Interviews are featured both Behind the Text and In Front of the Text. You’ll meet over 40 church and ministry leaders, scholars, musicians and artists.
Pastor Amjad (full name concealed)
Pastor Amjad is a Jordanian pastor who serves refugees fleeing persecution from Syria, Iraq and Iran. You’ll be inspired by the faith of many he represents, especially as they sound so much like those in the Gospel stories. Our interview focuses on miracles in the Middle East today.
Would you like to meet a modern Samaritan woman? You can! Our host, Dr. Nicole Martin, interviews a woman who describes her life as a woman who lives where the famous woman of John’s Gospel lived. You’ll hear how the whole community celebrates this famous encounter.
Dr. Mariam Ayad
Dr. Ayad is Associate Professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. Mariam is a thoughtful and engaging scholar who helps us understand idolatry and then makes some insightful comparisons between Egyptian and Israelite poetry – both religious and romantic.
Dr. Gabriel (Gaby) Barkay
Dr. Barkay is one of Israel’s most distinguished archaeologists, with a career spanning over 50 years of digging. He taught at both Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University. Gaby is most known for discovering the Silver Scrolls with the Priestly Benediction of Numbers 6 in Jerusalem. This fragment, with the name YHWH written on it, is the oldest fragment with biblical verses. He has also sifted through the debris of earlier excavations in Jerusalem with finds that include the “Bethlehem Seal.” We will visit three different layers of Jerusalem with Gaby – the Canaanite city of Abraham, the Jebusite city David captured, and the 2nd Temple city of Jesus’ day.
BibleJourney gives you a chance to learn from Coptic monk, Abuna Bertie, in the ancient Monastery of St. Macarius in Egypt. Our topics are the biblical traditions of solitude (in the desert) and meditation.
Dr. Daniel Block
Join us in conversations with a popular Old Testament scholar who sees the influence of Deuteronomy throughout Scripture. Dr. Block, the Gunther H. Knoedler Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Wheaton College, has written 16 books and numerous articles touching topics that are “In,” “Behind,” and “In Front of the Text.” He will inspire you to appreciate “the Gospel of Deuteronomy.”
Pastor Jonas Bodin
Join Lutheran Pastor Bodin at the sites where John the Baptist, and before him Elijah, lived near the Jordan River. You’ll learn how central the desert and this river are in prophetic history and imagery. (By the way, bring your sunscreen. It’s 110 degrees at Bethany Beyond the Jordan with Jonas!)
Michael Card has been writing songs – and books – for over 34 years. He has recorded more than 37 albums (selling over 4 million) and written over nineteen number one hits. What interests us especially in BibleJourney is that Michael is so thoroughly biblical in his music. In fact, Michael has inspired many younger artists to put the Bible to contemporary music. As you’ll see in our interview, he sees himself as much as a Bible teacher as a musician. In fact, he has written songs for every part of the Bible. You’ll enjoy his humble, winsome way of explaining what motivates him in our interview. We are grateful that Michael has shared his music for us to use in the app.
Dr. Daniel Carroll
Blanchard Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College, Dr. M. Daniel Carroll (Rodas) is a bilingual, bicultural biblical theologian. Danny brings his own experience to bear on book of Ruth, “the ultimate immigrant story.”
Abuna Elias Chacour
Abuna (Father) Chacour has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize because of his advocacy for reconciliation among Jews and Arabs. He is Former Archbishop of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Northern Israel, author of Blood Brothers and We Belong to the Land, and founder of a Christian school in the Galilee that serves Christians, Jews and Muslims. Our interviews include Isaiah, John and 1 Corinthians. You will love the humility and authority of this man who has lived out his values in a seemingly insignificant village not too far from another insignificant village where Jesus himself grew up.
Henry W. Cohen
Brother of the High Priest of the Samaritan community on Mt. Gerizim, Henry explains how this fascinating community understands their identity, heredity, Torah and the importance of their Passover. You can visit UNESCO’s website to see why Mt. Gerizim is a World Heritage Site (https://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5706).
David serves as CEO of the Pocket Testament League (www.ptl.org), a ministry that has shared over 110 million Gospels of John since 1893. David shares several testimonies of lives changed for our study of the book of John.
