BIFL (bif-uhl) stands for Basic Issues of Faith and Life. BIFL is a 400 level Bible course that all seniors are required to take sometime during their final year at Bethel. In a sense, I guess you could say that it is the senior exit course. This class meets twice a week for 2 hours each day to discuss books and topics, and then figure out how we can apply them to our lives today. Professors take turns teaching the course each semester.
There are two main things that BIFL is known for…1) the BIFL Oral Exam and 2) The Credo Paper. Yesterday was my oral exam. I was really nervous going into it, primarily because of the fact that I didn’t know what to expect. All of the people who have graduated in past years that I talked to told me that it really wasn’t bad, but hearing that didn’t exactly ease my nerves.
Here’s a brief rundown of how BIFL Orals work: Each year, professors meet together and pick a book of the Bible to cover and one additional book that all seniors will read. (We read many other books as well, but those selections are up to the individual professors who are teaching the course that semester.) The Orals are designed to be like a conversation between two students and two faculty members. They ask us questions about the book of the Bible, which in this case was Hosea, and the book that we read, “Fidelity” by Wendell Berry. A lot of the questions that the faculty members ask are related to themes in the books or how we can apply these books to our lives today. The Oral exam is a pass/fail deal, and you must pass in order to graduate from Bethel College.
Yes, I know. This all sounds really intense. That’s exactly what I thought too. However, now that I look back on my experience yesterday, it wasn’t too bad. Sure, there were questions that were tough and that I didn’t exactly know how to answer, but that’s the goal. The faculty want us to be critical thinkers and learn how to communicate our thoughts effectively. That’s part of the Bethel goal.