Cutting The English Umbilical Cord with Dr. Jesse Scheumann – Episode 001October 11, 2023 2023-10-20 16:03
Cutting The English Umbilical Cord with Dr. Jesse Scheumann – Episode 001
Cutting The English Umbilical Cord with Dr. Jesse Scheumann – Episode 001
Dr. Jesse Scheumann shares how he gained a passion for studying scripture in the original languages and how he helps students at Sattler College do the same. He tells President Zack Johnson about his journey through college, how he thinks about Bible translation and inerrancy, as well as his life outside Sattler.
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Mentioned in this episode:
- New Yorkers Watch as Their Only Evangelical Colleges Close – Christianity Today
- Dr. Scheumann’s resources at Glossa House
- Labor With Hope Book
- Sattler College Fall Open House – October 13th and 14th
In our first-ever podcast episode, President Zack Johnson had the privilege of engaging in a rich conversation with Dr. Jesse Scheumann, a passionate linguist who has transitioned from pastoral to academic ministry. His journey from rural Minnesota to scholarly work in generative linguistics, Greek, and Hebrew is truly inspiring.
Dr. Scheumann’s approach to teaching is unique and dynamic. He employs a communicative methodology that incorporates Total Physical Response (TPR) and storytelling. This engaging and effective teaching strategy has not only revolutionized his classroom experiences but has also impacted his family, bringing language learning into the home environment.
A significant portion of the conversation was dedicated to exploring the intricacies of learning Biblical languages. The richness and nuances of Greek and Hebrew can be daunting to many, but Dr. Scheumann provided valuable insights into the resources and methods that can make this endeavor more accessible. He emphasized the importance of direct engagement with these languages, bypassing English as a medium for learning.
As an author, Dr. Scheumann opened up about his publishing journey. He shared about his work on a biblical theology of birth pain, and co-authoring a Picture Dictionary and an illustrated Jonah book. His writing endeavors are closely tied to his passion for language acquisition, providing valuable resources for learners.
The discussion also touched upon the contrasting experiences of Christian life in urban and rural settings. Dr. Scheumann shared his experiences of raising a family in an urban environment.
The importance of learning to read the Bible in its original languages was another focal point of the conversation. The ability to directly engage with the biblical text in Greek and Hebrew not only enriches personal study but also enhances confidence in biblical interpretation.
The episode wrapped up with an invitation to the upcoming Sattler College Open House. This event offers an opportunity to connect with Dr. Scheumann and learn more about the institution’s commitment to providing a well-rounded Christian education.
The conversation with Dr. Jesse Scheumann offers a wealth of insights into language study, biblical theology, and the intertwining of faith and life. It challenges listeners to engage more deeply with the biblical text and invites them to consider the profound impact of language on our understanding of faith and the world.
*Auto-generated and may contain errors.
Zack Johnson: 0:05
It is September 28th and I’m with the first ever guest of a Sattler College podcast. We don’t yet have a title, but we might discover it today. So we’re with Dr Jesse Scheumann, who’s been with Sattler since when Dr Scheumann or Jesse 2018, so I came in August 2018, moved from Minnesota. Alright, so I’m going to read your bio really quick so people know who I’m talking about. Okay, and then we’re going to get into it. Sound good, sounds good. Thanks for being here. I’m excited to talk about something and I’ve listened to podcasts and preparations so I might provide some alternative personas while we talk. Alright, jesse Scheumann holds a PhD with a specialization in Hebrew from the University of the Free State in South Africa. Did you ever live in South Africa? I’ve never even been to South Africa. Common question I’ve heard you address. He holds an MA in Logistics from the University of Minnesota and an MDiv and a THM from Bethlehem College and Seminary, and a BA in Biblical and Theological Studies from University of Northwestern St Paul. In 2017, he founded Picture Hebrew with his wife, marissa to provide illustrated resources that help others internalize the language of Scripture. That’s a lot. Anything to add or subtract from your bio after hearing about it. No, alright, I’ll keep going. Jesse or Mr Scheumann’s interests lie in the areas of generative linguistics, language acquisition, greek and Hebrew, exegesis and Biblical theology. He has been teaching Communicative Hebrew for several years and is passionate to see any committed student become a lifelong reader of Greek and Hebrew. His desires to build up the church locally and globally. Beautiful Welcome, thanks, alright, just to start off, I’d love to hear an arch of your story, just like a five minute. This is where I was born and this is how I got to where I am now. Sure.
