This year’s Alumni, Faculty and Friends trip to Israel was a monumental experience for each one of the people who joined. Here are a couple of testimonies from their perspectives:
“Since graduating from PBC over 9 years ago, my degree has been foundational to me as a follower of Jesus and in my work as a church planter and pastor in Vermont. When I prayerfully decided and was supported by my church to travel to Israel with PBC staff and alumni, I had no doubt it would be a meaningful time; adding to the foundation laid during my 4 years at PBC as a student. My specific prayer for the trip was that it would be formational to me as an individual disciple of Jesus and that it would somehow be a blessing to my local church community.
The time was incredibly formative for me. My biblical imagination was expanded — even more than seeing much of the landscape and geography of the Biblical narrative — I got to experience and know Jesus in new ways. One place in particular comes to mind as an example, Caiaphas’ house in Jerusalem where Jesus would have been held as a prisoner prior to his trial before Pilate. Ken led us in a prayer and reading Psalm 88 in the pit/cistern cell where Jesus would have been held. As Ken did so, the presence of God was very palpable and we were able to enter into a moment of the crucifixion narrative that many of us had never really imagined or thought of before… Jesus in a dark pit, alone, likely praying for all of us, as he waited his trial, torment, and crucifixion to come. There were many other moments like that on our trip, I bring it up as an example of an expanded biblical imagination and a simultaneous drawing nearer to the person of Jesus.”
-Ian Bailey, class of 2010
“I’ve been told by one of his students that the esteemed professor John Sailhamer refused to visit Israel because he did not want his personal experience to sully his understanding of Scripture as a God-inspired literary whole. I find that charming—in a “that’s good for you” sort of way. But there’s something about seeing firsthand the very settings of the passages I’ve taught for years. Of course, it didn’t add to the “meaning” in the text; but it certainly added depth to my understanding of that meaning.
In class, I teach on the Apostle Paul’s imprisonment in Herod’s palace. But in Caesarea, I taught the same material with the ruins of Herod’s coastal palace right behind me. I could touch the stones, smell the sea, and imagine Paul testifying before the Roman officials. I teach a course on the Tabernacle of Moses. But at Shiloh, I walked on the dirt where the tabernacle stood for hundreds of years, with an archaeological excavation going on around us. Sacrifices were offered there every morning and evening for centuries. The boy Samuel was called there. And afterward I had the opportunity to share with our group my thoughts on the significance of the tabernacle. In class, I teach about Jesus walking on water to meet his disciples in the boat. What a privilege it was to teach that material as we drifted on the Sea of Galilee in a tour boat.
My experience of Israel was priceless. It inspired me, but it also equipped me to present the text of Scripture with more color and clarity.”
-Professor Travis Arnold, class of 2007