Joel Brown ('09) | Bible, Missions & Ministry
Master of Divinity student,
Graduate School of Theology
Not many undergraduate students have the chance to publish their research in a scholarly journal or see their names cited in an academic article. Joel Brown is one of the few.
In his third-year Greek class at ACU, taught by Dr. Curt Niccum, Joel and four other students had the opportunity to review another academic's conclusions and refute them in print. In the Greek grammar they used as a textbook, the author claimed that the verb "to worship" had two different forms, each with a different meaning.
An exhaustive search
Joel and fellow students - Ben Covington, Jake Lollar, Joshua White and Eric Gentry - pored through the Greek Old Testament, apocryphal literature, the New Testament and early Christian writings to seek out every instance of this verb, sorting through a large amount of material.
I have been challenged on many levels, and in many disciplines. [ACU] has achieved a healthy balance between focusing on the students' spiritual formation while at the same time providing them with a critical and rigorous education.
"To me, it was pretty impressive," said Dr. Niccum, associate professor of Bible at ACU.
The students discovered that the form of the verb didn't affect its meaning; actually, many biblical authors spoke Aramaic as their native language and had learned Greek as a second language, which made it easy for them to commit small grammatical errors. The difference in verb forms was a linguistic rather than a theological difference, they concluded.
Although this discovery may sound small, it has important repercussions on how to view biblical texts.
"This ends up being a reminder," Dr. Niccum said. "We really have to be careful to not read more out of the text than is actually there."
Niccum also helped author the article, which is published in the current issue of Restoration Quarterly, an academic journal devoted to advancing knowledge and understanding of New Testament Christianity, its backgrounds, its history and its implications for the present age.
This wasn't Joel's only reseach opportunity as an undergraduate at ACU. He was also involved in a class assignment for third-year Greek participating in the International Greek New Testament Project, a multi-national effort to examine all the evidence for the Greek New Testament. The class took an unexamined Greek text and read it with an eye for detail and deeper meaning.
Participation in these projects has given Joel the academic confidence to pursue both a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Theology. In the course of his studies, he has found that the Christian focus of his education has enhanced rather than detracted from its academic validity.
"I have been challenged on many levels, and in many disciplines," he said. "[ACU] has achieved a healthy balance between focusing on the students' spiritual formation while at the same time providing them with a critical and rigorous education."
Taking it to the Streets
- Chris and Stacey Webb Field ('06) Mercy Project
- Ethiopian texts rich source for Biblical research
- Matt Wallace ('00) Dry Bones Ministry
- Wade Huggins ('10) Biblical Text / Music
- Alyse Ritchie ('12) Youth & Family Ministry
- Dr. Jerry Taylor Bible, Missions and Ministry
- Dr. Jeanene Reese Bible, Missions & Ministry
- Gary Green World Wide Witness
- Joel Brown ('09) Bible, Missions & Ministry
- Arielle Shepard ('11) Youth & Family Ministry
- Randy Harris Bible, Missions & Ministry
- Stephen Powell ('10) Jason Boone ('10)
- Tera Harmon ('03, '07) Graduate School of Theology
- Olivia Hodges ('07) Christian Ministry
- Robert Oglesby, ACU Center for Youth and Family Ministry
- Sam Souder ('10) Worship Ministry
- Dr. Stephen Johnson Graduate School of Theology
- Whitney Herrington ('09) Missions / Social Work
- Jessica Schell ('11) Youth & Family Ministry
- Gustavo Villanueva ('00) Ministry/Education