Karen H. Jobes, Ph.D.
Professor • Writer • Bible Translator

Karen's Testmony

During the summer between my junior and senior years of college —I’ll let you guess how many years ago that was— friends gave me two things to read:  Hal Lindsey’s Late, Great Planet Earth and a tract of a new Bible translation of John’s gospel, which was later named the New International Version (NIV).  Lindsey put the fear of God in me, and John’s gospel reminded me that Jesus loves me.  I put my trust in Jesus Christ, and have been walking in the faith for many years now.

After several years in a local church, I was invited to teach adult Christian ed classes, which I enjoyed very much.  But teaching made me realize how very little I knew about Scripture, especially its historical background and how to read an ancient text.  In 1987 I took a week off from my job in computer science to attend the Congress on Biblical Exposition in Anaheim, Ca, where I heard Dr. Roberta Hestenes give her testimony.  She was the first woman I had heard of who had a ministry in her own right.  As I result of that experience I pledged myself to faithful exposition of the Bible in whatever setting was open to me.

A desire to go to seminary began to grow to my heart, but I already had a good career and I didn't know of any other women who had been to seminary.  After two years of processing and praying, I quit my job and enrolled in Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS) in Philadelphia.  There I found only a few other female students at that time. 

At WTS the faculty encouraged and affirmed my gifts, and after finishing an MA in Biblical Studies, I continued on there to earn a PhD in Biblical Hermeneutics.  My first year after graduation was spent in adjunct teaching, which I had been doing as I worked on my dissertation.  And then an opportunity opened to take a one-year visiting professorship at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Ca teaching New Testament.  After nine years there I was offered the Gerald F. Hawthorne Chair of New Testament Greek and Exegesis at Wheaton College and Graduate School, a position I’ve currently held for almost a decade. 

Through all life’s ups and downs in these past decades, I’ve learned that we don’t need to see the end of the story from the beginning or middle.  We’re called to be faithful and obedient to the Lord at each step, and he will guide us into our future.