From Bill Sutter’s Desk Sep/Oct 2002
We are excited about the changes taking place on the Philadelphia Biblical University (PBU) campus for the incoming class at our Institute of Jewish Studies (IJS). These students will be the first to occupy IJS’s newly constructed, specially designed facilities as part of the university’s recently completed 21st-century classroom building.
Here our students will learn God’s Word using the latest technology available, including interactive communications. Plans also are under way to incorporate “smart” classroom technology, so professors will be able to teach simultaneously over the Internet using multimedia materials.
Over the years I have been tremendously encouraged by the quality of students we are privileged to train at IJS. I wish you could share personally in the blessings I experience as I speak to them, pray with them, and fellowship with them. They demonstrate an outstanding sense of commitment to the Lord and His service, which portends well for the future of The Friends of Israel and the cause of Jesus Christ worldwide.
Although the majority of our students are of average college age and are anticipating going into full-time ministry, we also have been privileged to train many older adults. Some of them come because the Lord has led them to change careers and prepare for full-time ministry. Others attend IJS to become more effective laypersons in their local churches and communities.
We have also had the opportunity to train many retired people who are keenly interested in being used more fully in the service of our Savior.
It is thrilling to see how the Lord takes all these diversities of backgrounds and forges them into a tightly knit class of students for His honor and glory. Here is a comment from a former student:
IJS is an awesome place to learn more about God under professors and staff who live godly lives, practice what they teach, and truly become friends. I don’t think there are too many other places you can go where there is such a closeness in the class. —Sarah
The results of our Institute of Jewish Studies program are obvious throughout the worldwide ministry of The Friends of Israel. Graduates have taken their places in many of our vital ministries in the United States and abroad, including Israel, Poland, France, and Australia. They also are filling positions here, at our international headquarters. And the blessings of IJS extend even further, as other alumni serve the Savior in local churches and with other organizations worldwide. Some are missionaries, some are pastors, and others are engaged in a wide range of ministries. They all carry their specialized IJS training in God’s Word that changes lives and builds up the body of Christ.
IJS has helped me see the Bible as one whole story rather than two separate ones. It helps a lot to understand that Jesus Himself lived, worked, ate, talked, and in general acted like a Jew. IJS has helped to clarify just what and who the Jewish people are. Understanding all of that sheds a whole new light on both the Old and New Testaments. — Carrie
Located on the beautiful campus of Philadelphia Biblical University in nearby Langhorne, Pennsylvania, IJS functions as a unique, highly successful partnership between The Friends of Israel and the university under the capable directorship of Dr. Herb Hirt. Since 1913 PBU has had a stellar record educating Christians for the ministry. As a biblical university, it shares the same commitment to God’s Word as The Friends of Israel. Both institutions provide resources and support that make the IJS program the finest of its kind available anywhere.
A foundation in the Bible, growing in Christ, and building everlasting friendships is how I would describe IJS. —Chris
As members of the incoming class take their seats this fall, I am reminded of the apostle Paul’s challenge to Timothy:
And the things that thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also (2 Tim. 2:2).
Just as we have been taught God’s Word, we are entrusted with the privilege of teaching it to others. It’s the Lord’s way of passing His truth from person to person and from generation to generation. And it’s happening at IJS all the time!