Web Exclusive

An Educator Goes Back to School

Recently graduated from Wheaton College Graduate School’s biblical exegesis program, Liliana Ramos Rodriguez M.A. ’22 is dedicated to ministry in her local communities and the growing church in Colombia and Latin America.

Words: Cassidy Keenan ’21

Wheaton College IL Graduate School Liliana Ramos Rodriguez

When I first met Liliana Ramos Rodriguez M.A. ’22, she was friendly, kind, and perfectly happy to speak with me, but was only confused about one thing: Why would someone want to write a feature about her? Yet as a biblical scholar, seminary teacher, wise follower of Christ, and lifelong lover of learning, Ramos Rodriguez’s journey is an inspiration as she consistently seeks to uncover the truth of God’s word and share it with those around her.

Ramos Rodriguez was an international student from Colombia who began her M.A. in biblical exegesis as a Billy Graham Scholar amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the unexpected online learning format, she enjoyed the time she got to spend with her family and eight siblings, as well as the comforts and benefits of home.

“I live on a farm in Colombia, so I was able to be outside, whereas in the department, you have to be inside all the time,” she said. “I was able to eat my own food and enjoy my time with my family.”

However, Ramos Rodriguez also enjoyed the transition to in-person learning in the second year of her program, especially the benefit of being able to use the library in her studies.

Throughout the program, she was consistently challenged to utilize analysis, language skills, and hermeneutics in her studies of the Old Testament. Linguistically, not only did she face the task of translating from the original Hebrew, but she also worked doubly hard to translate her own insights from Spanish (her native language) into English. However, Ramos Rodriguez was also excited about how professors challenged her and her fellow scholars to think about the texts in new and inventive ways in order to understand the relevance of the original Hebrew.

“I enjoyed every assignment they required of us, because it was thinking in such a way that forced you to give everything of yourself to try to see the Bible in a different way, to go deep, to try to understand the Word, to try to know the God that disclosed himself through the Old Testament,” Ramos Rodriguez reflected.

Ramos Rodriguez remembers her professors fondly, not only for their kindness but for their academic excellence, citing their expertise as one of the major reasons she attended the school for her master’s degree. She required an institution with rigorous academics and a simultaneous collection of Christian believers who see and interpret the Bible as the Word of God, and she was delighted to discover this combination at Wheaton. Ramos Rodriguez also encountered first-hand Wheaton professors’ desire to make the learning process enjoyable for students. She appreciated their own genuine excitement over what they taught, as well as their willingness to make new discoveries even after years of studying a certain project or writing a book.

As an educator herself, teaching for several years at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia’s Biblica Institute program, Ramos Rodriguez resonated with her professors’ love for their vocation. She spent many seasons of her life offering her insights and wisdom to her students, and the thing she loved most was the opportunity to share new knowledge that she had read or learned.

“My students always helped me to see the practical or the functionality of what I learned in academia, and how new knowledge could be useful for the church, or people understanding the Old Testament, or people being encouraged to read the Bible,” said Ramos Rodriguez.

Beyond her scholarship, Ramos Rodriguez enjoys reading novels, listening to the stories of people in her communities, and caring for her siblings and students—things that bring her deep and genuine happiness. The way she cherishes these other aspects of her life is reflected in her earnest and genuine love of God’s Word, and it is clear that many people in her sphere have benefitted from her wisdom about its truth.