Joel Williamson speaking in a recent assembly.
“This isn’t just a school. It’s a training ground.”
Joel Williamson has been teaching at Calvary University for thirty-nine years. “I stayed at Calvary because Calvary was doing what needs to be done,” Williamson said. “They’ve been focusing on the Bible.”
When Williamson first began to consider moving to Kansas City he was impressed with Calvary’s reputation. “I asked people, ‘What do you think?’ and I got some really interesting answers from more than one. But one in particular made a marvelous statement. They said, ‘You know, we’ve noticed something. The young people from this church have gone to two different schools. In both schools they got really good biblical education, but the kids from Calvary came home and got the other kids to go to work, to start active ministry for the Lord. They came back and said, “Why are you sitting around?”’ So I said, okay, this isn’t just a school, it’s a training ground.”
Williamson has taught several different classes over the years, but regularly teaches Developing a Biblical Worldview and Hebrew. His interest in the Biblical languages began in high school. “I discovered that we had a dictionary that had the Greek etymology of English words. So, I started to try and learn some Greek. I had a youth leader who came through for a year or so at church who gave me his Introduction to Greek textbook from when he went to Moody Bible Institute, and so I played with that. I really loved Greek! I went into seminary thinking I’m going to take Greek, this is my world. And then I took Hebrew and I said, ‘You know what? This is my home.’ I took biblical Hebrew and an Aramaic dialect called Syriac and a Canaanite language called Ugaritic.”
“Hebrew requires you to think in a different way,” he said, “and I found that wonderful. I love doing it. That’s been the fun thing to do, to ask ‘How can I teach this?’ particularly to those students who don’t get it and don’t think that way.”
Growing in his own knowledge of the Bible is what Williamson likes most about teaching at Calvary. “I get to teach the same books over and over. I never preached through the book of Romans in my two pastorates—five years at one location and six and a half at the second. I never did because I knew I would only get one shot, and I said, ‘I’m still young and I still don’t get it.’ And at Calvary, I have taught the book of Romans almost every year, and on occasion twice a year. I get to go over it and over it every year. And Genesis! I’ve taught Genesis for several years. I taught John back-to-back-to–back. It’s like I just get to bathe in the truth and refresh myself again and see new and exciting stuff. That’s been a real joy for me.”