Art of Interpretation
Spring 2015 Online
I am excited about our journey together as we learn how to be better readers of God’s word. It is my hope that as individuals and as a community we will grow in our ability to understand and apply God’s word to our lives. As I’ve familiarized myself with the course material, I can say that I’m a little bit jealous of you: this is a course I wish I could have taken when I was in college!
My desire is that we would get to know each other through our interaction over the next seven weeks. So I want to take a moment to share a bit of my story and the way it relates to this course. I grew up in a Christian home. In fact, my dad was a pastor, so I can say that I also grew up in the church. At a young age I trusted Jesus as my savior and did desire to follow Him. This desire for Jesus, however, was overshadowed in junior high and high school by competing desires, including (but not limited to) popularity, pleasure, and pride. Sadly, my desire to follow Jesus became merely a means to an end of achieving these things.
With my façade of spirituality, I headed to college; by God’s grace, a Christian college. While at college, God revealed to me the true desires of my heart and exposed me to the truth of who I was, as well as to the truth of who He is. During this time of awakening to my own identity and to the identity of the creator God, I began to desire (for the first time in my life) to read the Bible. This desire for God’s word began to consume me: it began to shape how I viewed myself, how I viewed God, and how I viewed His world. Though far from perfect, this desire for God’s word has continued to this day and has impacted my journey ever since college as I’ve sought to understand God’s word better and be equipped to teach others how to read, understand, and delight in His word.
All this to say: I am passionate about a course that seeks to help students be better readers of the Bible, and I consider it a great privilege to walk with you and guide you through this material. I know our stories are different and I am not promising that this course will “change your life.” However, I am praying, and do hope, that this course becomes part of your Jessup story—that God uses this course as part of his plan for increasing your love for Him, His word, His people, and His world while you are here at Jessup.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, concerns, or prayer requests. I look forward to walking with you through this journey of learning to read God’s word together.
Grace and Peace,
Matt Godshall, Ph.D.