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Study the Bible in Its Land

Trinity CommunicationsOctober 29, 2012

TEDS Old Testament Professors James Hoffmeier and John Monson will be leading a trip consisting of twelve days of study and travel to the Holy Land from February 27 through March 11.

The trip will take students throughout the areas of Shephelah, Negev, the Dead Sea, Galilee, Samaria, Jerusalem and more. After preparation with map work and meetings, students will be involved in a rigorous ten-hour a day trip throughout the lands of the Bible. There will be time for discussion during the day and in evening sessions. Students will also have the chance to explore and meet people in the surrounding  communities. As part of the tour, students will meet with several messianic Jews and Arab Christians.

“Think of it as a modular class in which the bus and—quite literally—the landing cultures of the holy land are the classroom,” Monson said.

There is also an optional three-day excursion to Jordan at the end of the trip, lead by Hoffmeier. Those participating will visit Jerash, a great city of the Decapolis, and then the region of Medaba and Mt. Nebo. Students will also visit the famous red Nabatean city of Petra, shown in the last scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The Jordan tour costs $525.

The Israel tour emphasizes key biblical sites, often including places the average pilgrim tour might not bother to visit. There is also a strong emphasis on learning Scripture in context, as the name of the program “The Bible in Its Land” indicates.

“We are very focused on the land and not only the sites. And we are focused upon study, not just pilgrimage and experience,” Monson said.

Trinity has been sending students to Israel since the 1950s. Old Testament Professor Barry Beitzel has run a TEDS Israel Study Tour every other year for the past 30 or 40 years, and Monson recently began running the program. He considers Israel “the greatest classroom in the world.” He grew up in Jerusalem and has led several trips there as well.

“Isaiah 40, “Prepare in the desert a highway for our God,” is never the same after walking the Judean wilderness. The challenges the Jews faced culturally and physically come to life in a way that simply is not possible through textual study alone,” Monson said.

According to Monson, the tour offers a rigorous multidisciplinary immersion learning experience that is fundamentally different from any classroom experience equally as potent or even more so.

Students will be provided with an intense communal learning environment, spending each day with fellow students and professors in a variety of circumstances – some challenging, some fun, and all educational. The trip also offers a tremendous opportunity to reflect and grow spiritually in a context that is both challenging and fundamentally different from anything students have experienced before.

“The events of the Bible took place in time and space and many of its truths are packaged within the ‘real world’ of the Bible—land, culture, language, etc. Through this immersion educational experience in the land of the Bible, students come to learn the settings and life circumstances of the biblical authors and the persons and events which they describe. One might think of it as traveling to someone’s hometown so as to get to know more about them,” Monson said.

Through the trip, students are able to earn and use 1-3 ID 7750 credits towards Systematic Theology, Old Testament, or New Testament, either as an elective or in any manner that those departments will approve. In the past, some students have incorporated with the trip an independent study that is tailored toward their discipline or program. The trip requires a significant amount of map work and reading prior to departure, as well as a reflection project upon return.

All TEDS students are eligible to go on the tour, but priority is given to MA Archaeology and PhD students. A maximum of 15 to 20 students can attend.

For more information, registration, and to download a brochure, please visit

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