Third Annual Dr. Thomas Memorial Lecture

On September 10, 2019, The Master’s Seminary held the third annual Dr. Robert L. Thomas Memorial Lecture on Bible Translation as an expression of gratitude and an encouragement for the next generation.

When Dr. Thomas passed away on Wednesday, September 6, 2017, The Master’s Seminary established the annual lecture series to honor this founding member of the faculty.

At the third annual lecture on September 10th, most of the current students had only heard of Dr. Thomas as the renowned and beloved professor of New Testament. But many held his most influential contribution in their hands.

Beginning in 1960, Dr. Thomas was part of the team that translated the New American Standard Bible (NASB). He served first as one of the New Testament translators, and then was asked to help coordinate the translation of the Old Testament. After a decade of work, the NASB was published in 1971.

He loved The Master’s Seminary

Dr. Thomas is better known, though, as a New Testament scholar. He taught for 50 years, from 1959 to 2009, first at Talbot and then at The Master’s Seminary. Dr. Thomas’ academic accomplishments during those years are noteworthy. He published numerous articles and books, including a two-volume commentary on Revelation.

After welcoming everyone to the Dr. Thomas Memorial Lecture, Dr. Aaron Shryock, director of the Tyndale Center for Bible Translation at The Master’s Seminary, welcomed Dr. William Barrick to deliver the lecture. Dr. Barrick presented a lecture on the challenges of translating metaphors in the Old Testament.

It was fitting that Dr. Barrick presented the lecture. In addition to teaching alongside Dr. Thomas at TMS for eleven years, Dr. Barrick likewise devoted many years to translation work. He was the Old Testament consultant for the Bengali Bible and contributed to work in five other languages as well.

Dr. Barrick was not the only guest with a special relationship to the late Dr. Thomas. Pastor Jason Erselius, Dr. Thomas’ grandson, was present representing the Thomas family.

Reflecting on his grandfather, Pastor Erselius shared, “He loved The Master’s Seminary. He was so thankful to be a part of the faculty here.”

After the lecture, Dr. Barrick, Pastor Erselius, and others from the seminary faculty and staff gathered for a lunch to further honor the memory of Dr. Thomas. Dr. Barrick spoke more and answered questions about missions and translation.

Each fall, the seminary will look forward to the Dr. Robert L. Thomas Memorial Lecture in Bible Translation. “We hope that this series will be an occasion to remember Dr. Thomas and to praise the Lord for the many ways He used this faithful servant for His glory,” Dr. Shryock explained.

First Tyndale Scholarship Awarded

The Master’s Seminary recently awarded the first Tyndale Center Scholarship to Ted Liu (pictured above), an M.Div. student from Torrance, CA. Ted and his wife Helen have four children: Evan, Micah, Jonah, and Naomi.

Ted was awarded the scholarship because he exhibited significant aptitude for the ministry of Bible translation. Prior to enrolling at The Master’s Seminary, Ted completed a B.A. in linguistics and a M.S. in computer science at UCLA.

Yet it was not his academic training that motivated him to pursue translation. Through the teaching of the Word of God and discipleship by faithful Bible study leaders, a growing love for God’s Word was cultivated in Ted’s heart.  As he started teaching in his Bible study, a desire to serve Christ in some way also grew.  It was then that he thought about the potential for using his background in the ministry of Bible translation.

Reflecting on his seminary education and the Tyndale Scholarship, Ted shared, “In and of myself, I am in no way qualified, but it is only by the grace of God that I am here.”

The Tyndale Center Scholarship is the newest scholarship offered by The Master’s Seminary. This scholarship provides outstanding students in the M.Div. program at the L.A. campus with full tuition and fees. It is also tenable for up to four years, depending on suitable academic progress.

This scholarship was created with the aim of enabling the most qualified students to study at the Tyndale Center for Bible Translation and finish The Master’s Seminary without financial burdens that might hinder them from faithfully serving the Lord in the ministry of Bible translation.

The greatest need is not translations, but translators

Ted is one of a growing number of students at The Master’s Seminary who are studying with Dr. Aaron Shryock, director of the Tyndale Center for Bible Translation.

The Tyndale Center provides training in Bible translation within the context of the Master of Divinity program at The Master’s Seminary.  Unique to this program is its commitment to integrating theology, biblical languages, and translation studies, all within a seminary context.  This focus ensures that students receive a solid foundation to thrive in this vital ministry.

