“Land of the Bible” Course

Fourteen Days of Eye-Opening Insights into

the Hebrew Scripture and its Context

Throughout the year we offer several insightful courses on the historical, archaeological, and geographical context of Scripture and how this understanding can impact translations. With Bible in hand, trips to Biblical sites throughout the Land are experienced with an eye toward Bible translation issues.

Beginning in 2005, JCBT has provided this valuable experience to over 300 consultants, translators, and translation personnel.

Since translation consultants check and approve the Biblical accuracy of the mother-tongue translations, they must be knowledgeable in not only the text of the Bible but also of the context in which the words were written.

We believe that translation consultants should have a minimum of one study experience in the Land of the Bible to learn about its geography, archaeology, flora, fauna, etc., forming an experiential dictionary of Biblical terms and resulting in improved expertise in advising toward a more accurate and natural translation. Sadly, the vast majority of translation consultants worldwide have never experienced Israel!

JCBT aims to rectify this problem by offering many short-term, low-cost study opportunities in Jerusalem.

 Short-term courses by JCBT: 

  • Are tailor-made for consultants and translation groups;
  • Focus on how the context impacts the understanding of the original Text; and
  • They are inexpensive and flexible for each group.

Participation in the “Land of the Bible” Course is for Bible Translators & Consultants

The awareness of how knowing the external “context” of Scripture enhances the ability to better understand the Text has increased tremendously over the past two decades. Short term “Land of the Bible” courses designed specifically for Bible translators or scholars throughout the year. Each study-tour can be tailor-made and typically includes both class lectures as well as field trips throughout the Land of Israel.



The course is open to all, but certain preferences apply:

  1. Preferably currently consulting in a Hebrew Bible (OT) translation project. National consultants are encouraged to apply as JCBT can help in the visa process. 
  2. Preferably under 55 years of age.

Cost: All-inclusive expenses in the land for the intensive 14-day study tour is $ 1,950.


How to Apply 

For the JCBT  “Land of the Bible” Short-Term Course:

  • Click Here to download an application form for those requiring a pre-departure application for a visa.
  • Click Here for all others who can obtain visas at Ben Gurion airport.   Citizens from these countries automatically receive a three-month visa at Ben Gurion Airport.
  • You can learn Here if a visa application is required or exempted for you. 

For short-term course inquiries, please write wilma@bibletranslators.org


The testimonies of a consultant group organized by Krijn van der Jagt in 2009 for this learning experience speaks volumes.

  • “Experiencing the topography, its hills and ravines,  the hot summer climate, the biblical plants and animals,  the archaeological evidence of biblical history–all went beyond anything learned from books.  We expected it to be a beneficial experience, but the tour was much above our expectations,” was the corporate response expressed by all.”
  • A consultant in this group wrote later:  “I am still touched somehow deep in my soul and am processing it.”
  • A few days after returning home, Krijn van der Jagt wrote:consultants-e

“On behalf of Dr. Margaret Muthwii, the UBS area coordinator of Africa I would like to express our sincere gratitude and complete satisfaction about the Training Seminar you have organized for us.  Dr. Muthwii indicated to me that she has received enthusiastic reports from the participants. We all feel that a dream came true for our consultants who never visited Israel in their lives.

I wish to thank all of you for your great contributions, in guiding, teaching, organizing, and welcoming us in your home and in Israel. I sincerely hope many consultants and translators will profit from your valuable services and expertise as they develop in the field of Bible translation.

Once more, thank you very much and may God bless your ministry…With warm greetings!”

  • A consultant from another group a few years later wrote: “Nothing compares with personal experience of the settings of events about which I have been teaching and consulting for a lifetime. Every day I am using the resources gained.”

A consultant who participated in a Land of the Bible in 2014, Stephen Payne, has provided a slideshow presentation of his experience.  To review it, you can click here.

A Sampling of Groups of Alumni 

Yours could be next!


Twelve Groups Scheduled for 2018

Thirteen Groups in 2017

Four Groups in 2016

Two Groups in 2015

A Group in 2011consultants-4

In April we held an Easter/Pesach consultant study tour for international consultants: Phil and Cecilia Noss (UBS/ABS; Cameroon), Ronnie and Margaret Sim (Wycliffe/SIL; East Africa), Wolf and Hildegard Seilers (Wycliffe/SIL; Alaska, Nigeria), Marianne Beerle-Moor (IBT; former Soviet Union), and Yancey Smith (WBTC).

Three Groups in 2010

1.  The April Passover/Easter study tour. The participants consultants-1were senior Bible translation leaders who had worked as consultants on many translation projects for decades:  Keith & Mary Beavon; Ernst & Margie Wendland; Christo & Marli van der Merwe; Constance Kutsch-Lojenga; and Ignatio Magangat.

The 10-day intensive course in the land of the Bible confronted them with physical, historical, geographical and, the cultural context of the Biblical texts they had so often advised others about.  It proved to be an unexpectedly unique experience for them: …We didn’t know what we didn’t know…!


2. Consultants from Korea, Senegal, Ethiopia & the USA (working in Peru) attended the course in July 2010.  All were surprised at the many textual insights gained when considering the context in translation.  The national consultants were especially gratified.


