One of the courses I teach regularly at Talbot School of Theology is Biblical Backgrounds. It’s a class designed for Bible, Theology, and Ministry majors to help them read the Old and New Testaments well in their ancient context. Last year I taught the class on the heels of an illuminating trip to Israel. This year I’m teaching the class immediately following my first trip to Egypt.

The primary purpose of my trip was to help me better understand the geography and history of the land in which much of Genesis and Exodus took place. I’m writing a commentary on Exodus for Baker Academic, and to be honest, I felt like a fraud writing about a land I had never seen. That amazing trip is already paying dividends as I revise each of the chapters of my commentary that I’ve already written. I wrote an article for Christianity Today with some of the most salient insights and released several video tours on my YouTube channel.

However, the payoff for Bible reading in general is so great that I can’t help but share what I learned in my classes, too. Having my own pictures and stories and insights to share has infused all of my classes with new energy. This semester I’m teaching Old Testament History and Literature for undergrads as well as Theology of Exodus at the graduate level alongside Biblical Backgrounds for Bible, Theology, and Ministry majors. All three classes are reaping the benefits of the opportunity I had to see the lands of the Bible for myself.

I had just enough funds left over from the Research and Development Grant Biola provided to purchase a library-grade book cart. Now, if you time things just right, you can find me pushing a cart load of my own books to the classroom to help students learn about ancient backgrounds for themselves. I don’t know everything about the lands and cultures in which the events of the Bible took place, but I have a growing knowledge of where to look to find answers. What a joy to help students pursue a deeper understanding of the Scriptures!

Read my article in Christianity Today.

Watch my playlist of Egypt videos on YouTube.

Learn more about Biola Professor Carmen Joy Imes.