God’s Gift: The Sarah LaRose Story
Walking through the School of Theology, Sarah LaRose DMin ’19 could smell the volumes of books on the shelves and wondered what was in them. Blind since birth, she shares, “I thought I would never have the opportunity to know.”
LaRose once thought she would never get to study the Bible in its original context. While many different versions of the Bible exist in braille, Greek transcriptions did not. That is, until LaRose took it upon herself.
“In the Greek Bible, there are little symbols that go along with each letter,” she explains. LaRose had to invent each of these for braille, not only for herself but for any visually-impaired student who would use her version of the Bible. For the last 10 years, this transcription has been her mission.
“When I was doing a teaching assistantship, there was one blind student and several other students with learning disabilities, and I worked with them,” she says. “That’s when I realized I really wanted to help open the door to students who face these types of challenges, especially in learning the ancient languages. I want to do everything I could to remove those barriers.” LaRose, who teaches Greek and Hebrew online for the SOT, is also in the process of writing textbooks in braille.
While she has been nationally recognized for her work, she is mostly driven by helping others experience the Bible. She recalls one of her first experiences as a student taking Hebrew with then SOT professor, Barry Ross: “He was trying to explain Jesus lifting up the sacrifice and how He carried our sins on His back. The Jewish practice was to send out a scapegoat with the symbol of sin on its back and I had never heard of that. In that moment, I realized Jesus was carrying our sin on His back like a scapegoat and taking it away. I was sitting in Hebrew class crying. I was worshiping God in class.”
Since then, LaRose has studied the messages within the books she never thought she would get to read and has allowed others to do the same. She has been a trailblazer for the visually impaired community. She recently graduated with her Doctorate of Ministry and plans to continue to teach students online.
Written by Tammy Tilley BA ’85, excerpted from the Fall 2019 issue of Signatures magazine.
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