Report by Pr Samson Hutagalung
Recollecting God’s blessings and giving thanks for all His benefits reflect our humble desire and gratitude to honour and praise God. Scripture admonishes us in Deuteronomy 26:11, “And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house…” We take this opportunity to consider God’s abundant goodness and blessings in leading His servants to do what He has laid on their hearts in bringing God’s truths all over the world through a systematic and in-depth study of the Word made available online. The Lord has graciously used Gethsemane BPC in various ways to carry out Christ’s Commission to His church in Matthew 28:18-20. The task given to the church involves preaching the Gospel to the unsaved, and teaching and equipping those whom the Lord has redeemed to serve Him faithfully and effectively. GBI-Online, as a ministry of our church, is tasked with equipping Christian men and women globally through the expository study of God’s Word.
The inception of GBI-Online came about because of the burden that the Lord has laid on Pastor Koshy to provide free online learning of God’s Word for God’s people globally. By setting up GBI online, and slowly and steadily enhancing it over the past 9 years, the Lord has enabled us to grant hundreds of people worldwide access to serious, systematic study of God’s Word.
When I first came to Gethsemane BPC in 2013, Pastor Koshy shared with me with great enthusiasm about his desire to start an online Bible Institute to offer Biblical courses that would help the students of Gethsemane Bible Institutes in Ethiopia and the Philippines (now also in India). Having heard from Pastor his desire and plan, I felt stirred in my heart to offer my service. With God’s continued help, I laboured to learn the Learning Management System (LMS). At that time, we learned that the Moodle platform was most helpful to set up online distance learning. After much hard work, we introduced the GBI-Online Website (www.gbi-online.com) and its platform for learning God’s Word during the 4th Missionary Conference (2014) held in Singapore. For a start, two courses were offered: First, The Names of God; and second, Jonah: Divine Conquest of a Defiant Heart. They were Pastor’s messages preached during the Bible Witness Retreats.
GBI-Online started night classes on Wednesday, 21st January 2015, at TGCM premises. This night class was started with a twofold purpose. The first aim was to record the videos of courses on theology and expositions of Bible books by Pastor Koshy. The second was to allow Gethsemaneans and friends keen to learn those Biblical subjects to attend Pastor’s lectures that were being recorded. The first lecture, Systematic Theology 1: Theism, had 34 students who cheered one another in studying God’s precious truths. The video lectures were recorded and edited, and subsequently made available on the GBI-Online website.
For a period of time, the TGCM premises had been a venue for night classes (2015-2017). By the end of 2017, Pastor had completed teaching six courses on Systematic Theologies: Theism, Bibliology, Anthropology, Soteriology, Ecclesiology and Eschatology. All these classes were attended by members of Gethsemane BPC, and there was not a time we were lacking students. The classroom was full to the brim. Some students who could not attend the night classes could follow the lessons online through the GBI-Online website.
In order to accommodate a bigger number of students, starting in 2018, the GBI-Online class was moved to SingPost Auditorium every Sunday at 9.00am. Pastor Koshy taught the Book of Revelation, attended by nearly 100 brethren. Subsequently, he taught the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah in the same venue till the end of 2019.
January 2020 was the beginning of a new phase for GBI-Online. This was due to God’s gracious provision of the Gethsemane Media Centre (GMC) to our church. Truly, it was a great blessing from God as it was so well-timed to meet our desperate need for a place for administrative matters of the ministry. Because of the availability of the new place, the GBI-Online class held on Sunday morning was shifted to 6.00pm on every Lord’s Day, under the new name: “Evening Teaching Service”.
In addition, the Wednesday Night Class, which had been stopped for a while, was resumed. Praise be to the Lord for all His lovingkindness. With the addition of Wednesday Night Class, GBI-Online courses have entered yet another progressive phase. Now, we have been enabled to provide more recorded courses for those who desire to learn God’s Word.
26th July 2023 is another milestone date in GBI-Online. The Lord has so graciously strengthened Pastor and Pr Cornelius Koshy to teach courses on Biblical Language Familiarisation (BLF: Hebrew & Greek). We see how the Lord has moved the hearts of our church members and their friends to join these night classes. 53 students attend BLF: Hebrews, and 62 enrol for BLF: Greek. For the Wednesday night classes on 1 Corinthians taught by Pastor, 112 students have registered. Praise be to the Lord!
In addition to the above classes, Pastor Koshy leads a group of preachers from different Asian countries for in-depth study of various theological topics. This programme is called “Pastoral Biblical Studies” (PBS). The participants of this course are preachers and missionaries serving the Lord in various mission fields of Gethsemane BPC. This semester, Biblical Covenant Theology (Part 3), is the topic of study. On Monday, after PBS classes, Pastor also teaches – online – the students from GBI-India (Vizag) and Soli Deo Gloria Academy (Cherrapunji, NE India). The Lord has opened all these doors for the GBI-Online ministry to equip many (locally and overseas) with His blessed truths.
Shall we not praise God for all His bountiful blessings to our church for using GBI-Online to equip God’s servants? Truly, the Lord is good. Next year will be the tenth year of the GBI-Online ministry. Our hearts are thrilled to see how the Lord has used GBI-Online to educate and edify God’s people everywhere.
GBI-Online now offers several courses that you can take at your own pace: (1) Systematic Theology 1: Theism; (2) Systematic Theology 2: Bibliology; (3) Systematic Theology 3: Anthropology; (4) Systematic Theology 4: Soteriology; (5) Systematic Theology 5: Ecclesiology; (6) Systematic Theology 6: Eschatology; (7) The Book of Jonah: Divine Conquest of a Defiant Heart; (8) The Names of God; (9) Theology of Prayer; (10) Divine Adoption; (11) The Book of Revelation; (12) The Book of Ezra; (13) The Book of Nehemiah; (14) The Books of Haggai and Zechariah; (15) The Book of Ezekiel (Part 1); (16) The Book of Ezekiel (Part 2); (17) Pneumatology: Doctrine of Holy Spirit (Part 1); (18) Doctrine of Holy Spirit (Part 2); (19) The Kings of Judah and Israel; and (20) 1 Corinthians.
May the Lord continue to bless GBI-Online. As of today, 250 students have registered on the GBI-Online Website, learning God’s Word from different countries. As the Lord commands us to grow in the knowledge of His Word, let us take advantage of the opportunity provided through GBI-Online, to nourish ourselves in God’s Word. Please pray for all who labour (our GBWL staff, Pastor Koshy, Pr Cornelius, and myself), and support this ministry generously. To God be the glory!