A number of church leaders and friends of the ministry attended the opening service held in Honiara, and the keynote speaker at the opening service was Rev Dr Cliff Bird.
“Paul is a very educated person, having studied in one of the best institutions and under some of the great teachers of his day,” Rev Dr Cliff Bird, a former lecturer at Pacific Theological College (Fiji), said.
“His thorough knowledge of philosophy and the Bible is evident in his writings,” he added.
“Paul highlights his credentials in Philippians 3. But all that were gain to him, he considers them rubbish because of the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ his Lord and in order that he might gain Christ.
“I encourage you to study so that you know Christ Jesus the Lord.”
Founded by Dr Alpheaus G. Zobule, Islands Bible Ministries has been running Bible classes in the country since 2000.
Islands Bible Ministries now organises Islands Bible School so that it provides training in the areas of Bible, Biblical languages, linguistics and translation.
The school currently offers a Certificate in Biblical Studies which contains the following courses: Introduction to the Bible, English Grammar for Bible Students, Introduction to Biblical Exegesis One, English Syntax for Bible Students, Introduction to Biblical Stories, Introduction to Biblical Poetry, Introduction to Biblical Exegesis Two, and Exegesis Seminar Presentations.
A total of 29 students mostly from the provinces and one from Papua New Guinea are the first batch of students in the intensive program.
A visit with a few students after the first week of study reveals some excitement as students are already seeing the relevance of their studies to their work and ministries.
“My work as pastor and preacher involves sharing God’s word,” says Geoffrey Pinau, a pastor from Pienuna on Ranonga Island.
“That means I must first know how to analyse the words of the Bible and I must first understand this book called the Bible.
“This is the reason I am attending this school. I am learning to analyze words and I am learning the content of the Bible.”
One student comes all the way from Papua New Guinea and he is appreciative of the opportunity he has to attend the school.
“I have not learned English Grammar as a subject in Papua New Guinea. Studying English Grammar is giving me the knowledge I need to analyze a biblical text before I translate it,” says Joel Peter, Translation Coordinator of Bible Society of Papua New Guinea.
“Also, I am happy to attend a school that is founded by qualified nationals who see the training needs of nationals and are practically addressing those needs by designing relevant courses in the areas of Bible, Biblical languages, linguistics, and translation.
“As a Bible translator, I hope to be better equipped in my understanding of the Bible and the Biblical languages.”
The courses have been designed specifically to equip students of the Bible, but those who are engaged in other professions are also attending the School.
Several teachers are attending and have also realized the benefit the courses are going to bring to their teaching profession.
“The English language is very important to us and in our education system, no doubt about that,” says Reuben Pae, headmaster of Labulabu Primary School.
“It is an official language in our country, the language of instruction in our schools, our textbooks are in English, we teachers are expected to teach in English, and our students are expected to understand, write, and speak good English.
“As a teacher, I have an obligation to improve my English, to understand English Grammar, to be able to analyze English sentences, and to be able to teach my students the English language so that my students can understand English, speak and write good English.
“I am excited about this because I can already see how the courses on English Grammar and English Syntax are going to be very helpful to me as a teacher.”