From Your Professors
Dr. Stephen Bramer
Dr. Mark Bailey
Dr. Darrell Bock
Dr. George Hillman
Dr. Lanier Burns
Dr. Glenn Kreider
Dr. Scott Horrell
Dr. John Hannah
Dr. Sue Edwards
“Since I have to select just one nugget that made a profound impact on me, then I choose the small card Prof distributed at the end of the very first class I took from him exactly 40 years ago. That handout was Prof’s synthesis of the entire Old Testament…on a 4×5 card!
A simple, handwritten card might seem like a very underwhelming ‘nugget’ from Prof…an extremely low-tech illustration in this age of high-powered graphics and eye-popping visuals. But the point he was making when he distributed that 4×5 card revolutionized my approach to understanding and teaching the Bible. The goal of inductive Bible study wasn’t just observation, interpretation, and application. It was also correlation—developing the ability to synthesize the entire Bible in a way that allowed us to share it with others. Anyone can dig deep postholes, but Prof was encouraging us to invest the additional time and effort necessary to “string the fencing” and connect all those posts.
Prof’s message was simple, and yet it was also profoundly challenging. He wanted us to make it our personal goal in Bible study to master the entire Bible. How well should we know it? If someone came to us and only had thirty minutes, we should know the Bible well enough to be able to explain to that person Isaiah 7:14…or Isaiah 7…or the entire Book of Isaiah…or the entire Old Testament…or the entire Bible. And that’s when Prof handed out his own ‘Old Testament on a 4×5 card,’ a simple chronological summary of the entire Old Testament he had compiled from his study.
Prof never asked his students to do something he wasn’t willing to do himself. He was challenging us—challenging me!—to a lifetime of Bible study. But it wasn’t merely a life of digging deep exegetical postholes…with large gaps between. That 4×5 card was a challenge to study the whole Old Testament…and the whole Bible. And yet, the card went beyond even that. It was a challenge to study the entire Bible sooner rather than later. Prof was in the prime of his life…teaching, speaking, and raising a family. But he still found the time, and personal discipline, to work through the Old Testament in a systematic way to master the message of the whole as well as each individual part. In giving us that card he was saying, “Don’t give me any excuses! I did it…and so can you!”
I realize no one is ever “finished” studying the Bible. A lifetime of study isn’t enough even to begin plumbing the Bible’s infinite depths. But Prof’s lesson to me that day was that not being able to understand all the Bible isn’t an excuse for not trying to understand all the Bible. And I made his challenge a personal goal. Four years after that class I had the opportunity to teach all the Pauline epistles in a Lay Institute class. Ten years later I had completed my analysis of the Old and New Testaments for my doctoral program. And since then I’ve taught through nearly every book of the Bible on a lay, undergraduate, or graduate level.
I’m still not sure if I can accurately summarize the entire Bible on a 4×5 card, but I’m working on it…thanks to Howard G. Hendricks! And I still have my copy of that card he gave us!”
– PhD 2006
“Dr. Hannah came, dressed as Santa Claus, to our apartment while a seminary student and visited our 3 year old daughter. She burst into tears when he came through the door (we all just smiled as she finally warmed up to him). That event showed me all I needed to know about how much he cares about students and their families.”
– ThM 1984
“At a time of deep strain on my marriage…my first term at DTS, Dr. Eliot Johnson invited me into his home on Easter Sunday. He and his family shared their lives with me, encouraging me greatly!”
– MACE 1999
“I have two professors in particular that made an impact on my time on the DTS campus. The first is Dr. Joye Baker. She graciously opened her home to me each weekend (and there were several over my three years at DTS) that I had to travel from Kansas to Dallas to attend classes. Sometimes it was just me she hosted, other times my husband traveled with me and once she even offered her hospitality to the whole family (we have two kids).”
– MACE 2018
“It was the middle of Spring 2007 semester. I started having trouble catching my breath after even short walks. I ended up in Baylor hospital for several days as they tried to figure out how to get my blood oxygen level back up to normal levels. I ended up being in Baylor for about 5 days.
When I got home, one of the tasks to get back in the normal routine was to check the answering machine for messages. (That was back when home phones and answering machines were a thing.) There was a message from Dr. Tom Constable saying that he and his lovely bride Mary were concerned about me and were praying for me.
I had not been in a class with Dr. Constable in at least a couple of semesters. I still don’t have any idea how he found out about my condition. It’s not like I was one of his favorite students or anything—I was just some random student that had been in a couple of his classes in the past. It was one of the most amazing acts of kindness I have experienced for he and Mary to not only take time to pray for me, but to let me know they were concerned.
I tell that story frequently. It is the example that I hope to live up to… for me (and I think many of the people he has touched through the years) there is no finer example of a man who teaches Truth and loves well.”
“My last full semester of seminary was going to be the Spring of 2010. It was November 2009 and I saw Dr. Coover-Cox, and she asked how I was doing. I mentioned that I was feeling a burden of stress because we were getting ready to have our second son in January, my course load was going to be at its heaviest, and I was going to need to pick up extra work as my wife would be out of work for a while.
She listened to me for a while and kindly encouraged me with the words that “anxiety is often times the projection of a future without God.” As I look back on the Spring of 2010, I can see countless provisions of God that validated her words. The imagined doom I was worried about never happened. God was still God, even when I was stretched beyond my limit. In fact, he showed up in such a way that I could see unmistakably that his hand was in what I was doing and he was very much with me.
Now, over 10 years later and as a teacher myself, I have had the opportunity to share these words of wisdom from Dr. Cox to my own students and even the adults that I teach at church. I have been able to apply much of the teaching that I have received from DTS to this day, but what really stands out is the kindness and compassion that some of my professors took to demonstrate that they cared.”
“One of my best memories of my entire seminary career was when I was taking ST103 with Dr. Burns. We frequently got the chance to sit and talk about life either in his office or after class. He became a dear friend and mentor to me.
I was having a particularly hard time during this class with some personal issues and Dr. Burns just looked me in the eye and asked what was wrong. We got to talking, and as I poured my heart out to him he just listened. He wasn’t critical of decisions I had made and just took a vested interest in who I was as a person.
This conversation and friendship has meant the world to me as I know he sacrificed time with his family and was willing to be there for me when I didn’t have many others who were.
I know it was a sacrifice because our class let out at 5:00pm so he was willing to deal with downtown Dallas traffic in order to sit and talk with me, and we all know that downtown traffic is no joke.
When the time came for me to propose last year, Dr. Burns was the first person I called. We met for coffee and he gave me the best advice when he said, ‘When it comes to matters of the heart, don’t mess around with it. When you know, you know.’
He was with me through some of my most trying times in my life and seminary career and I am forever grateful for Dr. Burns and his continued friendship.”
“The impact that Dr. Yarbrough has had in my life will be forever embedded in my mind and heart. When I was 55 and in my first semester at DTS, I was in that BE101 class. I had been teaching “How to Study the Bible” to the youth in our church for decades, so I thought I did not need that class. But God had other plans! Not only did God use Dr. Yarbrough to teach me the content in a way that was unforgettable, but his life and heart showed through in such a way as to reflect Christ like none other…
I praise God that he made Dr. Yarbrough and that I had the privilege to be molded by him!”
“In class one day, Dr. Lanier Burns, talked about how he would spend one hour per individual child each night doing or talking about whatever they wanted to discuss. He often declared, ‘How can we say we love God if we don’t love people, especially those closest to us?’ I took that message to heart and when my kids were young, I began spending one hour per week per child in one-on-one time with them. This has paid rich dividends in our relationship even to this day.”