School of Divinity

Paul Wilson (MTh 2016)

Paul Wilson (MTh 2016) is the coordinator of the Asylum Seeker and Refugee Project at Parkhead Nazarene in Glasgow and a part-time lecturer in Bible and theology at Tilsley College.

Working with refugees and asylum seekers may not seem like the most obvious springboard to postgraduate study in Biblical Studies, but that is where it started for me.  As a Christian, working with churches and faith-based organisations in a multi-faith context inspired me to learn more about my own textual tradition. I have been working with refugees and asylum seekers for over 12 years.  I first worked with an NGO in Greece and then in Glasgow for the last decade.

My studies at New College equipped me to engage deeply with source texts.  One of the highlights of my time in Edinburgh was engaging with top scholars like Professor Bond and Dr Novenson, who not only taught interesting and inspiring classes, but made so much time for their students, giving valuable feedback and answering questions outside of class hours.

Since graduating with my MTh from New College, I started teaching as a visiting lecturer at Tilsley College. Here I combined my experience of working with refugees and Biblical Studies by developing a class that traces how human migration is both present and approached theologically in different ways throughout the Hebrew Bible and New Testament.   After a couple years a visiting lecturer, I am soon to start teaching as a part-time lecturer, taking on more Bible classes.  My time at New College has been invaluable when it comes to teaching, particularly in how I was trained to engage with source material and present clear and coherent arguments in both written and oral presentation.  The rest of my time is currently spent coordinating the refugee and asylum seeker support programme with Nazarene churches in the East End of Glasgow.  We provide English classes, host meals, promote integration through sport, and provide space for mutual learning about the Bible and our faith traditions.

"Be curious. Speak up. Work hard. Enjoy!"

My advice to any current or incoming students to make the most of their time at New College would be this:

  1. Be curious! take an interest in what others are researching, even if it’s outside your normal subject area.  Some great ideas come out of the cross-pollination of the diversity that’s present at the college.
  2. Do approach the staff with questions and speak up if you need support – they’re there to support you and will help make your time at the college a success.
  3. Put the hard work in.  I don’t think anybody loves parsing verbs, but what you put in will pay back dividends when you start doing your own research.  
  4. Enjoy the historic surroundings and fantastic atmosphere,  New College is a special place and it’s a privilege to be there.  Be mindful of your surroundings and take it all in, your time will go by quicker than you think!