Jesse Scheumann: 2:20
So I was born. I was born in Illinois. I’m the sixth of eight children. My dad is a pastor, my mom home school. All of us children. We moved to Minnesota. When I was one, lived in rural Minnesota. My dad was pastor of an evangelical church in the countryside of Minnesota. Throughout high school I would have told you that I’m not going to go to college because college is just an expensive way to meet your wife and I knew who I was going to marry. So I didn’t actually, and so I guess that’s part of it was. I broke up with this girl Summer before going to college, decided I was doing community college just getting my generals out of the way. I decided to go to college and finish out my bachelor’s degree just to take advantage of what I had already done. I had taken all the generals that they offered and I thought about well, do I want to do 40 credits of any one of those studies? The closest I came to was maybe psychology, maybe history, as far as the classes I had taken at the community college. But I wasn’t really so interested in any one of those things. But when I heard about the biblical and theological studies degree at University of Northwestern St Paul. Every one of those classes on the list looked so fascinating and I fully intended to be done after finishing out. That degree was just going to be two more years of coursework, but after two weeks of class I was thinking like man, I can’t be done in just two more years, so I have to go to seminary. I guess at the time I was very open and probably leaning towards pastoral ministry, and so when I began seminary I was thinking about doing full-time pastoral ministry, and it was as I was doing classes. I became really interested while there in going deep into Greek and Hebrew. First was Greek, I had taken Greek in undergrad and I came into seminary. Everybody starts in second year Greek, and so I had to brush up some of my Greek and I really treated that very seriously, and already I was beginning to think maybe I would do PhD work with someone named GK Beal, and if so, I knew when are they from, or how did you know about them? GK Beal. He’s a New Testament scholar. His emphases are in biblical theology of how the Bible coheres as a unified story, and in New Testament use of old so where Jesus and the apostles quote and then interpret the Old Testament, and so those are his specialties. He’s taught at Wheaton College and then I think now he’s at Westminster and so I was thinking about studying under him and I had heard stories about him that he’s really intimidating. Guys Like I would need to know. If this happens, I would need to be really good at Greek. So I began a daily process of reading my New Testament, memorizing unknown vocabulary, reviewing and doing this very regularly, half an hour every day. And I so Greek was, I say Greek was my first love. Hebrew ended up becoming my true love. Throughout seminary I ended up actually switching more away from pursuing pastoral ministry to academic ministry and then even from thinking about doing a PhD in theology and biblical theology to study of Hebrew language. And there my thoughts were well, a PhD just means that I’m good at one thing. So what is what one thing can I become good at that I can get the most benefit from for the rest of my life? And so I was thinking well, what’s more basic? Well, more basic than studying theology would be studying language, the language of Scripture, because we’re people with the book, so theology comes from the book and the book is written in these languages. So language study is more fundamental than theological study. And then I was also thinking well, greek, hebrew again, I was thinking about it more. What’s more fundamental? And I was thinking about well, old Testament is written first in the foundation for New Testament. And I guess, speaking of GK Biel, he has this big book and his one of his theses is basically every significant New Testament doctrine has its roots in the Old Testament, and so the degree to which we’re unaware of the Old Testament roots or misinterpret the Old Testament on that point, to that degree we’re likely to misinterpret the New Testament. And then also, I was thinking well, I can think of so many New Testament scholars who magnify Jesus and make much of Christ, but not nearly as many Old Testament scholars can do that. And so that’s what really got me into the Old Testament side of things. Along the way, I had gotten introduced to a communicative way of learning and then also teaching Hebrew, and this is what I did alongside my wife.
Zack Johnson: 8:14
Can you just describe the communicative way for people who might not be familiar with it, what that means?
Jesse Scheumann: 8:20
Yeah, so traditional way of teaching Greek and Hebrew in college and seminary for I mean decade centuries is characterized by grammar and translation. So grammar, everything’s done in English. So we talk about a grammatical concept in English, then we talk about the grammatical concept in Hebrew and then, now that we first understood grammar in English, grammar in Hebrew, learn some vocab in Hebrew and then learn to translate now from Hebrew into English, and so you talk a lot about the language but you don’t use the language. And so that’s the traditional way, this communicative way. Well, I guess there’s a number of ways that you can do it. What I was introduced to is called total physical response. It gets the acronym of TPR and it was actually discovered. Tprs is TPRS is Total Physical Response, through storytelling. Through storytelling, got it.
Zack Johnson: 9:25
Jesse Scheumann: 9:26
So storytelling is the added part. So TPR is the teacher gives commands like get up and then you get up, sit down. You sit down, and at first you model it for the students. So you say get up and then I’ll get up, sit down, I’ll sit down, I’ll do that a few times and then I’ll start calling on students to do that, and so it’s teaching the language by using the language, and so you’re using the language the whole time. The goal is at least 90% of class time is using the language and you know if the students don’t understand because they don’t do what you tell them to or they write it clearly on their face.
Zack Johnson: 10:07
You can’t cheat.
Jesse Scheumann: 10:08
Yeah, you can’t cheat, you can’t really hide.
Zack Johnson: 10:10
I guess you could follow somebody.
Jesse Scheumann: 10:12
Yeah, and learn from them, I guess. So yeah, but eyes on me.
Zack Johnson: 10:17
I’m not gonna get that.
Jesse Scheumann: 10:18
Yeah, and so that’s the total physical response. The first day is get up, sit down. Get up, jump, stand, sit down, so those kinds of things. Well, the storytelling part gets into it of like, hey well, first day getting up, jumping, clapping for one another as they do the actions, like hey, this is fun, people have smiles on their faces. Well, after a few weeks jumping isn’t as fun as it used to be, and so those simple commands in doing the actions, that doesn’t necessarily keep students’ attention right. It’s no longer as fun the more you do it. And so what keeps students really interested and engaged is storytelling. Like, no one grows out of storytelling. I mean, we read books to our children that have stories, but adults read books, adults tell stories, and so then storytelling is what will really carry the curriculum through, although you’ll continue to do that kind of kinesthetic give commands, be doing things, incorporate your whole body and all of the senses and make the language come alive. But then you can also tell a story and then be talking about the story. So interpretation, that kind of stuff. So that’s a little introduction to a communicative way of teaching language.