“We want to train up a generation of translators who, like William Tyndale, has a scholar’s mind, a translator’s eye, and a pastor’s resolve,” said Dr. Aaron Shryock.

“As I have surveyed the ministry of Bible translation, I’ve concluded that the greatest need is not translations, but translators,” added Dr. Shryock. “And I’m confident that Ted will be one of those faithful servants who makes a significant contribution to the Kingdom through this vital ministry of the Word.”

The Tyndale Forum: A Community of Translators

The Tyndale Center for Bible Translation held a translation forum on March 4, 2019, as the culmination of a day of mission-focused sessions with The Master’s Academy International, hosted by Calvary Bible Church in Burbank, CA.

Over 85 people assembled for this special meeting to discuss critical topics in Bible translation, coming from a range of organizations including The Master’s Seminary, The Master’s Academy International, Grace Ministries International, World Team, unfoldingWord, Global Bible Initiative, Radius International, Wycliffe Bible Translators, and Bible Translation Fellowship.

A number of students interested in Bible translation also attended the forum to learn more about the ministry of Bible translation.

Dr. Aaron Shryock, director of the Tyndale Center, welcomed everyone to the forum. He expressed his appreciation to the Lord that such a diverse group, united by their commitment to the Lord and the translation of His Word, could come together to encourage and learn from each other

What a joy to see the fruit of our labors in the ministry of Bible translation

Dr. Shryock then welcomed to the podium Dr. Mark Tatlock, President of The Master’s Academy International, who spoke about the critical partnership between TMAI, an international organization committed to training national pastors, and The Master’s Seminary. He stated, “We realize it’s not enough just to train men to preach, because if the people in the pews do not have a good translation [of the Bible], then they are not able to become Bereans in the way they need to be.”

Kyle Davis, the founder of Bible Translation Fellowship, then spoke on the need for pastor-translators on the mission field – “churchmen whose end goal is not a Bible product, but…the glory of God through the visibility of the Gospel through healthy local churches.” He cast a vision for more than the translation of the Bible, but for a church where “we read the Word, preach the Word, pray the Word, sing the Word, and see the Word in our ordinances.” This requires more than linguistic expertise; it necessitates translators who are pastor-translators.

The role of the church in translation was the next topic, as Jesse Griffin, Chief Technology Officer for unfoldingWord, came to the podium. He shared that his organization seeks to “develop in each lingual church the capacity to perpetuate faithful interpretation of the Bible.” He clarified that the Bible is not simply a tool for evangelism, but should be recognized as central to the life of the church.

Don Lowe, a missionary church-planter and translator with World Team, spoke about the heavily debated issues of Muslim Idiom Translation and the Insider Movement. He tracked the history of the Insider Movement, explaining the dangers and pitfalls it presents. Finally, he argued for increased transparency and accountability in translation.

The final speaker of the evening was John Sawyer, CEO of Global Bible Initiative. He highlighted the need for the body of Christ to do the translation for itself, not by itself. Thus, his organization is committed to empowering local churches to engage in translation. He discussed the potential benefits of a recently developed computer tool that “allows people who don’t know Greek and Hebrew deeply to translate Scripture because it gives them visibility into the meaning of the text.” He reminded the group that Bible translation is a catalyst for spiritual growth.

Reflecting on the evening, Pastor Conrad Mbewe remarked, “The meeting we just had…reminded me of…the need for pastors to be interested in Bible translation and to be interested enough to be involved.”

It is exciting to see increasing interest and involvement in the ministry of Bible translation. Now in its second year, the Tyndale Center for Bible Translation is committed to training students for the ministry of Bible translation. And beyond the classroom, the center seeks to be a resource for the larger translation community.

What a joy to see the fruit of our labors in the ministry of Bible translation. Please join us in praising the Lord and asking His blessing on the growing ministry of the Tyndale Center.

Tyndale Center in Pictures 2018

Reflecting back on the year at the Tyndale Center for Bible Translation at The Master’s Seminary, we are so thankful for the Lord’s faithfulness.  Here are some photos that capture what made this year so memorable.

