Who we are
A combined 120 years of teaching in the classroom and in the land of the Bible
Founder & President
Raised on a farm and trained in music, Jim went on to seminary where he met fellow organist and theology student Polly. Their deeper understanding of the Bible began in 1960 when as newlyweds they engaged the story of the Bible in its land. Passion for the context of Scripture guided Jim's path from study in Switzerland to teaching in Congo, and then to Jerusalem where he taught for 31 years. His fresh approach to studying the Bible through a regional and layered study of geography, texts and life lessons gave rise to his signature course "Physical Settings of the Bible" and the "Israel Study Tour" model that has been adopted by many of his students and in turn, their students, who teach in schools, churches and on countless tours of Israel to this day, including the many programs of Jerusalem University College (formerly Institute of Holyland Studies). In addition to training and mentoring thousands of students, Jim brought to biblical studies many new insights and an array of new concepts such as "Dynamic of the Land," "The Playing Board of Biblical History," "Central Benjamin Plateau," "Battle for Benjamin," "Philistine Alluvial Plain," and the all-important "Land Between" that echoes through the literature and teaching of the academy and the church.
Steve & Mona Lancaster
Steve and Mona teach the Bible all over the globe and have led numerous study tours to the land of the Bible. They have participated in several archaeological excavations and for many years directed a study program in Israel. Mona worked in the corporate world before setting up and running the business and distribution side of Biblical Backgrounds for over 20 years. Steve is the pastor of the unique, biblically grounded Marion Bible Fellowship.
John spent his youth in Jerusalem where he developed an interest in biblical studies, historical geography, archaeology and Near Eastern languages ancient and modern. He went on to graduate degrees in the US and Israel, culminating in a PhD from Harvard University. He has taught at Jerusalem University College, Wheaton College and currently teaches Old Testament Semitic languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School north of Chicago. His geographical studies and archeological fieldwork has taken him to numerous excavations in Israel and research in Jordan Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere in the eastern Mediterranean. He writes on the context of Scripture, biblical geography and the integration of texts and artifacts. For more, see www.monsoncourse.com