My family just returned home to Minneapolis after spending a sabbatical for the first six months of 2018 in Cambridge, England. I would like to say thank you to five groups of people.
- To the Bethlehem College & Seminary Board and President’s Council. Thank you for including sabbaticals in your vision for our school. I love serving God in a school and church that exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ. As a research professor and an elder, my role in that mission is to research, write, teach, and shepherd. Those activities are interrelated, and they fuel each other. A sabbatical enables me to focus on researching and writing, which helps me teach and shepherd better, which helps me research and write better, etc. I enthusiastically support your vision for sabbaticals, and I am deeply grateful for it.
My main objective for this sabbatical was to draft a commentary on 1 Corinthians for Crossway’s new ESV Bible Expository Commentary, and God helped me do that. I also worked on some other projects, including drafting study Bible notes on 1 Corinthians for The Grace and Truth Study Bible, submitting the manuscript for a debate-book on Romans 9–11 that I coedited, finalizing some journal articles, finalizing my first children’s book (That Little Voice in Your Head: Learning about Your Conscience), and starting work on a massive project for Baker Academic: Dictionary of the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (coedited with Greg Beale, Don Carson, and Ben Gladd).
- To the Bethlehem College & Seminary administration and donors. Thank you for enabling my sabbatical. It is financially costly to support a full-time faculty member for a semester-length sabbatical, and I am deeply grateful for it.
- To my Bethlehem College & Seminary faculty colleagues. Thank you for filling in for me while I was away by teaching in the classroom, contributing in academic administrative meetings, shepherding students in formal and informal meetings, and many other ways. You sacrificed for my benefit, and I am deeply grateful for it. I missed you, and I am eager to serve shoulder-to-shoulder with you again.
- To my fellow elders of Bethlehem Baptist Church. Shepherding the flock is an enormous responsibility, and the opportunity to mostly unplug from those responsibilities freed up significant time and energy. I often think of what Coach Steve Kerr told his Golden State Warriors in a huddle during an NBA playoff run: “Trust your teammates.” Brothers, you are my teammates, and I trust you. I’m deeply grateful.
- To our close friends. Thank you for praying for us, communicating with us, helping us with administrative issues while we were away, and making us feel so loved when we returned. We’re home. All’s right now. We are deeply grateful.
Our family made many memories in England. We are grateful for the opportunity to strategically introduce our children to different cultures so that they better understand their own. But our experiences in another country again confirmed that I am right where God wants me—training men and women at Bethlehem College & Seminary to serve Christ’s church in the context of a healthy church with a robust doctrinal statement. It’s my dream job.
That’s partly why I’ve worn a Bethlehem College & Seminary t-shirt every day so far in 2018. And the streak is still going.
Associate Professor of New Testament and Theology
- Pray that our faculty and students would not waste the summer weeks but instead use this time to be productive and refreshed.
- Pray for Bethlehem Baptist Church’s elders to shepherd the flock faithfully, wisely, and fruitfully.