Zack Johnson: 11:51
So I’m gonna park this and kind of keep diving into this because I think it’s really relevant to who you are. First year at Sattler you had a student go through a wall Graham. We have Graham, he’s a student. Have you heard this story? I have.
Jesse Scheumann: 12:13
I feel like the fish has grown in size. There was a student and there was a hole in the wall, but the student didn’t go through the wall.
Zack Johnson: 12:22
Okay, I exaggerate. Thanks for bringing me back, but I’m asking this because it seems like students get alive, or become alive, through this method of learning, and I’ve seen it happen and I’ve paid for it my budget, but I’m just kidding.
Jesse Scheumann: 12:43
I was so afraid of telling you when that happened, like I grabbed the student and he grabbed me and I thought we were gonna go down together.
Zack Johnson: 12:51
So it tends to be like an action-packed classroom, and then there’s rumors about noise complaints, but we can’t pin down if that’s your classroom or something else.
Jesse Scheumann: 13:02
Right, yeah, yeah, I think that was the ping pong table. But in the past I’ve had noise complaints. So before I came to Sattler, I taught Hebrew as a community ed class for four years and so it was a community ed class and there are other classes going on for working adults. And I had one time where during break, a professor from two classes down. He came to me and said hey, jesse, can you keep it down in Hebrew class? It’s distracting my students. And I thought that, well, that’s when I had really arrived. Was that people having to go to the Hebrew professor and say, hey, your students are being too rowdy, they’re being too loud, you need to quiet down in there.
Zack Johnson: 13:45
No, I’ll take it. And then one of the things I want to chat about is your family as well, and so I’ve been to your house before, and so your students are really engaged in your teaching. But on your bio, you and your wife started this flashcard set. It’s called Picture Hebrew right, and I know that your children have already been absorbing your passions through some of the way that you structure your house. How do you sort of engage? Tell me a little bit about your family, just first off, and how they engage with this sort of style of teaching.
Jesse Scheumann: 14:24
Yeah, so my wife Marissa. We’ve been married now for 11 years and we have five kids, so age is basically nine, seven, five, three one.
Zack Johnson: 14:36
I bet they all have biblical names.
Jesse Scheumann: 14:38
They do. They do, yeah, a little bit of a new testament, a little bit old testament. So, rebecca, peter, abigail, lydia and Isaiah, so three girls, two boys. And so, yeah, I mean, my journey into communicative Hebrew began with my wife, I mean. So I was traditionally trained in Hebrew grammar translation in seminary, and it was only later on that on my own, but actually not on my own with Marissa that we first we got this curriculum and we started working through it together. Then, in 2014, when our first daughter was just born she was only two months old we packed her up and we went to North Carolina to do a month-long immerse, of course, and so that’s when I was really introduced to how to teach Hebrew communicatively. And then, beginning that fall, marissa and I started co-teaching Hebrew, and so it was just a one night a week class, and so we would have to get a babysitter, and then Marissa and I we would always teach together. So she’s never actually been in the classroom with me once at Sattler, as we’ve had extra child responsibilities at home, but she’s as involved in the curriculum as she’s ever been, I mean. So we with the picture Hebrew. So it began with well, I guess it actually began with the book of Jonah. That’s right. So we had done this. Curriculum has a lot of pictures at the beginning, but as you go deeper into the program, no more pictures. And that was really hard on Marissa because she was benefiting so much from the pictures that for her own benefit, as we were learning Jonah, she would do little doodles above the text for Jonah. And that was kind of the start of the Jonah book. We decided to do that more in depth and then we thought, hey, why not do this for the vocabulary words themselves? So then we did the picture flashcards where instead of English on one side and Hebrew on the other side, it was a picture on one side and Hebrew on the other side. So then you would go from picture like the actual reference, and then you would come up with the Hebrew word for it, or you’d see the Hebrew word and then try to picture the reference and just try to bypass English as medium for learning or engaging with the language altogether. And since then she’s continued to do a lot of illustrations. We have some other book projects, we’ve done a picture dictionary together and then she’s engaged with me probably on every single lesson plan that I’ve developed.
Zack Johnson: 17:27
If I had Graham. Graham doesn’t have Graham’s in the room with us. Have you seen that? There’s this TED talk about a guy talking about language acquisition through learning words in really loud sort of loud types of ways. You know what I’m talking about. It’s like some guy talking about learning a word for a drink at a bar in Russian. Anything, any recollections. So the idea behind the flashcards is that you’re kind of trying to mimic how maybe a baby might learn there are acquire words and languages as opposed to sort of picking it up through a textbook. Is that sort of the idea behind it?
Jesse Scheumann: 18:09
Yeah, or I guess just trying to bypass English as a medium for engagement with the language whatsoever, and so direct engagement with the language that I don’t need to go. Hebrew word sus means horse, and then I have a picture of a horse and maybe actually, in order to get there, I actually have a mnemonic that sus probably had a lot of horses in it. And so then you think oh, sus had horse to actually like the animal, the horse. Actually, hey, let’s just go animal word. So you have a direct connection between the word and then what the word represents or what the word connotes.
