Over the course of time, one will find Northwestern alumni in many different places and involved in many different matters. Sometimes, our outstanding alumni make their way back to Northwestern. Anna Rask ’12 is currently an adjunct professor of Biblical Studies at University of Northwestern. She recently completed a Master’s of Divinity at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Here’s what Anna had to say.
What drew you to biblical studies as a career?
Throughout grade school and high school, I always loved my Bible and theology classes; they always seemed to come easy to me. As I thought about college and was considering what to do with my life, I was encouraged to look into Biblical Studies as a major. It was at Northwestern that I began to build a desire for teaching. I was given some opportunities to start practicing which helped me see myself teaching the Bible as a career.
What do you think is the most impactful thing you learned at Northwestern?
That the Bible is relatable. It can be difficult to interpret and understand because we are thousands of years removed and there are so many different cultural and contextual matters. But once I began to dig deeper I saw its relatability to my life today and how God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
How do you think your studies helped with this?
Pursuing the Bible academically can be difficult at times, especially when studying and reading became part of my homework. I really had to focus and ask how a particular passage would affect me personally and not just what it meant academically. I learned to keep my academic time different from my personal time with the Lord.
Amidst your academic pursuit, was there anything that helped you keep a more personal focus?
The Christian environment and community that Northwestern fostered was definitely helpful.
I know that you spent some time in Israel; how was that impactful?
I attended Jerusalem University College the summer after my sophomore year at Northwestern. And it was a truly amazing experience. The ability to walk where Jesus walked and see the land really made Scripture come alive for me. It was exciting to see the Lord’s work and faithfulness in my life through this experience as I believed he was then calling me to seminary and Old Testament studies.
What drew you to teaching?
My strengths have always been drawn to the transfer of information; I like to learn and I want to help others learn. I think I work well in contexts where I where I am able to disciple and help develop the faith of others. I see such a need for God’s good news from the Bible in the world today, and I want to work to see that it is understood and applied properly.
What part of the Bible or the Christian message have you focused on and why is it important to you?
The Old Testament. I love history and have been drawn to it because it is from such a different time and culture, but that also makes it susceptible to misinterpretation and perhaps reduces the desire to learn about it and from it. I want to help others understand what confuses them in the Old Testament and what may seem archaic and foreign, and I want to show them how it still applies to their lives today. I also want to show others how integral the Old Testament is to understanding the New Testament.
What is next for you in your Biblical Studies career?
I am currently pursuing a Master’s of Theology (ThM) in Old Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul. The ThM is an intermediate step between a Masters of Divinity (M.Div.) and a doctoral degree. I have a desire to enter doctoral studies in the future, and I am praying the Lord will lead me to the right place of study. Right now, I am loving teaching at the University of Northwestern. It had been a dream of mine to do so since college, so I praise God that He has given me the opportunity to do so. I love being able to interact with students every day and teach them information that can and will change their lives, and I consider it an honor and joy to teach God’s word and to do what I love.
As a student of Scripture, what is one parting thought that you would give to others?
Always remain faithful to Scripture, even when it may not be the most popular thing to do. Let Scripture inform culture, not the other way around. Preach the gospel in season and out of season, and always be ready to give an answer for your faith.