For almost 40 years, The Master’s Seminary has diligently trained pastors and missionaries for Gospel ministry.  In 2017, the seminary established the Tyndale Center for Bible Translation in response to the global need for Bible translation.

 

The Master’s Seminary is committed to the Word of God and its proclamation among the nations.  The Tyndale Center is a natural overflow of these commitments.

 

On March 6, 2018, the Tyndale Center was officially launched, and Dr. MacArthur announced the seminary’s commitment to train pastor-translators.

 

In June 2018, Dr. Aaron Shryock, director of the Tyndale Center, traveled to Cameroon with a group of students: Sung Park, Jack Smith, and Taylor Berghuis (left-to-right). They met with a number of missionaries, including Drew Maust (far right), a translation consultant in West Africa.

 

On August 23, 2018, Dave Brunn, long-time missionary and Bible translator with Ethnos 360, shared about the relationship between church planting and translation with a group of seminary students.

 

Dr. Shryock taught courses in translation and exegesis as part of the M.Div. program.

 

Dave Brunn interacted with students and staff about his time translating the Bible in Papua New Guinea.

 

Students and staff enjoyed an event on the topic of Bible translation hosted by the Tyndale Center.

 

On September 18, 2018, Dr. Stephen Lonetti gave a message in honor of the late Dr. Robert L. Thomas.  He spoke about his time as a church planter and Bible translator among the Taliabo people in Indonesia.

 

Drs. Osborne and Barrick talk at a Tyndale Center event.

 

Dr. Lonetti shared his heart for Bible translation at a Q&A session following the time in chapel.

 

Dr. Shryock and student Bo Zhou analyze the translation of Daniel 2:37 in Mandarin.

 

Looking forward to 2019, we are excited about what the Lord will do at the Tyndale Center.  Please join us in praying for the spread of the Gospel to every “tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9).

Second Annual Dr. Robert L. Thomas Memorial Lecture

“We have what people need—the Word of God…They cannot hear if you won’t go,” pleaded Dr. Stephen Lonetti to the seminary chapel filled with students, faculty, and guests. And he pushed further: “Do we really believe we have the Word of eternal life, men?  Or is it just an exercise to us?”

The room sat in silence as the seasoned missionary recounted his years of church planting and translation work in a small, previously unreached people group in Indonesia.  He urgently called those sitting before him to give their lives to reach the unreached with the Gospel, preaching and translating the Word.

While ministering in a remote corner of Indonesia, Dr. Lonetti shared that he received a journal article from a New Testament scholar he had never heard of, but who he would never forget—Dr. Robert L. Thomas. Dr. Thomas’ article encouraged Lonetti in his work and eventually helped lead him to attend The Master’s Seminary. It wasn’t just getting God’s Word right to get it right; it was getting God’s Word right because that’s what changes lives.

When Dr. Thomas passed away on Wednesday, September 6, 2017, The Master’s Seminary established an annual lecture series, the Dr. Robert L. Thomas Memorial Lecture in Bible Translation, to honor this founding member of the faculty.  Last fall, Dr. William Barrick gave the first lecture; he had taught alongside Dr. Thomas for 11 years.

For the second lecture in the memorial series on September 18, 2018, it was only fitting that Dr. Lonetti would speak. Lonetti’s testimony was another reminder of the impact of the ministry of Dr. Robert L. Thomas. Over the course of 50 years, Dr. Thomas taught Greek and New Testament at the seminary level, training many future pastors and missionaries to handle the Word with precision.

Dr. Lonetti was not the only guest with a special relationship to the late Dr. Thomas. Barbara Erselius, Dr. Thomas’ daughter, was present with her son, Pastor Jason Erselius. Pastor Erselius knew Dr. Thomas as both his grandfather and his professor when he attended TMS.

Reflecting on his grandfather, Pastor Erselius said, “He loved The Master’s Seminary.  He was so thankful to be a part of the faculty here.”

After the chapel, Pastor Erselius, his mother, and others from the seminary faculty and staff gathered for a lunch to further honor the memory of Dr. Thomas. Dr. Lonetti spoke more about the impact of Dr. Thomas on his life and answered questions about missions and translation.