Zack Johnson: 19:04
So I was just in an elevator with an unknown I won’t disclose their identity, but not someone that works here and they were discussing how they wanted to teach here in the past and they just said I can’t fathom doing the communicative method because I all my studies were through what’s the opposite of communicative the grammar translation. Grammar translation would be the correct term. Can you talk a little bit about your view on the pros and cons of those two methods? Just a little bit of a comparison on the resources out there and why the communicative method. You’ve staked a lot on that method yourself and the institution has as well.
Jesse Scheumann: 19:50
Yeah, with communicative and grammar translation, the resources that are out there. There’s a lot more resources for grammar translation than there are for communicative, although I would say a lot of more of the exciting development in teaching Greek and Hebrew have happened on the communicative side of things Illustrated resources et cetera. It’s a young movement but it’s also growing. There are differences of opinion about, I guess, more or less doing a pure communicative approach. The communicative approach is basically hey, we should try to teach Hebrew as a second language, like how a child would have learned Hebrew as his first language. Call the language that you learn as an adult, l2 for language two and L1 is the language you learned as a child. That basically L2 should mirror L1 exactly. With language, you have four faculties of language. You have speaking and hearing, reading and writing. Those come in pairs. You receive through hearing and you produce through speaking. You receive through reading and you produce through writing those four faculties of language With child development you usually have well, a child can. It first goes, the child can hear, comprehend and then begins to speak, then probably begins to read and then begins to write. They’re pretty neat stages of going one to the other. If L2 equals L1, then we should not have any kind of grammar instruction, we should just speak. We don’t have to worry about even necessarily making everything fully and intelligible, just kind of like the fire hydrant of just give students comprehensible input. Well, you speak it, they can understand it. Maybe they can’t remember everything, but you just keep loading on students, then sooner or later they’ll start to figure out the system of the language on their own. That would be maybe a more pure communicative approach. As much as I’m ideologically committed to the communicative method, what I would say is I’m a grammar second approach. I actually still want to give grammar, but I don’t want to lead the classroom with grammar, grammar. I don’t want grammar to be the porthole through which you see the whole language. If you don’t get the abstract grammatical concept, then you don’t get the language. I want to flip it. I want communication and using the language to lead the way of how I teach the language. Then, along the way, I want to build up the system of the language, the grammatical system of the language, and describe that to the students. I want to do that as, and then directly after I’ve been using the language and doing the language. I’m trying to get the best of both approaches.
Zack Johnson: 23:49
Then you asked about pros and cons Right, Just a little bit of a benefit, that’s great. I’ll ask a little bit of a question that I get a lot when I talk about this. I’m going to shoot myself in the foot. What percentage of Christians do you think engage or pursue learning biblical language is, and what percent of Christians should pursue biblical learning, biblical languages?
Jesse Scheumann: 24:20
What percentage do you think like 1%?
Zack Johnson: 24:23
1%? I don’t know.
Jesse Scheumann: 24:25
What percentage should? I don’t know, maybe like 10%.
Zack Johnson: 24:31
Why is it important, if we care about Christianity, to devote time to biblical languages? It’s a weird thing when I describe Sattler, people just look at it. They say Sattler College, bible College, but we have all our students sort of take biblical languages at least a year of Greek and Hebrew, whether you’re computer science, biology, history, major, business and especially the biblical studies majors. What’s the benefit of people studying languages and maybe try to make a case for the pursuit of biblical languages? Maybe if you’re not going to be as academically trained as someone as yourself, you might not use them in a lot of your day-to-day classroom environment?
Jesse Scheumann: 25:22
Sure, yeah, right, I would say yeah, not everyone should be as engaged with it as I am. It’s my vocation, after all. I think my wife can be a model for anyone where she only began after she became a mother. She’s developed as she’s been a mother now a mother of five children. She still reads her Old Testament in Hebrew, a chapter a day. She’s been through the entire Old Testament more than once. I mean, there’s hardly a more busy or scatterbrained person than a mother of multiple children, and yet she’s found great benefit to reading the Old Testament in Hebrew. Once you gain a reading ability with it, well then there’s nothing to keep up other than just well, do you read your Old Testament? You need to read your Old Testament in Hebrew. And so then, what’s the case for learning Greek and Hebrew? It’s well, you’re a Christian. I assume you’re reading your Bible regularly, and then would you rather be reading your Bible in English, or would you rather be reading your Bible in Greek or Hebrew? And well, what are the benefits, then of Greek and Hebrew? There are some misconceptions. Probably the primary one would be if only I knew, let’s keep the Hebrew side of things, since that’s my specialty. If only I knew Hebrew, then all my questions would be answered.
Zack Johnson: 27:27
Like your questions about God himself.
