Becoming an Informed Bible Teacher

By: William D. Shiell

Pastors and Bible teachers long for more profound knowledge and significant insights to share with their groups. There is only so much self-guided learning a person can do. Northern provides more than just content for teachers. We immerse students in historical contexts, learning communities, and worshipful gatherings.

Just consider the experience of our New Testament and Preaching students at the end of March. As part of their programs, we traveled to Israel and toured Jesus’ teachings in context. Fifteen students and spouses, friends, and a trustee joined us. The trip was indeed a “both-and” experience, where the ancient world, biblical teaching, spiritual formation, and contemporary application came together. We visited the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, and Jerusalem, traveling to the places Jesus visited and historic ancient Jewish sites like Masada and a Greco-Roman city in the Decapolis called Scythopolis. We walked where Jesus walked, and we discussed how the ancient world intersects with today’s challenges. We visited Bethlehem to see where Jesus was born, and we listened deeply to Palestinian Christians share their experiences. We taught students as we traveled, and the students taught the group at ten of the sites. We experienced Israel, and we worshiped, prayed, and reflected.

Of course, we also played, ate plenty of good food, sang fun songs, made new friends, and shopped. We studied the Bible and lived it. Scot McKnight taught Jesus’ parables on the bus. We visited a baptismal site on the Jordan River where nine people renewed their faith commitment to Jesus through baptism, and I baptized my son Drake on profession of faith.

Scot and I were talking about what the students experience at Northern. He summarized their journey well: “Students don’t get something from Northern they can use as much as they become someone they weren’t.” All of us on the 2022 trip took another step on the journey of becoming the person God created us to be. Our teaching is more knowledgeable, and our lives are forever transformed by being together in Israel.

Contact Greg Armstrong today if you want more information on either the New Testament or Preaching programs. Immerse yourself in Jesus’ context, and become a more informed, inspired, and fulfilled Bible teacher.

April 12, 2022

William D. Shiell

President, Professor of Pastoral Theology and Preaching

ABOUT William

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