Dr. Barrick also presented a gift to Barbara Erselius and the Thomas family to demonstrate the seminary’s thankfulness for the life and ministry of their father and grandfather—a leaf from the 1549 Matthew Bible. The Matthew Bible consisted, in large part, of the portions of Scripture translated by William Tyndale. Although Tyndale was arrested and executed in 1536, his friend and fellow translator, John Rogers, published the Matthew Bible to disseminate Tyndale’s work. Later translations, especially the King James Bible, were heavily indebted to Tyndale’s translation.

Unlike many in the room, Barbara Erselius could remember the years that her own father devoted to the task of translating the Bible into English. Beginning in 1960, Dr. Thomas served on the team that translated the New American Standard Bible (NASB). He started as one of the New Testament translators, and then was asked to assist in coordinating the translation of the Old Testament.

The commitment to precisely translate God’s Word out of devotion to Jesus Christ continues at TMS. The Tyndale Center for Bible Translation at TMS is an expression of the seminary’s resolve to train a new generation of translators who, like Dr. Thomas, will combine scholarship and devotion for the strengthening of the church and the advancement of the Gospel.

“He was a scholar, but he was a scholar with a purpose,” said his grandson, Pastor Erselius. “It wasn’t just getting God’s Word right to get it right; it was getting God’s Word right because that’s what changes lives.”

“Dr. Thomas loved God’s Word with a passion and was dedicated to training his students to handle it with precision.  It was so honoring to Dr. Thomas’ memory, and to his daughter and grandson, to hear how TMS is continuing to honor God’s Word ” shared Christine Dixon, who served as Dr. Thomas’ secretary.

Each September, the seminary will anticipate the Dr. Robert L. Thomas Memorial Lecture in Bible Translation. “We hope that these memorial lectures,” explained Dr. Shryock, director of the Tyndale Center for Bible Translation, “are an occasion to remember Dr. Thomas and to encourage the next generation to follow in his footsteps.”

Tyndale Center Scholarship

“We want to be ground zero for Bible translation,” announced Dr. John MacArthur, President of The Master’s Seminary.   In March 2018, Dr. MacArthur officially launched the Tyndale Center for Bible Translation at The Master’s Seminary.

The academic programs at The Master’s Seminary are designed to train students to faithfully exegete and exposit the text of Scripture.  The Tyndale Center is a natural overflow of this commitment.  Dr. MacArthur stated, “You can’t believe what we believe about the Bible and not be given to this task [of Bible translation].”

The Master’s Seminary is excited to announce another step forward for the seminary and the Tyndale Center—The Tyndale Center Scholarship.

This new scholarship provides outstanding students emphasizing in translation with a tuition-free seminary education.  The aim is to enable the most qualified students to finish seminary without financial burdens that might hinder them from faithfully serving the Lord in the ministry of Bible translation.

The Tyndale Center Scholarship provides full tuition and fees for incoming and current students in the M.Div. program at the L.A. campus.  The scholarship will be tenable for up to four years, depending on suitable academic progress.“We want to be ground zero for Bible translation.”

This scholarship is intended for students with a significant aptitude for the ministry of Bible translation.  Candidates should have proven ability in language study and evidence of their commitment to this critical ministry. Applicants will be considered on the basis of proven character, ministry experience, potential impact, and academic excellence.

The Tyndale Center for Bible Translation provides training in Bible translation at The Master’s Seminary within the context of the Master of Divinity program.  Unique to this program is its commitment to integrating theology, biblical languages, and translation studies, all within a seminary context.  This focus ensures that students receive a solid foundation to thrive in ministry.

If you are interested in the Tyndale Center Scholarship, please carefully review the scholarship application. To learn more, contact the Office of Admissions by email or by phone at 818-909-5624.

“We want to train up a generation of translators who, like William Tyndale, has a scholar’s mind, a translator’s eye, and a pastor’s heart.  The greatest need in Bible translation isn’t translations but translators. Our goal is to train a generation committed to Christ and His word,” said Dr. Aaron Shryock, Director of the Tyndale Center for Bible Translation.

Bible Translation: A Growing Pursuit at TMS

Last month, a group sat with their coffee in front of Steeple House much like anyone else on Grace Walk at The Master’s Seminary. Yet those students who slowed their rush to class on that busy Tuesday, noticed a group of experienced missionaries committed to taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

Dr. Bill Barrick, Emeritus Professor of Old Testament at TMS, met on Tuesday, August 23, with two other veteran missionaries: Dave and Nancy Brunn. The Brunns have spent almost 40 years in mission work, focused on Bible translation and church planting with Ethnos 360. This small group of missionaries was joined by Dr. Aaron Shryock, Director of the Tyndale Center for Bible Translation at TMS.