Jesse Scheumann: 27:29
About God or about this text, about what it means, and sadly, that’s not true, but that’s actually where a lot of the benefit comes from Actually reading it in Hebrew. It doesn’t answer all your questions. It actually gives you more questions to ask, and so it’s not at all something for the faint of heart, I mean as far as the basic meaning of something that’s captured perfectly well in basically any standard English translation. So then, that’s why I say 90% of people don’t need to learn Greek or Hebrew because we have such fantastic English translations. But for anyone digging into the meaning of the passage and going deep into it and wanting to teach, then there’s no more fundamental skill for biblical interpretation than engaging with Greek and Hebrew. And so why say that looking at a passage in Hebrew, that it actually gives you more questions to ask is because there’s no translation without some bit of interpretation, and so once you go to the original language, well then some of that interpretational work is not being done for you, so you have to do some of that spade work yourself. That means you have more questions to ask. But then there are some things that just cannot be translated, just because language A doesn’t have all of the ways of communicating that language B does. So you can’t just perfectly match something from language A to language B. And so then there’s those untranslatable things that now you have to wrestle with. I would say the other. So it doesn’t sound like a benefit, but if you’re willing to dig into the Bible, actually having more questions to ask, and you dig into it and you find answers, that’s really rewarding. And then also that’s where you also have a kind of confidence in talking about what the Bible says, because sometimes you see a connection in English A certain word is being used, again you’re connecting two passages, two verses together, something like that, and you’re kind of wondering, like, is this a right connection to make? If you can see that connection in Hebrew, then you have a lot more confidence in that connection and then in your interpretation. I would say another thing as far as so those would be some benefits of learning Greek and Hebrew. As far as why to do it at a college, for a college is this is part of developing critical thinking, and a really basic critical thinking skill is. I mean, we do our thinking through language, we verbalize, we conceptualize and we communicate our thinking through language, and so language is a very critical part of critical thinking, and so learning another language, even just learning another language, is going to give you other tools for critical thinking of just this thing called language that we have as people made in the image of God. But then language that these you know I guess that could pertain to learning any language, but for Christians, all of the importance of learning Greek and Hebrew to be able to read the Bible in its original languages and then, I guess, to be able to produce well-rounded Christians then where they can engage in some degree. You only do one year of language study, so you’re only going to get so far with what Sattler is requiring of everyone. But I think the very fact that Sattler says every graduate of the bachelor’s program needs to have the only college in the US, maybe the world, certainly North America.
Zack Johnson: 31:57
I’m just kidding. How about I’m not?
Jesse Scheumann: 31:58
kidding You’re not kidding, Certainly North America that all students, regardless of major, take a year of Greek, a year of Hebrew and that statement of being well-rounded Christians who can engage with the whole counsel of God in a deeper way. I mean that sends a message, that makes a statement, and an meaningful statement, because it’s actually beneficial to our students.
Zack Johnson: 32:27
Yeah, I heard an analogy once. I was listening to a podcast about Greek and the guy talking said the analogy he uses for the difference between reading in the biblical language versus English is he’s the sports analogy. He said being able to read your Bible in, let’s just say, the New Testament is like attending a live sports game, where you can sort of engage with the whole environment, and then reading it in English is like watching the game through like a black and white TV set, that’s like a 24-inch monitor or something small. I remember that analogy stuck with me because it’s pretty compelling, but you probably wouldn’t go as far as the difference between reading it in the original language versus English, because you can still get a lot out of reading in English and things like that.
Jesse Scheumann: 33:25
Yeah, it’s always tricky to try to answer this question, because I never want to undermine….
Zack Johnson: 33:32
To shame people.
Jesse Scheumann: 33:33
Yeah, and undermine the significance of our English translations, like our faithful, accurate English translations, and even just the legitimacy of a translation, which is significant because with Islam, the Quran is Arabic. It’s always existed as an Arabic Quran, even before it was handed down to Muhammad. It’s always been Arabic, and so you translate it. That’s no longer the Quran, and so there is something unique about the Bible can be translated and it can still be the Word of God. Part of this we know is because, with the translation of the Old Testament into Greek, which was the primary Bible that Jesus and the apostles used, and so they use it, they quote from it. So we know there, we know the legitimacy of a translation. But then I think even we have the key within Christianity of how can something be translated. How can the Word of God, which was given in a language, be translated into another language and it still be the Word of God is I think we have an analogy, at least within the incarnation of Jesus is the Word of God. He’s the Son of God. He translates himself to become man. He’s no less God. He’s still the second person of the Trinity, even as he’s clothed in frail humanity, and so I don’t want to say anything that undermines the significance and legitimacy of English translations or translation in general, because I think it’s actually something really precious to us and unique even within Christianity.
Zack Johnson: 35:37
And then, in the back of my mind, I always think that at least the first Christians didn’t have a trend, didn’t necessarily have the text itself, and so we know that God can move beyond that. I’ll transition here. You’ve written at least one book. Tell me about the books you’ve authored and why you chose to pursue them, and things like that, if you want to yeah.
Jesse Scheumann: 36:07
Well, there’s the one with my.
Zack Johnson: 36:14
THM thesis. It’s the one that got published by Crossroads Crossway.
