I’d like to introduce you to Emma Dryer, a woman whose life of faith, perseverance, and commitment to Bible study still speaks to us today. Emeline Dryer was born in Massachusetts in 1835. She was brought up in the church with a solid knowledge of the Scriptures. An accomplished student, school teacher, and school superintendent, her life was forever changed in the summer of 1870 when she stayed with friends in Chicago.
With the exploding population came more opportunities for Christian work, and Emma Dryer felt God urging her to extend her hand to those in need of His love and redemption. She was also becoming more serious about Bible study and Christian service. “The Bible became a new book. God’s plans were not experiments,” wrote Emma. “His Word never failed.” She believed the Bible was the solution to society’s problems. Her dream was to get a Bible into the hands of every woman in the city and train them to lead Bible studies of their own.
She met evangelist D. L. Moody, who challenged her not to return to teaching school. “That is good work for its kind; but there are teachers enough,” said Moody. “But there ain’t enough to do THIS work, and this is the best work.” Emma Dryer dedicated her life to Bible outreach efforts in Chicago, even canvasing the entire city to visit homes, distribute Bibles, and encourage the study of God’s Word. The evangelist and the school teacher would begin a Bible training school for young men and women who wanted to enter Christian service. By 1878, the beginning of a formal school was emerging.
In 1889, after years of prayer, fundraising, and tireless organizational work by Emma, the school became a reality. While many have heard about Mr. Moody and the school that bears his name, few may realize that, without the dedication of Emma Dryer, we would not have the Moody Bible Institute we know today.
D. L. Moody called Emma Dryer “the best teacher of the Word of God in the United States.” She believed each of us is better when we spend time studying Scripture. What a wonderful example for us to follow! Today in the Word continues Emma Dryer’s mission of providing Christians with Bible study tools. Join me in thanking God for her life of service!