1. Study Matthew 4:25. What do you know about the geographical
areas mentioned in this passage?
Taken from "Baker's Concise Bible Atlas" by J. Carl Laney.
Used by permission of
Galilee is the name applied to the northern district of Israel that was surrounded
on three sides by foreign nations. The term literally means "circle" or "district," the fuller expression of
which is "district of the Gentiles (Isa. 9:1)." According
to Josephus' description of Galilee, the territory was divided into upper and lower regions.
(1) Upper Galilee, being mountainous and isolated, does not enter much into
biblical history. Lower Galilee served as the location for most of Christ's ministry as recorded in the
synoptic gospels. The region is divided into a series of east-west valleys and basins. Galilee's fertility is
highly praised by Josephus, who states that no part of the land was left uncultivated.
J. Carl Laney's personal note: I was ten years old when I first began to
sense my own need for personal salvation. On Easter morning in 1958 at the First Baptist Church of Eugene I
felt inclined to respond to the invitation given by Dr. Vance Webster. But I hesitated. Later that day I
explained my spiritual concern to my mother. She listened and made an appointment for me to see the pastor.
I don't recall my meeting with Dr. Webster, but as a result of our time together; a date was set for my
baptism. I assume that I came to trust Christ personally at that time. I was baptized on May 25, 1958 at the
First Baptist Church of Eugene.
I continued as a nominal Christian through my junior high years. During high school I began dating a Catholic
girl. She was very devout in her faith--much more than I at the time. During a summer I spent in Kalispell,
Montana working in a plywood plant I studied Catholicism and seriously contemplated joining the Catholic Church.
The Lord was speaking to me during that time and driving me along in my search for a deeper, more personal faith.
During my first year in college I turned my back on God and pursued the ways of the world. I joined a
fraternity and enjoyed party life for half my freshman year. But I soon realized how empty this was. I longed
for something with more meaning.
It was during my first year at the U. of O. that I met Bill Hansell, a fraternity brother, who learned that
I was a Christian and challenged me to help him have a ministry in the Sigma Chi House. I was not interested
and avoided Bill. But then he invited me to attend a Campus Crusade for Christ conference at Arrowhead Springs.
I went looking for a fun spring break and found instead a group of sharp, committed Christians who were
enjoying serving the Lord. After hearing a message by Hal Lindsey on the power of God from Exodus 14, I walked
out into the starry night and recommitted my life to the Lord.
I went back to the U. of O. hoping to make a tremendous impact on the fraternity. But I struggled with my
old ways and walked a rocky road for about six months. Then through the influence of other Christians and greater
involvement with Campus Crusade, I began to stabilize spiritually and became active in the Christian leadership
on the U. of O. campus. I spent two summers at Arrowhead Springs, then the headquarters of Campus Crusade for
Christ in California. The first summer I worked on summer staff and the next summer I participated in the
Institute of Biblical Studies. These experiences nurtured me spiritually and grounded me in my Christian life.
During my senior year at the U. of O, I sensed God's leading to full time Christian service. I enjoyed my
teaching ministry in high school Sunday school and served as an intern at the First Baptist Church. I wanted to
spend my life in this kind of work.
After visiting a friend and attending classes at Western Seminary, I began studies there in the fall of 1970.
I completed my M.Div. in 1973 and went on for Th.M. work in 1974. With the blessing of my family and support
of my wife, I went on for doctoral studies and spent three wonderful years at Dallas Theological Seminary
After completing my studies at Dallas Seminary, I was invited to join the faculty at Western Seminary in
Portland, Oregon where I had done my undergraduate work. It has been my privilege to teach the Bible at Western
Seminary for the last 23 years. In addition to my teaching, I have been privileged to serve as interim pastor
in a half dozen different churches. I have enjoyed numerous opportunities of overseas ministry in such places
as Guam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. God has also blessed my writing
ministry. I have been privileged to write 16 Christian books including commentaries, handbooks, and a theology
of God and studies of such contemporary issues as divorce and remarriage and church discipline.
My goal in life is to know God and make Him known through the careful study and exposition of His Word. Ezra
serves as my model. The Bible records that "Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to practice
it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel" (Ezra 7:10). In terms of my spiritual life, my goal is
to keep growing and learning. Peter said, "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ"
(2 Pet. 3:18). So I keep studying and spending time with God.
I am not where I want to be next year, but I am not where I was a year ago. Spiritually, I am in a long distance
race with my eyes on the finish line where Christ awaits me. The writer of Hebrews said, "Let us run with endurance
the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of faith"
(Heb. 12:1-2). I want to run well and finish strong to the
glory of God.
Dr. J. Carl Laney grew up in Eugene, Oregon where he attended First Baptist
Church. He graduated from the University of Oregon and then attended Western Seminary in Portland. After completing
a doctoral program in Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary, Carl returned to Western as a teacher of
Biblical Literature. In addition to teaching at Western Seminary, Carl has served as interim pastor in many
different churches. He has also taught overseas in the Philippines and the Netherlands. Carl is the author of
16 books which are readily available at your Christian bookstore. His most recent works include "Answers to Tough
Questions from Every Book of the Bible," "Messiah's Coming Temple," and "God: Who He is, What He Does, and How
to Know Him Better." Carl and his wife, Nancy, are the parents of four children.