On their way to Papua New Guinea, Dave and Nancy Brunn spent a day at the seminary. As long-time missionaries involved in Bible translation and church planting, the Brunns came to support the Tyndale Center and encourage a growing interest in Bible translation within the student population at The Master’s Seminary. Dr. Barrick graciously joined the couple in raising awareness of the need for translation.

During the chapel time, Dr. Aaron Shryock and Dave Brunn met with a group of seminary students.  Dave shared about his time church-planting among the Lamogai people, an unreached group in Papua New Guinea. Dr. Barrick joined another group of students during chapel to encourage them in their training for ministry.

Bo Zhou, a student at TMS, commented about this time with Dave Brunn, “Seeing how God uses such a church-focused Bible translator to do amazing kingdom work motivated me to be more mission-minded in my personal pursuit.”

Dave’s wife, Nancy, spent the chapel hour sharing with some of the wives of seminary students about missions and the ministry of Bible translation.

Directly following chapel, Dr. Aaron Shryock and Dave Brunn hosted a lunch with an extended time of question and answers.  The room filled quickly with current seminary students, their wives and families, faculty, and alumni.  The audience engaged with Dave on topics such as the challenges of translation, the importance of the church in translation, and the struggles and joys of living among an unreached people.

Dr. I.J. Zhakevich, Professor of Old Testament, commented, “I was impressed by Brunn’s insight that the church needs to be involved throughout the entire process of translation.”

“I was reminded by this discussion of how sufficient the Word of God is for the edification of the church,” noted Taylor Berghuis, a student in the M.Div. program. “The people group who the Brunns worked with, now not only have a church, but a Bible in their own language.”

“Dave Brunn did an excellent job showing that the biggest challenge is not technical but spiritual,” added Chris Burnett, director of the Th.M. program at the seminary.

After a full day interacting with students and faculty, Dave and Nancy Brunn and Dr. Barrick left encouraged by the opportunity to share about the ministry of Bible translation and eager to see what the Lord will do in the lives of the students they met.

Dr. Shryock remarked, “We are so thankful that the Brunns and Dr. Barrick would spend the day with us at TMS.  It’s exciting to see the growing commitment to not only preach and teach, but also translate God’s Word for His glory among the nations.”

Tyndale Center in Pictures

As we look back over the first academic year of the Tyndale Center for Bible Translation at The Master’s Seminary, we have many reasons to praise the Lord! We would like to show you many of the memorable moments of this inaugural year and share our gratitude with the following pictures:

The Master’s Seminary has trained pastors and missionaries for Gospel ministry for over 38 years, and in 2017, the leadership recognized the strategic need for the Tyndale Center for Bible Translation.

 

The Tyndale Center is an overflow of the seminary’s high view of Scripture and commitment to proclaim the Gospel and make disciples of the nations.

 

On September 19, 2017, Dr. Bill Barrick presented the Dr. Robert L. Thomas Memorial Lecture in Bible Translation, the first in a series of lectures designed to honor the memory of the late Dr. Robert L. Thomas.

 

Mr. Mark Thomas (middle left) of Chino, CA, and his brother, Jon (middle right), of Villa Park, CA, attended the lecture on behalf of the Thomas family.

 

Dr. Barrick preached from Nehemiah 8 on the importance of Bible translation.

 

Dr. Shryock introduced the Tyndale Center to the students who attended a Q&A session with Dr. Barrick after the lecture.

 

About 80 students attended the special lunch with Drs. Barrick and Shryock.

 

On March 6, 2018, the seminary launched the Tyndale Center with a special banquet.

 

Dr. MacArthur shared with the gathering about the need for the seminary to take this new initiative based on longstanding convictions.

 

Dr. Steve Lawson preached about the life and ministry of William Tyndale, an English reformer and translator whose work impacts us to this day.

 

Over 250 attended the launch of the Tyndale Center.

 

Dr. Mark Tatlock spoke about the unique partnership between The Master’s Seminary and The Master’s Academy International.

