Each year, high school seniors (and their parents) face the age- old question: “What next?” Will it be college? The military? An
apprenticeship? Or jumping straight into
the workforce? One option to consider: attending a Bible Institute, like Word of Life.
Founded in New York in 1971, Word of
Life Bible Institute now has 14 campuses
worldwide, in such places as Florida, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hungary, the Philippines, South Korea, Uganda,
Ukraine, Mexico, and Venezuela. We talked
to Guy Williams, an alumnus of Word of
Life about his experience.
TOS: Tell me about Word of Life Bible
Guy: I went to Word of Life Bible Institute
in South Korea in 2010. I was seventeen,
and I had absolutely no clue what I wanted
to do with my life. I had spent two-and-a-
half years taking college courses. I gradu-
ated high school early. And my parents
had always said, “You should do one year
at Word of Life.” That’s something my older
sister had done. It’s something my younger
sisters had planned to do. So I figured, why
not? My biggest takeaway from Word of
Life is that it gave me a sense of direction,
an overall framework or lens for approach-
ing life's practical questions like: What
should I do for a living? Where should I live?
Should I get married? Should I have kids?
What Word of Life gave me was a desire to be a missionary and a more accurate understanding of what a missionary
is. Before going to Word of Life, I always
thought of missionary work in an occupational sense. You can be an architect,
or you can be a missionary. You can be a
teacher, or you can be a missionary. I’d always heard it said each person has a calling
for their locale, but I never really understood what that meant. Since graduating,
in the last six years, I went to school to be
a teacher. I taught abroad for a few years
and then went back to graduate school for
linguistics, started my own company, and
am now working on another one. But God
has really given me a heart for missions,
specifically a heart for Japanese youth.
And my wife has that same passion, so our
end goal is within the next five to six years
to be on the mission field in Japan.
TOS: Tell me about the curriculum.
Guy: You’ll take a New Testament survey,
an Old Testament survey, and a basic intro-
duction to theology. Those are usually taught
by someone on staff at Word of Life. But the
courses on individual books of the Bible, like
Acts or Romans or Ephesians or Exodus, are
taught during one- or two-week seminars
by guest lecturers. These lecturers would be
professors at a seminary or university or
someone with a background in ministry.
TOS: Any advice to homeschoolers?
Guy: If you are a Christian, if you believe in
what the Bible teaches, you’re only going to
help yourself later in life if you spend these
months studying the Bible. I can’t think of
a better program in terms of how it’s set up.
With the 11-month program, the academic
portion is nine months or so, and the remaining two months are devoted to summer ministry. For us, that summer ministry was counseling South Korean youth at
youth camps in Seoul and Busan. There
were a few students in my class who went
on to do the second year in New York. The
second year is a slightly different program.
Instead of focusing on books of the Bible,
the classes are more ministerial. They’ll
teach a class in hermeneutics, another one
in homiletics or preaching, and one in
Christian counseling. They’ll teach basic
classes in presentation, church history, and
things like that. Word of Life seems to have
By Kathleen Conway Guy Williams
How Word of Life
Bible Institute Shaped
One Man’s Future