3. A Course for the Office Staff of Wycliffe, Finland in May 2010.  They saw firsthand the importance of supporting translators to study in the land as part of their professional training.

4. A Group of UBS Consultants in 2009

UBS HBTfarewell

Lynell Zogbo (UBS, USA/Cote d’Ivoire),

Riikka Halme (UBS, Finland),

Youssouf Dembele (UBS, Mali),

Gerrit van Steenbergen (UBS, Netherlands),

Krijn van der Jagt  (UBS, Netherlands),

Don Slager (UBS, USA),

Fabian Dapila (UBS, Ghana/Canada),

Jean-Claude Loba-Mkole, (UBS, Congo).

[from left to right]

Sample Schedule of Study Trips



Day 1 – Lv at 9:00am “MOUNTAINS AROUND JERUSALEM” (Ps 125:2): Mt Scopus Overlook, Hebrew University and the Mt. of Olives (Acts 1); Ancient Jerusalem/City of David (2 Sam 5) and the Pool of Siloam (John 9 and 7:37-39); Nebi Samuel with a view of Gibeah of Saul.

Day 2 – Lv at 8:00 am for a walk along the VIA DOLOROSA from the Antonia Fortress to the Holy Sepulcher Church. YAD VASHEM HOLOCAUST MUSEUM (Ezek 37). Afternoon free.

Day 3 – Lv at 8:30 am for ROAD TO EMMAUS with Arieh Bar David ca 3-hour hike.

Day 4 – Lv 8:00am for JUDEAN HILLS: Bethlehem (Gen 35:19; Ruth 4; Micah 5; Matt 2; Luke 2); Herodian; view of Tekoa (2 Sam 14, Amos 1; Neh 3:5, 27); Shepherd’s Field; Promenade View of Jerusalem (Gen 22).

Day 5 – Lv 8:00 am JERUSALEM IN THE FIRST AND SECOND TEMPLE PERIODS: First Temple Model/ Yad BenTzvi; Herodian Quarter, Burnt House; Temple Mount/Ophel (1 Kings 8; 2 Sam 24); Western Wall; Southern Wall Excavations/Davidson Museum (Matt 23).


Day 6 – Lv 8:00am for THE JERICHO ROAD and THE JUDEAN DESERT: View Good Samaritan Inn and Northern Judean Desert (Psalm 23); Jericho (Josh 2, 4; Luke 10, 18, 19); Qumran of the Dead Sea Scrolls; Ein Gedi Field School (1 Sam 24 and Psalm 57); Masada; Overnight in tents in the Judean Desert at Cfar Nokdim.

Day 7 – Morning: THE NEGEV – Arad (Deut 1:44, Num 21:1)and Beersheba (Gen 21:22-32). Afternoon: THE SHEPHELAH FOOTHILL VALLEYS: The Lachish Valley: Lachish letters; The Elah Valley: Azekah, David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17; 21:9); The Sorek Valley: Beth Shemesh, Samson and the Philistines (1 Samuel 6-7).

Day 8 – Lv 8:30 am BIBLICAL GARDENS of NEOT KEDUMIM.  3:00 pm Yoel Nesson, former director of the HBT at the Hebrew University, lecture on Jewish Perspective of Biblical Feasts – Especially Passover.  8:00 pm Ray Pritz, former director of the Israel Bible Society (UBSA), lecture on Man-made Things in the Bible.


Day 9 – Lv 8:00am for THE COASTAL PLAIN AND THE JEZREEL VALLEY: Caesarea (Acts 10; 12; 25); Megiddo (1 Kings 9:15; Revelation 15:12); passing by Mount Carmel (I Kings 18:20-46). 3:30-5:00pm Nazareth Village (Matthew 2:23; Luke 1:26; 4:16, 28-30; Jn 1:46), Overnight in Galilee.

Day 10JESUS’ MINISTRY IN THE GALILEE AND GOLAN HEIGHTS: Hatzor (Hazor) (Joshua 11:10-11; 1 Kings 9:15); Tel Dan (Joshua 19: 4748; 1 Kings 12:26-32); Caesarea Philippi [Panias/Banyas] (Matthew 16); Kuneitra and Golan Heights/Bashan. Fish Dinner.  Overnight in Galilee.

Day 11JESUS’ MINISTRY AROUND THE SEA OF GALILEE: Mt. of Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7); Korazim (Matthew 11:23-24; 23:1-3); Capernaum (Matt 4:13; 17: 24; Mk 2:1); Beth Shean (1 Samuel 31); Travel via Jordan Valley; pass by Wadi Qelt (Luke 4, 10). Overnight at the Log Home. Farewell Meal.


Groups that are planned for 2019

  • JCBT Open Consultants Course (January 6- 19).
  • Consultants Training for TWFTW (March 3-16).
  • UBS Asia Pacific Translators (June 2-15).
  • SC Hebrew (August 2019).
  • UBS Mozambique Translators (September 1-14).
  • DOOR Group (September 3-19).
  • UBS Asia- Chinese Translators (September 29- October 12).
  • JCBT Course on Prophets (October 26- November 13).
  • UBS Asia Pacific CEO’s (October 27-November 2).
  • Wycliffe Australia (December 1-11).