Jesse Scheumann: 36:20
Yeah, so it was my THM thesis. I did it on a biblical theology of birth pain, which sounds odd, and actually probably sounds more odd if you knew that I was working on it as a single 21-year-old guy. That is odd. There’s a bit of a story, which is the short version is well, I wanted to look at Genesis 3.15 and the offspring of the woman defeating the offspring of the serpent, so tracing this offspring of the woman theme throughout scripture. So I wanted to do that, which is something totally normal looking at this messianic motif throughout scripture. That’s pretty normal, right? Totally normal.
Zack Johnson: 37:04
You’re back to normal now.
Jesse Scheumann: 37:06
So that’s where I began, but then that was a pretty well-worn path. But then, as I was seeing, you know what I think actually scripture not only animates and develops this messianic motif, not simply through the angle of offspring, of the woman, but through the complementary angle of mother, of the offspring, like there’s a motherhood theme throughout scripture that animates and develops hope in the coming messiah. Again, that’s pretty normal, right, that’s more unique, but that’s still very normal. And well, that blew up on me too and became way too big. And so I had to pick a chapter, what was going to be a chapter in my thesis, and make that actually be my thesis. And what I picked was something that I thought could grow into a thesis in its own right, but then also something that I didn’t see much in the literature and that I could actually develop and contribute. And so I chose my chapter on birth pain. And so then that’s what I wrote, and birth pain, from Genesis to Revelation, is actually a fairly significant theme. I mean, there’s something like 64 passages that explicitly mention birth pain, and some prominent ones in the New Testament where you have Paul say my dear Galatians, whom I’m so perplexed about, how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I’m perplexed about you, my dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth, until Christ is formed in you. But then also, we know Jesus uses a metaphor of that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, or labor pains upon a pregnant woman. But then also some perplexing passages In Acts. Peter says that God raised Jesus up from the dead, loosing the birth pains of death. What in the world is that talking about? Well, one associating birth pains of death but then loosing these birth pains, breaking the chains of the birth pains. What’s going on there? So that’s what I wrote on people. When they hear about the thesis, they’re thinking like oh, would you like put electrodes on your tummy and want to hear what birth pain was, or want to feel what birth pain was like, and then write about your experience. It wasn’t that. It was looking at the metaphor of birth pain throughout scripture and seeing what this tells us about the truth, about God, ourselves in the world. So you never did that like the shopping. I never. I still have seen my wife five times, but I do not know experientially.
Zack Johnson: 39:47
That could be a popular episode later. Can you remind the title of the book again?
Jesse Scheumann: 39:54
So yeah, what happened was I wrote my thesis and then afterwards I got in touch with a woman named Gloria Ferman who had authored several books on being a wife and a mother. She’s also had experience being a doula. She wrote an article, a blog post, saying I think it would be a fruitful study to look at childbirth from Genesis to Revelation. I said, hey, maybe it wasn’t exactly what you had in mind, but I actually just finished writing something like this and actually very early on in our conversations I was encouraging her to take my thesis and then write that for a broader audience, because I can’t write a book, a popular book for women, about birth pain and how to think about that biblically, experientially. And so then the book is entitled something like Labor with Hope Gospel Meditations for Birthing Mothers, something like that, but that was published in, I think, something like 2019. So that was a book that I’m listed as a co-author for. But really the story behind that book is I actually didn’t write a single word of the book itself, but she generously listed me as a co-author because she really was taking a lot of my ideas and my scriptural interpretation, repackaging it also sending me the chapters.
Zack Johnson: 41:38
And then I would give feedback. So I would give feedback, no manipulation on, like I’m just kidding.
Jesse Scheumann: 41:46
Right. So I didn’t look at a blank page and then create a page of that book, but all of my pages were more on the back end and then I gave feedback on the book and listed it as a co-author. So that’s kind of the story of that. But then I guess the other book would be the Picture Dictionary that Marissa and I did, and then also the illustrated Jonah book too that we also did with a guy named Christine Hegel.
Zack Johnson: 42:13
And both of those are connected to Hebrew acquisition.
Jesse Scheumann: 42:15
Zack Johnson: 42:17
And then you spent most of your life in Minnesota, right? Can you just tell me a little bit about the setting of Bethlehem College and seminary, like where it is in the city? I want to talk a little bit about Christians and cities. It’s something that I was thinking about a lot last year and then I’ll get into an article that came out here. I’ll ask you about it.
Jesse Scheumann: 42:42
Yeah. So Bethlehem College and Seminary. It’s housed within Bethlehem Baptist Church, which is the church where John Piper was a pastor for 33 years or so, and what really attracted me to the seminary is that it’s a church-based seminary, and I know from my dad’s seminary studies that many times, like seminary and church can actually be really really separate, and then you actually have to work to be involved in church life while you’re doing your seminary studies, and many times seminary studies aren’t really concerned with the life and vitality of the church itself. So it was a a big draw for me that this was a church-based seminary. So then it’s in downtown Minneapolis.
Zack Johnson: 43:35
You can see it right off the highway. I forget what highway runs right by it 35W. It goes right through the heart of Minneapolis, literally right in the heart of Minneapolis, yeah.
Jesse Scheumann: 43:43
It’s just a couple blocks from where the Minnesota Vikings play, so downtown, downtown and Minneapolis.
