FOUNDER and director of Islands Bible Ministries, Inc., Dr Alpheaus G. Zobule, is amongst a group of International Translation Consultants touring Israel, the land of the Bible.
The special course is organised by Hebrew University of Jerusalem in cooperation with Home for Bible Translators and Scholars.
The course focuses on the history, geography and archaeology of the land of the Bible.
The participants go on daily trips to visit Biblical sites and listen to on-site lectures and media presentations.
The course gives Translation Consultants an opportunity to experience the biblical texts in the contexts in which the events originally occurred.
Some of the biblical sites they have visited include the city of Jerusalem and surrounding sites, the Negev, Jordan, Megiddo, Beersheva, Galilee, the lowlands and Philistine cities.
The tour has been an enriching experience for the participants.
“It is context that gives meaning,” said Dr Ebenezer Boafa, a Translation Consultant from Ghana.
“Words may mean different things, depending on their context,” he added.
“Being here has given me an opportunity to understand the Bible in the land of the Bible.
“I recommend that Bible translators and Translation Consultants visit the land of the Bible at least once. It is going to enrich their understanding of the Bible.”
At the end of the second week, every course participant did a presentation on what they have learned.
Everyone was appreciative of the contextual understanding they have gained.
There is always so much to learn the first time round, and so for one participant a second visit to the land of the Bible proves to be a very meaningful experience.
“Back in 1996, I came to Israel with my wife,” Dr Zobule said.
“I attended Hebrew University and Jerusalem University College,” he added.
“As a young student back then I was a little naïve and I did not pay too much attention to what I was seeing.
“Now that I have worked with the biblical text for a number of years, I have had many unanswered questions in my mind and my students have also asked me so many questions for which I have had no clear answers.
“I have come to have some of those questions answered and to learn more about the Bible and the land of the Bible.
“I have learned a great deal, and my understanding of the Bible is richer as result.”
After the tour program is over, Dr Zobule will continue to do some research on Biblical Hebrew before he returns to home.
Meanwhile there are many organized tour programs in Israel and they are open to anyone who is interested in studying the Bible in the land of the Bible.
Bible translators, Bible Translation consultants, Bible teachers and Bible students will find attending such a program a great learning experience.