31 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088454   Tel: 62276815   Fax: 62276816   Email:

25 June— 1 July 2007

Issue No. 23

Biblical school of theology

BGST This Week

A Word From the Dean


We have before us, dear members of the BGST community, a project of great size and significant importance. As we bring it to you for your prayer and support we recall the example of Nehemiah who was not afraid to ask God for the impossible because he had a big job to do on His behalf. So too, we can do no less.


Our Need

What we now have to do for BGST is to set up an Expansion Fund in order to develop our faculty, sponsor needy students from the Third World and equip the school with facilities necessary for its work.


We expect our faculty to expand and staff development continues to be essential.  At the same time  we face an increased call to support mature, serving Asian students  who desire higher theological training. With such growth in faculty and student body there is a concurrent demand for better equipment, teaching resources and ancillary facilities.


To respond to these needs we  have set a goal of raising one million dollars from friends and everyone in the BGST community.

The Plan

A dinner will be held at SAFRA (Mt Faber) on 10 Nov 2007 (Saturday) and we look forward to raising $1,000,000 from all who attend.


Dr James Houston, a founder of Regent College, and a dear friend of BGST, will deliver a keynote address.


A  Senior Minister of  State will also grace the occasion. This will help us  attract some public attention to our cause.


Your Participation

We are grateful to you for your past support of our various ventures, the chief one being, of course, the purchase of our school building. We have been able to raise $83,000 recently through a Golf Tournament and have begun to make some headway in repaying our loan for this $4 million property. On hand is also an initiative to recruit 300 people into our “Gideon’s Army” to pledge an annual sum of $900.000 to complete repayment of our building loan over 6 years.


We ask you now to take a big step of faith with us in setting up the Expansion Fund. Already we have been encouraged by a contribution of $20,000 to underwrite expenses for the dinner and several pledges have also been received. Please join us in prayer for this project that:

· It may move in a direction pleasing to God and enjoy His favour;

· It may bring everyone in the BGST community together in a spirit of concern and inspire them to give of their best to this cause.

· All that is planned may work out smoothly and the goal achieved.


Thank you for standing with us. The work that BGST has been able to accomplish over the years is a testimony of your faithful giving and we rejoice in your generous love and concern.




This journal is published twice a year by United Bible Societies, dedicated to articles about the theory and practice of Bible translation. It appears in two series – ‘Technical Papers’ in January and July, and ‘Practical Papers’ in April and October.


The present review is of the ‘Practical Papers’ in which the first article focuses on a very interesting problem translators faced in regard to translating the fifth commandment, ‘honour your father and mother’ into a remote Afro-Iberian language where gender distinctions are expressed not grammatically but either explicitly or implied from the context. In this particular language ‘mother’ always precedes ‘father’, so also ‘grandmother’ precedes ‘grandfather’. It is a case of reverse gender discrimination. How did they solve the problem?


Similarly, the second article deals with the problem of translating the Hebrew oath formula, ‘as the LORD lives’, into the Nepali language. In fact this is the literal rendering of the Hebrew into English. What does this phrase mean in Hebrew, and what is its function? Does it carry its original import into English? Literal rendering makes no sense in the Nepali. What was their option? Those of us who are brought up with English education hardly think of such problems. We happily think that everyone knows what we are talking about. This journal gives great insights into culture and communication of the Gospel. 


(Dr Augustine Pagolu)

Quite by coincidence (with reference to the above journal review) our spotlight this week falls on Dr Augustine Pagolu who has been lecturing at BGST since 2005.  Many might not have had the opportunity to come close and personal with him yet. So we bring him to you.


Here is an Old Testament scholar with a particular passion for contextualizing the Bible for Asian believers. And this is very interesting for those of us who want to separate the chaff of academia from the wheat of living the Truth where we are. But more of this later.


For background you might be interested to know that Dr Pagolu comes from Andra Pradesh and his wife, Sumathi, from Tamil Nadu. They have 2 children, son, Adarsh, in university in India and daughter, Amitha, in Junior College here. He grew up in rural India;  his father was a teacher in a village school, with a life-long concern with uplifting the local people through education. They were a Christian family and since young Augustine had been religious. However it was only during the first year at university that he received a salvation experience.


One of his first steps of faith was to insist on being a fee-paying student, rather than claim the privileges the government gave to low-caste Indians. Augustine’s conviction at that time was that Christianity has no “caste” and now that he was a Christian he shouldn’t enjoy those privileges. However, his Dean, a staunch Hindu, refused to accede and he had to give up his MSc studies as a consequence. This led Augustine to work in a school for a while during which time he had a growing conviction for full-time Christian work. He undertook his first degree in theology, followed by a ten-year stint with IFES, and later pursued graduate studies in theology, culminating in a PhD from Oxford Centre for Mission Studies.


 He taught at SAIACS, Bangalore (South Asia Institute of Advance Christian Studies) for 8 years, went to the UK for 2 years post-doctoral work and there he met Dr Quek. Although he had the option of working elsewhere he chose to accept a teaching position at BGST because he believed that this was a good meeting place for East and West. Since coming here he’s been happy, busy and …. busy!

When asked what he liked most of all about being at BGST, he mentioned the “real” and “natural” environment that is created by our mature, working students. Unlike a conventional theological school that tends to exude an “artificial” aura of separation from the world, here is a school that caters to those who are not in full-time Christian work, and who, perhaps have to be more “honest” in facing the challenges of life.


Augustine is happy that the quality of education at BGST is relatively high so that those who want to go full-time are equally equipped to extend their studies. He is fully engaged in his own church community and pursues his own interests in Christian outreach . I, for one, certainly hope that students at BGST will not lose this opportunity to explore more courageously the demands of “reading the Bible with Asian eyes” (one of the courses he teaches) and in so live out our faith first hand in this part of the world.


(Pauline Koe)



Weekly Highlights

New Admissions: Grad. DipCS

James Tan Tor Yeow worships at the St. Andrew’s Cathedral and serves as an active Cell Leader and Lay Leader.  He has a BSc (Hons) from NUS and works as an Executor Director in a Training & Development Association.


Courses Commencing Next Week:

· The Bible Fantasies or Facts (OT/NT250, 1.5 credits), starting Jul 3 (Tue), 7.15-10.15pm at 31 Tg Pagar Rd. Lecturer: Prof Alan Millard

· NT Greek: Research Tools & Methods (BG214, 1.5 credits, video class), starting Jul 7 (Sat, Orientation), 2-3.30pm at 4 Bishan St 13, Room 317. Lecturer: Dr Quek Swee Hwa

· NT Greek I (BG111, 1.5 credits, video class), starting Jul 7 (Sat, Orientation), 2-3.30pm at 4 Bishan St 13, Room 317. Lecturer: Dr Quek Swee Hwa

· Greek Exegesis I (BG211, 3 credits, video class), starting Jul 7 (Sat), 4-5.30pm, at 4 Bishan St 13, Room 317


Dr Alan Millard will speak at Chapel this week, 27 June and next week, 4 July




Attention, please!

We are organizing a special event, "BGST Sports Day 2007," where all members of the BGST community (, alumni, staff, faculty, council members, supporters and their respective family members) will gather together for a time of fun and informal fellowship.


It will take place on Saturday 25 August 2007. Please block your diary for this special event and do watch out for further details in coming weeks.

Journal Review: The Bible Translator

Spotlight On ...