Dr. Robbi Fischer, Music Curator
Dr. Fischer grew up in the home of a songwriter in Nashville and developed an early love for all kinds of music. We consider Robbi a savant because he possesses an uncanny memory for virtually everything he hears. He has leveraged that ability in the context of youth ministry for decades, ministering to kids by knowing their music. Like the Apostle Paul on Mars Hill, Robbi quotes the poets that have captured their hearts, and through their favorite lyrics, leads them to Jesus. Robbi has provided a play-list for every BibleJourney module to see how Scripture has inspired the imagination of musical artists in diverse genres.
Dr. Atef Ghendi
Dr. Ghendi serves as President and New Testament Professor at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (https://etsc.org/en). You’ll love his gentle spirit and winsome way as he brings “Middle Eastern eyes” to the expression “binding and loosing.”
Dr. Seymour Gitin
Dr. Gitin (Sy) is the Dorot Director and Professor of Archaeology Emeritus at the Albright Institute for Archaeological Research in Jerusalem (http://www.aiar.org). He is one of the two leading archaeologists of Philistine material culture in the world. As Director of the Albright Institute, Sy supported the work of many scholars in residence (including our BibleJourney Guide, Dr. Laniak). Dr. Gitin will give us an overview of Israel’s neighbors, the Philistines throughout Old Testament history – a history that lasts longer than you might expect.
As the Ministry Investment Officer for the Green family businesses, Mart serves as Board Chair of Hobby Lobby, a chain of more than 850 arts and crafts stores across the U.S. In 1981, Mart founded Mardel Christian and Educational Supply, a chain of Christian education stores. He also served as the producer for the films End of the Spear and Beyond the Gates of Splendor. In 2010, Mart began a journey to help build the world’s largest library of Bible translations through an alliance called Every Tribe Every Nation.
Sara (www.saragroves.com) is an award winning contemporary Christian musician, having been nominated for three Dove Awards. She is the focus of a film series titled “Nomad Film: The Show with No Home.” Sara is a relentless advocate for justice and is closely affiliated with International Justice Mission. We love to interview Sara because of her endearing transparency and because so many of her songs are tapestries that weave Scripture and real life together. We point you to songs in several parts of the Bible where interpretation, imagination and art come together.
Professor Haidar Halasa
Professor Halasa hosts us at the Jordanian Evangelical Theological Seminary in Amman, Jordan (www.jets.edu). He makes the point that he is a modern day “Moabite” and proceeds to explain his perspective on Israel’s relationship with ancient Moab.
Dr. Robert Homsher
Dr. Homsher is an archaeologist who specializes in the OT periods of the Bronze and Iron Ages. He gave us a set of interviews at the Albright Institute for Archaeological Research in Jerusalem to understand the background of the patriarchs.
Gil is the CEO of Compedia (https://compedia.net), the technology company that built the BibleJourney App in Ramat Gan, Israel. Gil is an author of several Hebrew books about Jewish tradition and experience. Because of his love for the Bible and its interpretation, he is regularly referred to at Compedia as the “Chief Rabbinical Officer.”
Appointed by the Jerusalem Patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Church, Father Innocent oversees St. George’s Orthodox Church in Madaba, Jordan with the oldest map of the Holy Land in the world. Join us as we literally walk around this remarkable, historic “Madaba Map” with our host. You’ll learn how the early Church understood the Holy Land – and the relationship of the Old and New Testaments.
Imagine the job of preserving the site of Jacob’s Well! That is the assignment of Greek Orthodox Priest, Father Ioustenos, a delightful, energetic man of enormous talent. He has painted countless pictures around the church and built beautiful mosaics while hosting guests who visit the well. You will see the part of the well that dates back to Jacob and the part that is preserved from the time when Jesus met the Samaritan woman.
Dr. Daniel Juster
Dr. Juster has been a prolific writer and articulate spokesperson for the messianic movement for over 40 years. He founded the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations in 1979 and has written close to 20 books on the relevance of the Torah and Old Testament for Jewish and Gentile believers. Along with The Irrevocable Calling, That They May Be One, Passion for Israel and Mutual Blessing, his most popular book is Jewish Roots: A Foundation of Biblical Theology. We will visit with Dan at the close of Deuteronomy and then again when we study Acts and Paul’s Epistles.