Zack Johnson: 43:51
And just tell me a little bit. Do you know if the institution or if they chose that strategically to put their seminary in the middle of a city, or is that sort of by coincidence, or they followed the church? Do you know anything about that? I’m going to try to get us being in Boston and things like that.
Jesse Scheumann: 44:10
Yeah, so it’ll be different than Sattler being intentionally in Boston. So it’s very different than that. Because the church had existed there for over 100 years Got it and then Piper had already been the pastor there for over 25 years. They had started. It was called the Bethlehem Institute, where it was a two-year elder preparation track that you could transfer to another seminary and get graduate level credit for and then that kind of naturally organically developed into a seminary. I guess why it’s in Minneapolis? Because the church is in.
Zack Johnson: 44:49
Minneapolis Got it. There is an article that came out in Christianity today and it says New Yorkers watch as their evangelical colleges close and so I’m sort of watching this from from Boston, and the author basically says that now if you want to be a Christian looking in a sort of an urban environment, there aren’t many, many options and Sattler actually made its mention here. Surprisingly, we’re like brand new. But can you just talk a little bit about life as a Christian in an urban, urban environment versus a rural environment and just relate it a little bit to how you think about it? And even like raising your family and having five kids I know you, I think you’re, I know you homeschool and that whole gamut of Christians and cities. You don’t have to talk too much about it.
Jesse Scheumann: 45:45
But yeah, well it’s. I mean there’s a lot to it and my children are going to have a much different experience growing up than I had growing up. I mean I was in rural Minnesota, my family, we had 40 acres of land and that was very enriching, especially for so many children. We got to do so many things outside in the woods, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But my children won’t be able to do, and so I’ve had to come to terms with that. There are some pros and cons. There’s some gifts, there’s some takes, what it means, as well as that, actually being in an urban environment is richer in many ways. I mean, at our church there are a number of Berkeley School of Music students, and so they invite us to their jazz concerts, and so we’ve been able to take the kids and go to free jazz concert of these students that we know.
Zack Johnson: 46:49
Did you invite Graham?
Jesse Scheumann: 46:50
I didn’t. I didn’t invite Graham, but maybe next time I will.
Zack Johnson: 46:55
I’m going to get him to say something eventually in this whole new episode.
Jesse Scheumann: 46:59
Or make him Graham famous. Yeah, yeah, and so it’s things like that that being in an urban environment is richer. Also, I mean we naturally engage with our neighbors a whole lot more. I mean, from our house where we live we counted we can see five different swimming pools and you know how many of our neighbors have swimming pools. But like we’re looking down into our neighbor’s yards and we’re seeing a lot of yards and of the yards, five of them have swimming pools. But like you’re just rubbing shoulders with that many more people being in urban environment.
Zack Johnson: 47:45
Do you commute to? Do you commute here?
Jesse Scheumann: 47:49
I have commuted using public transit and then now I’m mainly using my scooter. So I do commute. Yeah, wait, you just scooter here. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s just hop on the scooter and then park it here. So, yeah, it can do the distance, just six miles, it doesn’t take about half an hour.
Zack Johnson: 48:06
How long does it take you to scooter? Six months, so half an hour.
Jesse Scheumann: 48:08
Grandma, what do I?
Zack Johnson: 48:09
ask about this. I don’t know what follow up question to ask after I find out someone scooters six miles. All right well let’s get it.
Jesse Scheumann: 48:18
How’s my back, How’s your back? It’s okay. Is that dangerous? No, I mean it’s partly wearing the backpack. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I wear a helmet with lights and then I actually wear one of those bright orange vest, reflective vest. So basically I’m telling people I know I’m riding a scooter and you might think I wanna die, but actually I don’t wanna die. So that’s the reason for it.
Zack Johnson: 48:45
Can we get someone to capture a picture of Dr Schreeman on the way to work sometime?
Jesse Scheumann: 48:50
Oh man, I’m looking, we can post it somewhere. I looked dumb, but I also don’t wanna die, got it.
Zack Johnson: 48:59
And then tell me just what classes do you teach, like what’s your bread and butter on, what you teach and what you like to educate on.
Jesse Scheumann: 49:09
So typically any semester I’m teaching two Hebrew courses. So the sequence of classes is a four course Hebrew sequence. So in the fall I’m teaching first semester Hebrew, third semester Hebrew and then this spring second semester and fourth semester with a three course typical load. Then that leaves one course where it’s kind of on a two year rotating basis. So I’ve taught a course on Islam many times about four times now and then this semester I’m teaching a course, new Testament Use of Old. So looking at those cases where Jesus and the Apostles quote the Old Testament and interpret it and just like look at what’s going on, comparing Greek and Hebrew, looking at New Testament context, old Testament context, talking about the progress of Revelation, et cetera. Then I’ve taught book study on Isaiah. Next semester I’m looking to teach a book study on Psalms. I’m teaching an advanced Hebrew directed study. This semester I’ve taught a course on Judaism and then I’ve co-taught like apologetics, fundamental texts, thinking of other courses that I’ve taught, the Greek exegesis course before. Also next semester I’m looking to teach a course on topics in biblical theology. So again looking at the Bible as more one book with 66 chapters. So I’m looking to see how it all relates and co-hears in Christ.
