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Christian Union: The Magazine
July 2, 2024

Recent Survey Reveals Studying Scripture is Life-Giving to Students 

by erin conner, writer and communications associate

"It has honestly kept me alive. I think if I never had this spot to go to while being on this challenging campus, I would not be here. Literally," wrote one Columbia University student in response to a question on an end of year survey about Christian Union's Bible courses. The "spot" this student is referring to is CU's Ministry Center at Columbia located just blocks from campus where several CU Bible Courses are held each semester. 

This response and many others came pouring in as part of an end-of-year reflection given to students involved in Christian Union's Bible courses at Dartmouth, Brown, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Penn, Cornell, and Stanford. In 2023, 387 students were enrolled in Bible courses across all of Christian Union Universities' ministries. 

The following is a compilation of several testimonies shared by students at Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, and Cornell about the power of being in a men's or women's Christian Union Bible Course in the spring of 2024: 

"Having a 'spiritual role model' has been so helpful and encouraging throughout my journey. My Bible course leader is always so happy to answer questions and encourage you. I can truly say that having him in my life made me to be a better person and follower of Christ."

"The friends and community that Bible course has given me is such a safe space every week to learn and grow in the Bible. In addition to that, though, it allowed me to be surrounded by girls whom I love and who have truly broadened my horizons."

"How welcoming, kind, and honest everyone is --> creates an open space where I feel comfortable sharing my own experiences and struggles."

"My favorite part of the Bible Course is just hearing other people’s perspectives, especially since we are all at Cornell together and learning through their experiences as well as my own."

"Bible courses allow you to take an old scripture and relate it to every day life. The morals and teachings of God are applicable every second of the day, and sometimes reading out loud and discussing with others can help you better understand them."

"An in-depth study on various Christian topics, where you can meet other Christians, join a great community, and get answers to many of your questions on faith."

"A great time to experience God's presence, dig into his word, and hang with Godly fellowship."

"Bible Course is a place where men can gather together to be with God and seek God’s heart by studying scripture that teaches us about God’s character, words, and actions."

"The Bible Course is an amazing community to make Christ-centered friendships and deepen your relationship with the Lord in between your busy college schedule."

"Every aspect of Bible course has been meaningful and it is the best Bible Course experience I have had."

"The advice and insight have drawn me closer to God."

"Having someone who you can feel comfortable to truly share anything with and rather than receive a bias personal response, receive a objective, caring and spiritually led response is something beautiful. Even when I share about something simple about my life I always end up learning something relating to my spiritual journey. All I would change is that I want this more!!!"

"I think my involvement in Bible Course has been the most impactful and beneficial to my spiritual walk. I really value my Bible course leader's guidance and mentorship."

"Talking to my Bible course leader has helped me realize a lot of important things about my past experiences and the way that I think about my personal relationships. I'm super grateful for his support, and the support of CU as a whole."

"I'm a person who needs to process tough things at least in part with other people rather than totally by myself, so getting to ask every crazy question about faith of my Bible course leader and her affirmation of my curiosity, challenges of my biases, and provision of answers where possible was instrumental for helping me hold on to and prioritize my faith and spiritual disciplines even during times of tremendous doubt and anxiety. She's the kind of person you can immediately trust and with whom you can be unabashedly vulnerable without fear of judgement (in fact, with the guarantee of being built-up!). I'm also a huge fan of the...philosophical conversations we often have because they have encouraged me in my faith and helped me grapple with many tough topics within Christianity and religion more broadly and because they've opened my eyes to how intellectually stimulating theology can be! My Bible course leader is actually a large part of why I'm more certain that I want to possibly pursue religion in academia in the longer term."

lightstock 256615 medium erin conner

These testimonies stand in stark contrast to the current statistics related to depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and lack of freedom of speech for college students across the nation. For over twenty years, Christian Union has been offering Bible courses to college students to give them a space to meaningfully explore existential questions regarding truth, life, God, religion, faith, and human purpose in a way that powerfully presents how a Christian worldview is markedly different from a secular worldview to inspire faithful devotion to the Lord. 

Perhaps the biggest question with the greatest implications facing the next generation of Americans is this one: do humans construct their own truth and reality, thereby acting as their own "god," or is there a God who constructs reality and thereby has the authority to instruct humans how to live according to God-given design and purpose? How people have answered this question has shaped the contours of history. How students answer this will, undoubtedly, shape the future of this country. Christian Union desires to see a spiritually vibrant nation that glorifies God in every sector of society.

Christian Union believes that the Bible is the infallible written word of God, and its intellectual, emotional, and spiritual exploration can lead to life. It is not an antiquated book with old customs and laws that are irrelevant to our modern world, but rather a timeless text that reveals God's metaphysical laws that govern human existence and contains God's redemptive plan to restore humanity to its intended state of being: in eternal and intimate relationship with the One true God by reconcilation through Christ Jesus. 

What is qualitatively helping college students at America's universities? These testimonies show that studying Scripture is, "for the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). The Word of God is transforming lives. To Him be all the glory!

Please consider sponsoring a Christian Union Bible Course, so that university students have a place, as well as the leadership and encouragement they need, to be ministered to by the Word of God and, as a result, thrive in their God-given identity, purpose, and sphere of influence.