Father Archimandrite Justin
Father Justin is the librarian at St. Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Although he looks very much like a traditional Greek Orthodox monk, he’s actually from Texas(!) We discuss several interesting topics about monastic life and Bible interpretation, especially surrounding Moses and Elijah – two figures who spent precious days in God’s presence on the holy mountain.
Dr. John Kremidas
John is a church planter with the Plymouth Brethren and a Bible teacher with the Greek Bible College. He and his wife Irene hosted the Laniaks on their first short-term missionary experience in the early 1980s, opening up a world of ministry that looked very much Paul’s in 1st century Greece.
Anne Graham Lotz
Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of evangelist Dr. Billy Graham, is a well-known, anointed speaker and award-winning author of numerous books, including Heaven: My Father’s House, Expecting to See Jesus, Why? Trusting God When You Don’t Understand, Fixing My Eyes on Jesus and three books that we discuss in our interviews: Magnificent Obsession (Abraham), Wounded by God’s People (Hagar) and The Daniel Prayer (Daniel). Anne has spent years studying God’s Word with an open heart and shares her insights with passion and authority. She founded AnGel Ministries to focus on spreading God’s Word around the world (www.annegrahamlotz.org).
Ronit is a biblical agriculture enthusiast who loves to explain the plants and seasonal realities of Israel to students. She’s an experiential teacher who gets people into the soil where they can learn by doing. In fact, we’ll do some plowing and grain roasting with her! Ronit studied with Professor Yehuda Felix, Biblical Botany and Talmud scholar at Bar Ilan University in Israel. She has led many interactive learning groups at Neot Kedumim, a biblical garden in Israel. You’ll hear from Ronit in BibleJourney on many topics, especially natural imagery in the poets and prophets of the Old Testament and the parables of the New Testament.
Nader and Pastor Sameh Maurice
Pastor of the largest Arabic speaking church in the world, Kasr El Dobara Evangelical Church in Cairo (www.kdec.net), Pastor Sameh is a former medical doctor who now serves the Arab world with prayer and passion. Under Pastor Sameh’s leadership Kasr El Dobara maintained an amazing witness – and grew tremendously – throughout the different phases of Egypt’s revolution. His ministry extends beyond Egypt to others in persecuted settings. In our interviews Pastor Sameh and his son Nader reflect on the implications of passages from Exodus, John, Acts and Paul’s Epistles.
Dr. Catherine McDowell
Associate Professor of Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell Seminary, Dr. McDowell has researched the topic of ancient idolatry extensively. You’ll be fascinated to see how relevant this topic is for thinking about idolatry today, and for understanding human identity as the image-bearers of God.
Dr. Carol Meyers
The Mary Grace Wilson Professor Emerita of Religious Studies at Duke University, Dr. Carol Meyers has had a distinguished career as a Hebrew Bible scholar. She has published biblical commentaries and archaeological monographs and written extensively on women and domestic life in ancient Israel. She served as the President of the Society of Biblical Literature in 2013. In BibleJourney Carol summarizes her insight on women in the Old Testament world and sheds light on the particular story of Abigail and the description of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31.
Dr. Eric Meyers
The Bernice and Morton Lerner Emeritus Professor in Judaic Studies, Dr. Eric Meyers has distinguished himself as a Bible scholar and archaeologist, especially in his research in Sepphoris. Eric explores religious piety and the challenges of urbanization in 1st century Galilee during our interviews at the historic William F. Albright Institute for Archaeological Research in Jerusalem – a center both he and his wife Carol have served as trustees.
Dr. Wageeh Mikhail
Dr. Mikhail serves as the Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Christianity at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (https://etsc.org/en). With first-hand cultural experience, he brings to life several of the stories in the Gospels.
Neal Morse is a singer, song-writer and multi-instrumentalist and one of today’s most well-known progressive rock musicians (http://www.nealmorse.com). Since his conversion in 2002 Neal has continued to lead prog rock bands and to perform independently, increasingly introducing biblical themes in his music. He will treat you in his interviews with some songs and how the Bible inspired them.
Dr. Salim Munayer
Dr. Munayer is a unique blend of peace activist and practical theologian. From Bethlehem he runs Musalaha (Arabic for Reconciliation), a ministry that brings Jews and Arabs together in peace building exercises (www.musalaha.org). Salim also teaches at Bethlehem Bible College and has written several books about reconciliation.