Zack Johnson: 50:42
And you also preach. Where do you preach? Down the street here at Tremont, right? Yeah, yeah, I’d be like how often do you preach? I preach every five weeks, Every five weeks.
Jesse Scheumann: 50:54
Yeah, which is a nice rhythm for me.
Zack Johnson: 51:00
I enjoy it, got it. And then, lastly, or how long do we go? As long as we want.
Jesse Scheumann: 51:10
We’re about an hour in.
Zack Johnson: 51:12
If we wanna talk about maybe we’ll follow up on more topics here but if people wanna find out a little bit more about your work and your books, your Hebrew content, where can they sort of find that? I guess they could Google me, they could Google you. Will they find you? Picturehebrewcom.
Jesse Scheumann: 51:33
No, it’s so. I don’t think the domain for picturehebrewcom is active anymore, because I ended up taking all of my resources over to glossahousecom Glossahouse, so glossahouse G-L-O-S-S-A.
Zack Johnson: 51:48
That’s a great word.
Jesse Scheumann: 51:49
Yeah, yeah, for language language house, and so all of my or I think most of my resources are published through them. I guess you could Google me Jesse Scheumann, s-e-h-e-u-m-a, and then.
Zack Johnson: 52:05
And then I’m gonna ask a couple questions. You’ve shared a couple pearls with the student body about. Pearls are where we sort of try to torture the wisdom out of everyone on campus and share it with the student body.
Jesse Scheumann: 52:20
Not torture, that’s a bad word that’s a good, so it’s actually a much more pleasant experience.
Zack Johnson: 52:24
It’s a very pleasant experience where you have the opportunity to share your life lessons with sort of our audience. If you could leave a pearl for anybody listening, so it could be a new one or one that you said before.
Jesse Scheumann: 52:40
I feel like the one that you want me to share is the phrase of cutting the English on Bill Cook.
Zack Johnson: 52:45
Well, you have that one and you have, like, the three Ds of learning. You have a lot of good ones. Okay, yep, but you can share two and then the audience can choose which one they like better.
Jesse Scheumann: 52:55
Okay, okay, well, keeping that language related, I’ve said that an ambitious goal is to seek to cut the English on Bill Cook’s chord to the Bible. Basically it’s well, if you develop a reading fluency in Greek and Hebrew, you’re reading your Bible. You don’t need to access it through English to get the nourishment from God’s word. But you can do it through Greek and Hebrew. And while that takes a lot of effort on the front end, it’s very much kind of like an airplane getting a lift off, take off. And so I mean how much energy is an airplane expending just to get off the ground? But once it’s off the ground and once it’s at cruising altitude, I mean then how much energy is it expending? A lot less. So, similarly, for any kind of normal person it’s probably gonna take two full years of language study. But if you can do two years of language study, I’ve been able to prove many times over with my Hebrew students that I can get them up to cruising altitude at certainly take off in two years to be able to continue to engage the Old Testament side of things through Hebrew. So that would be the cutting the English umbilical cord. But then I’ve thought a lot about how to glorify God as a student. And so then, that’s where the three D’s have come in. What are you? What are the three D’s? The three D’s are diligence, dependence and delight. So diligence is God’s made us willing, responsible creatures. And our diligence how can we ask God to bless something if we’re not being diligent, if we’re shirking our responsibilities? So diligence is key. But then also dependence, because we know that unless God watches over the city, the watchman keeps watching vein, that it is in vein that you go to bed late, rise early eating the bread of anxious toil because he gives to his beloved sleep. So there is a dependence all along. And then I’ve and I think it’s a paradox, but the Christian life is working vehemently from a state of rest. In Christ we have our rest, so we’re not seeking to attain something that we don’t already have, but then the so it’s from a state of rest. But the paradox is that I think God is pleased in our vehement work. So working vehemently from a state of rest, that’s putting diligence and dependence together. But I think delight is the third ingredient, that God has prepared these good works in advance for us and there for us to do, and we glorify God through our through, our delight that we’re not, we’re not moaning, we’re not complaining, we’re not just doing it strictly from well, I should do this but that God would actually give us a delight in it and that we would show that delight in what we get to do. So that’s the diligence, dependence and delight, the three Ds of glorifying God. As a student, but certainly I mean, that’s a framework for anything that you do, any vocation that you’re doing.
Zack Johnson: 56:41
Great Well, jesse, dr Scheumann, brother, jesse, co-laborer he gave me a nickname, but I’m not gonna call it. Thanks for the conversation, and we’re gonna have this man back on sometime, aren’t we? Absolutely yes, it got him.
Jesse Scheumann: 56:57
Yeah, got him.
Zack Johnson: 56:57
There is another person in the room. This episode today is brought to you by ourselves, sattler College, and if you want to know more, go to Sattleredu. It’s September 28th. I don’t know when we’re gonna post this, but there’s an open house October 13th, where, if you’re interested in the campus and you want to meet Dr Scheumann in person, that would be a great time to come and visit us. Yeah, great time, october 13th, 14th. Where do you find Sattleredu? Sash events is where you can find that, and if you have more questions for me, best way to reach me is president at Sattleredu. We can write in and anything else I need to announce.
Jesse Scheumann: 57:37
Thanks, that’s right, thank you.