students who are ready to launch into life and ministry without the financial burden of student debt.



[1] W.B. Yeats