Visiting the Lands of the Bible: Temples, Tels, Towers, and Tunnels

Six months after I returned home from my mission to France, I stepped off a plane in Tel Aviv to spend 18 weeks at that jewel known as the BYU Jerusalem Center, with side trips to Jordan and Egypt.

Entrance to the BYU Jerusalem Center

I had read my scriptures pretty closely and studied a lot as a missionary, but aspired to know a lot more. The Jerusalem experience was influential in sending me to graduate school in Semitics (see some of my story here). 15 years later, nearly to the day, I stepped off another plane in Tel Aviv, this time to act as a tour guide for my wife and parents. They had always wanted to go, and weren’t going without me.This time was different; I’d studied Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic, as well as Greek, history, a little Latin. I had a very portable laptop with thousands and thousand of pages of books in Logos, plus all my notes from reading, studying, lessons I’d taught. And now I was back, to walk the land and share. We spent three weeks there, and saw and experienced an amazing variety of things.

How does visiting the Bible lands change your understanding? Your reading of scripture? Your faith? Your tolerance for dust in your shoes? Your ability to recognize a cistern?

If there’s sufficient interest, then every week or so I’ll put up a post with, not a travelogue per se, but an exposition-oriented summary of a day’s travel and sites, what we learned, comments from my fellow travelers, what’s worth seeing, and lots of our pictures with captions. Let me know if that’s something you’d like to read here.

10 thoughts on “Visiting the Lands of the Bible: Temples, Tels, Towers, and Tunnels

  1. I’d be interested for sure. I went for 9 days about 3 years ago, and I’m still wrapping my head around how the experience affected and continues to affect my study, worship, and faith.


  2. Please do share! I was there for the fall semester of 1999 and still think about it all the time – Anything that brings those memories back for me is very welcome.


  3. Oh Hel Not Another Tel. At least that was the common refrain from fellow students when I spent 6 months at the Center in the mid 90s. Obviously they weren’t NES majors.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s