 

On October 31, 2017, Dave and Stacey Hare, missionaries to Cameroon, and Kyle Davis, founder of Bible Translation Fellowship, spoke to the seminarians about the ministry of Bible translation at a special lunch.

 

Students research the translation of a key biblical term in Korean.

 

Dr. Shryock with two students, thankful to have finished the semester. 

 

The Tyndale Center is committed to training up a generation of pastor-translators who are engaged in Bible translation as an overflow of their faith in Christ and desire to see the Gospel advance for the glory of God.

TMS Begins Dr. Robert Thomas Memorial Lecture Series

It was a chapel service like none other at The Master’s Seminary, honoring the past and setting a course for the future.

On September 19, 2017, students and faculty gathered for the Tuesday morning chapel service much like they have since the seminary’s inception. Few noticed, however, two men who were in attendance for their first time. Mr. Jon Thomas of Chino, CA, and his brother, Mark, of Villa Park, CA, greeted several faculty members and exchanged encouraging words before taking a seat in the front row.

After a hymn and Scripture reading, Dr. Aaron Shryock mounted the podium and extended a warm welcome to the Thomas brothers. He then announced that the seminary was launching the annual Dr. Robert L. Thomas Memorial Lecture in Bible Translation in honor of their father, who passed away on September 6, 2017.

Dr. Thomas is well known as a professor of New Testament. He taught full-time for 50 years, from 1959 to 2009, first at Talbot and then at The Master’s Seminary. Dr. Thomas’ academic accomplishments during those years are noteworthy. He published numerous articles and books, including a two-volume commentary on Revelation.

Reflecting on Dr. Thomas’ passing, Dr. John MacArthur, President of The Master’s Seminary, wrote,

I rejoice in [Dr. Thomas’] homegoing and the reality that his life left an indelible mark on me personally and thousands of other young men in ministry. As my Greek professor all through seminary, he laid the foundation for my life of preaching the New Testament. Whatever impact my preaching and writing on the New Testament may have is a direct result of his skill and passion for precision in handling the Word of God.

Dr. Thomas will be most remembered for his love for Christ and His Word which he impressed upon his students. Reflecting on the care with which he would counsel students, pastor and former student Jesse Johnson wrote, “It was clear that his love for the truth was actually a love for people. He was a professor not because he loved Greek, but because he loved the people who would be under the pastoral care of his students.”

At the chapel on September 19th, most of the current students had only heard of Dr. Thomas as the renowned and beloved professor of New Testament. But many held his most influential contribution in their hands.

Beginning in 1960, Dr. Thomas was part of the team that translated the New American Standard Bible (NASB). He served first as one of the New Testament translators, and then was asked to help coordinate the translation of the Old Testament. After a decade of work, the NASB was published in 1971.

Reflecting on his father’s work on the NASB, Jon Thomas remembered the day that his father brought home a newly translated Gospel of John. The family celebrated. “That’s what it was like to grow up in the Thomas family,” he said.

After announcing the Dr. Robert L. Thomas Memorial Lecture, Dr. Shryock welcomed Dr. William Barrick to deliver the first lecture. Dr. Barrick presented a detailed exposition of Nehemiah 8. He sought to impress upon the students that “the word of God is the focus, the center of all that God’s people are to be doing.” Yet this cannot be done without understanding and, ultimately, translation.

It was fitting that Dr. Barrick presented the first lecture. In addition to working as a colleague of Dr. Thomas at TMS beginning in 1997, Dr. Barrick likewise devoted many years to translation work. He was the Old Testament consultant for the Bengali Bible and contributed to work in five other languages as well. Regarding his time as a colleague of Dr. Thomas, he recently wrote that it was one the greatest privileges God had granted him.

As the sermon ended and students began to disperse for their next class, 2nd-year student Kevin VanTongeren remarked about Dr. Barrick, “This man is driven by convictions and affections that we know only come from Christ. This is both comforting and inspiring for me as a student.”

Each fall, the seminary will look forward to the Dr. Robert L. Thomas Memorial Lecture in Bible Translation. “We hope that this series will be an occasion to remember Dr. Thomas and to praise the Lord for the many ways He used this faithful servant for His glory,” Dr. Shryock explained.

“Dad would have been both embarrassed and excited about the memorial lecture,” shared Mark Thomas. “The seminary has given us a great gift by honoring our dad in this way.”