The annual Israel Initiative is amazing opportunity for students to study the Bible in 3D. Students spend nearly two weeks traveling the breadth of the Holy Land visiting sites including the Dead Sea, Mt. Carmel, Megido, the Sea of Galilee, Qumran and many more. They spend five days in Jerusalem studying the establishment of the capital under David, the destruction in the time of Jeremiah, the Passion Week of Christ and the Roman destruction in 70 A.D.
Shepherds Theological Seminary (STS) is committed to the idea that all degree seeking students visit the Holy Land and our Israel Initiative is a commitment born of two realities. First, we believe that this trip is of crucial value to students who are preparing to faithfully and accurately handle the Word of God. Visiting Israel gives our students much-needed context and allows them to explore the stage on which so much of the drama of God’s “mighty acts” unfolded. A good teacher seeks to incorporate visual aids for the students, and there is no better visual aid then seeing in person the land where the bulk of biblical history took place. For STS students, Israel becomes their giant blackboard, their real-life power-point, and the pages of Scripture come alive in front of them.
Second, it is worth mention that we live in that remarkable and very narrow window of history during which the land of Israel – a land which was functionally closed from AD 70-1967 – is actually accessible. The Apostle Paul testified to a special love for the people of Israel , and his desire was that all believers would have an affection for Israel as well (Rom 9:1-5; 11:28-36). The modern state of Israel is the most dramatic and important concentration of Jewish people and culture since AD 70, and that nation is much cherished at STS because of our grammatical-historical hermeneutic and exegesis.
No matter how many times one has read the biblical accounts, there is something special about visiting the exact locations in which they happened. Whether drawing a stone from the same brook that David once selected five smooth stones from or walking the steps from the Upper Room to the garden of Gethsemane, students will forever read the Bible in 3D.
This class is extremely beneficial in understanding both the New and Old Testament. We strive to make this trip possible for all full-time students by covering the majority of expenses. It is our goal to make airfare and lunches in Israel the only expenses to the student beyond usual tuition. The class is also open to non-students who pay a very competitive rate for this amazing trip. For more details on this please click HERE.
Dr. Doug Bookman
The Israel Initiative is lead by Dr. Doug Bookman, who has been leading educational tours through Israel for over 20 years. Dr. Bookman has focused much of his teaching career on a renewed emphasis on the life of Christ and the nation of Israel. In 1987, Dr. Bookman joined the Bible Department faculty of The Master's College. While there, he conceived, designed, and implemented the IBEX program, a semester-abroad program in Israel. In 1998, Dr. Bookman joined the Friends of Israel as a national representative. Throughout the years he has taught at various colleges and seminaries, and has served as pastor and interim pastor at local churches. He is now on staff at Shepherds Theological Seminary, and teaches classes in the New Testament and Life of Christ.