Dr. Ramy Nayer
Dr. Nayer directs the Interreligious Dialogue initiatives of the Coptic and Evangelical Organization for Social Services in Egypt (en.ceoss-eg.org). He works closely with the Coptic and Muslim communities to pursue common humanitarian goals across the country. He discusses the topic of dialogue with us after we meet Paul discussing religion on Mars Hill.
Dr. Phil Needham
Dr. Needham is an author, scholar, lecturer, and retired officer in The Salvation Army with whom he served in fourteen countries. Phil served as Principal of the Evangeline Booth Training College and of the International College for Officers and as Territorial Commander for the Southern Territory USA. He holds master’s degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Candler School of Theology, Emory University. His books include He Who Laughed First, When God Becomes Still and Community in Mission: A Salvationist Ecclesiology (the book our interview discusses).
Bob is the president of Serge (https://serge.org, formerly World Harvest Mission), a ministry known as much for their emphasis on understanding biblical sonship as they are for their compassionate and often dangerous ministry in other countries. Bob is a special guest for interviews in our course on Acts and Paul’s Letters. In one of these he explains how his own story of abuse and foster care made his the most unlikely – and therefore likely – candidate for God’s gracious adoption.
Dr. Iain Pickett
Dr. Pickett has spent over 15 years living and working among Bedouin in the Middle East. His PhD is in Bedouin dialects. He is a well-loved translator by Western guests as well as the Bedouin he knows so well. You will easily see his genuine friendship, cultural insight and sense of humor in our interviews.
Among the many Bedouin we have interviewed, Abu Sabah is our favorite. He is a sheik, honored as an elder in the region of Wadi Rum in Southern Jordan. He is a great host and is very responsive to our questions. You’ll find that he has a great sense of humor too!
Dr. Emanuel Tov
Dr. Tov, Emeritus Professor of Bible Studies at Hebrew University, is widely regarded as the world’s leading Old Testament manuscript and Dead Sea Scroll scholar. He has received numerous awards in recognition of his groundbreaking work in both fields. His books include Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, The Greek and Hebrew Bible,The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research, and numerous contributions to Dead Sea Scroll projects, includingThe Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library. We share with you a visit in his home to discuss one of the “Bible Retold” texts of Genesis (The Genesis Apocryphon), the Dead Sea Scrolls, and to get some background on the discipline of Text Criticism.
An Israeli artist with over sixty years of experience, Lika has a wealth of talent – and insight into the way imagination can serve interpretation. Married to Bible scholar Emanuel Tov, Lika often takes biblical themes and portrays them in various media. You’ll enjoy our interview with her about Noah’s flood as she explains how her depictions changed after a global catastrophe.
Dr. Steve Wunderink
Dr. Wunderink is a specialist in Egyptian background to the Bible who teaches at the Evangelical Theological Seminary and the American University, both of which are in Cairo, Egypt. You’ll enjoy his clear insight and contagious enthusiasm at several sites in Upper and Lower Egypt.
Professor Anne Zaki
Professor Zaki teaches at the Cairo Evangelical Theological Seminary (https://etsc.org/en) and is a favorite speaker globally. We’ll discuss 1 Peter with her in the context of the suffering and thriving Church in the Middle East. You’ll also enjoy a sermon she gave on the tower of Babel at the Lausanne Young Leaders Generation gathering (www.lausanne.org/ylgen).
Dr. Andrea Zaki
Dr. Zaki is President of the Protestant Church in Egypt, President of the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches (www.fmeec.com) and General Director of CEOSS, the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (en.ceoss-eg.org). These positions represent significant responsibility and respect among the various Christian groups in Egypt and with the government. CEOSS, for example, serves over 2 million Egyptians. Dr. Zaki has actively lived out his faith through the Arab Spring and the Egyptian revolution. He’ll discuss with us what he’s learned from his biblical predecessor in Egypt, Joseph, and discuss a contextual understanding of John and New Testament ideals of ecclesiology.
Esam is a guide in Egypt who has served us well on several study tours and filming expeditions. He is fascinated by the history of the Jews in Egypt and the points of contact between the Bible and the archaeological record. His master’s thesis was on the use of mud-brick and the introduction of straw. Esam is with us at many Egyptian sites of importance.