Professor for a Week

A couple weeks ago I was emailing with Dr. Schmutzer from Moody about an essay he had written, and as we were interacting on some theological points, he threw out this generous invitation:

Before I forget, would you like to teach my Genesis, Psalms, 1 Samuel, or Hebrew Reading for a week? I know you’ve never been busier, but I wanted to ask.

Every year Dr. Schmutzer and thousands of other scholars and professors meet for a week with the Evangelical Theological Society. Usually this means that a week of classes has to be cancelled, but not if you can find someone to sub for you! So while Dr. Schmutzer got on a plane to San Diego for a week of fellowship and scholarship, I got to drive back down to my alma mater and return to the classroom.

I felt super honored to have been asked. I got to do some teaching for him last year when I was his Teaching Assistant, and it’s really a little surreal. Last year my brother Caleb was taking a class on the Psalms, and he snapped this picture while we were talking about the Songs of Zion, a collection in the Psalter.

psalms

This year was just as exciting as I got to teach 6 classes. It was a ton of work to prepare for, and I was exhausted at the end of it, but teaching was a blast. Whenever I have the opportunity to teach on the Old Testament, it confirms that this is what I want to do with my life. I love digging deep and highlighting the theology in the text, allowing it to illuminate our understanding of God.

I was really impressed with the caliber of the students and their grasp of the text, which made for some fantastic discussion. Caleb is taking “Biblical Theology of 1 Samuel” this semester, so he was in my class again this year! He even had a presentation on a passage, and he made me a very proud brother as he engaged with Scripture with such depth and conviction.

photo (3)

My favorite class to teach always ends up being Genesis. I was so formed in that class as a Junior at Moody, and the text is just incredibly foundational to theology and God’s Story. The students in this class have spent the first 3 months working through Genesis 12-50, and now that they have acquired the proper reading skills, they are going back to the beginning and reading Genesis 1-11. I had the privilege of teaching Genesis chapter 2: God’s creation of man and woman. In this text God is portrayed as Gardener, Craftsman, and Builder in order to complement the transcendent and all-powerful God of chapter 1. God gets his hands dirty as he plants a garden, forms man, and builds woman. From the beginning, humanity is placed, given a vocation, and expected to share in God’s work. It’s a beautiful passage that shapes so much of our understanding of God’s character and our own purpose for life.

I’m so thankful for opportunities like this to grow as a teacher. And I am especially thankful for Dr. Schmutzer, who continues to invest and believe in me, allowing me to practice being a professor for a week!

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