I’ve always enjoyed discovering the answers to head-scratching questions and sharing the “ah-hah” moments with others. For years I did this as a professor of Biology at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. I received my Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 1993.
My career took a turn when I discovered the importance of the Bible’s Jewish setting and began learning Hebrew and Greek and studying in the land of Israel. Ultimately, I left a life in academia to devote myself full-time to teaching and writing on the topic.
In 2001 I co-founded a ministry called the En-Gedi Resource Center and began writing on the cultural context of the Bible. We taught in churches and hosted seminars and study trips to Israel. There I published my first book, Listening to the Language of the Bible, a devotional guide to Hebrew words and ideas. I also worked with David Bivin to edit his excellent book, New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus.
I’ve been working independently as a writer and speaker since January 2007. That was when I partnered with Ann Spangler, best-selling Christian author (Praying the Names of God, Women of God) to write Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus. (Zondervan, 2009) The book immerses readers in the culture and history of first-century Jews to show how they shed light on the ministry of Jesus.
Since then I’ve followed up with Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus (Zondervan) in 2012. In that book, we examine some of Jesus’ most important words in light of their Jewish context, and ask what the implications are for us as his disciples.
Recently, I released my first ebook, 5 Hebrew Words that Every Christian Should Know (2104). In this bite-sized Bible study, readers explore the breadth of each word by examining them in various passages and by comparing Bible versions.
Right now I’m working on a new book called Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus. It will be a practical guide for more authentic, “artisanal” Bible study, with insights from Jesus’ Jewish culture that will equip Christians to read the Bible from a Hebraic perspective.