One year of Biblical Foundations & Creation Apologetics
John Mark Norris
Bible school wasn’t really part of my plan. I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2019, and I had been employed as a Process Engineer for over a year. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to grow, or that I believed my knowledge of the Scriptures to be adequate; rather, I didn’t understand the benefits of studying the Bible in a “structured environment.” Thankfully, through a series of unique circumstances (which I believe were divinely orchestrated), I was more than ready to consider Jackson Hole Bible College when I learned of the opportunity through some longtime friends during the summer of 2020.
My experience at this college has been nothing short of phenomenal. First and foremost, JHBC upholds the Bible as God’s inspired, authoritative, inerrant revelation to man and prescribes a literal, grammatical, historical, contextual approach as the only acceptable hermeneutic. “Sola Scriptura,” the rallying cry of the Reformers, adequately captures the college’s underpinning philosophy. The layout of the classes is brilliantly sequential, and the accelerated/condensed course structure allows students to focus on one key topic at a time. Furthermore, the field trips to Yellowstone, The Creation Museum, etc. are incredibly fun and educational. The “structured environment” (which I previously undervalued) has proved to be immensely helpful in stimulating personal discipline and spiritual growth. Additionally, the broad range of topics has forced me to entertain ideas I had not previously considered or would not have studied on my own. JHBC encourages learning as a means rather than an end; spiritual growth and practical application are emphasized rather than academia itself. That being said, hard work and excellence are still expected and encouraged.
My thoughts pertaining to JHBC would be incomplete without mentioning the exemplary service of the staff members. They go above and beyond all reasonable expectations to keep things running smoothly and make the year memorable for students. God has used my time at JHBC to draw me closer to Himself and redirect my future. I am so grateful for this college and pray that it will remain a stronghold of uncompromising truth in a dark and confusing world.
Wow! What a blessing Jackson Hole Bible College has been for me. I am saddened to see how fast the months have flown by. JHBC is such a unique college. Its small size makes it an extremely personal experience, and with only twenty-four students, it is possible to become very close with all of my fellow students. The curriculum is life-changing. Even though I grew up in a Christian home with a fairly good grasp of the Scriptures, I have learned so much about the Bible (especially with regard to the Old Testament). Everything that is taught is backed up by Scripture passages; and Pastor Don has instilled in us the ability to discern between Satan’s counterfeits and God’s original masterpiece. Attending JHBC was my first time leaving the nest, and I was expecting a tsunami of homesickness, but the environment on campus is inviting and homey. With little kids running around, a campus dog, and staff that treat you with incredible kindness, I can honestly say that this unique college experience has caused me to dread graduation in May.
One of the things that has impacted me on a daily basis is being able to watch the sacrificial examples of the staff. The Dean of Students and his wife (who is the administrator) are some of the kindest people in the world. Uncle Scott has a full-time job as a shooting instructor and yet he somehow finds the time to keep the students in line. He constantly encourages us that our individual actions will impact the rest of the students (“if one member suffers, all suffer together…”). His wife, Holly spends her days doing paperwork, administration, scheduling, and numerous other odd jobs. Annie and Jared Kuhns are another dynamic couple. Jared is constantly fixing appliances and frozen pipes on campus and he often is awake by 2 AM plowing snow for the town. His wife Annie wears many hats as well. She is the head cook (sometimes spending up to 14 hours in the kitchen to prepare scrumptious meals). If that didn’t absorb most of her time, she is the mother of five wonderful children, and not to mention that she somehow finds the time to do promotional work and produce merchandise for the college.
My time here at Jackson Hole Bible College has been a life-changing experience. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to attend this incredible college where the professors and staff live exemplary lives and teach Biblical principles that are applicable to everyday life decisions. I would highly recommend this college to any young believer that desires to become extremely familiar with the Word of God.
JHBC Class of 2018-2019 Fort Worth, Texas
In 2018 the Lord opened the door for me to attend Jackson Hole Bible College. I am so thankful He did. Before I attended JHBC, I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I did know I was more than likely going to end up in a secular organization. I wanted to make sure I knew God’s Word and to grow in my love for Christ. What better way to learn theology and deepen my love for Christ than attending Bible college? I can definitely say that the Lord used JHBC to teach me about Himself and deepen my love for Christ. JHBC did so much more than that.
I made some of the best friends in the world; however, they were not just social friends but friends who will encourage, and at many times, confront me when I have sinned. The staff also made a huge impact on my life. They kept me accountable (and everyone needs accountability). As a young man, I definitely needed that. They were also amazing role models for me. They demonstrated how to love the Lord, work hard, and serve others. The JHBC staff loved spending time with us and talking with us about anything. Although I’ve only known them for a year or two, they have become some of my closest friends.
The real question is, how did the school prepare me for standing up for my faith amid a fallen world? Well after JHBC, I decided to join the United States Coast Guard. At first, it didn’t look like I was going to qualify but the Lord opened the door and the next thing I knew, I was on the bus headed to boot camp in Cape May, NJ. Boot camp was the hardest thing I have ever done.
I was so thankful for my time at JHBC studying God’s Word and developing my close relationship with Christ. We memorized a lot of Scripture and this became gold to me in boot camp. If I had not gone to JHBC, I think I very easily could have collapsed under the weight of the stress and the wickedness of many people around me. By the grace of God, He gave me the strength to persevere and remember who God is and what he has done for me. No matter where I am, I know a God who is sovereign, gracious, omnipotent, omnipresent, and He will never let go of one of His children.
The world may make it really difficult for us to obey God, but when you stand firm on God’s promises and trust in His name, it gives you the bravery and determination you need to be faithful in the midst of a wicked generation. I am so thankful for JHBC because they helped me grow personally and spiritually!
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” -Jude 1:24-25
JHBC Class of 2017-2018 Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Where to begin? It’s hard not to write about every great thing, both big and small, about this college.
My year spent at Jackson Hole Bible College was definitely more than I was expecting. I was raised in a Christian home (praise the Lord), and I went into this college thinking I would already know much of the material we would be going over. I was incredibly wrong and completely humbled — and I’m so glad I was!
I came away from JHBC with even further knowledge and a truer understanding of the world around me. My eyes were opened more to God’s original plan for mankind, Satan’s perversion of literally anything good God made, and a new realization of how great the role of ambassador is for each of us on this temporary earth (2 Corinthians 5:20-21). Not to mention all my classmates from around the country who became lifelong friends and family, the love of the staff who also became family, and the beautifully breathtaking Tetons that have become a second home.
In a world that grows worse day by day, I knew I wanted to attend this college, not as a means of credits before more schooling, but to immerse myself in learning that I knew I would be able to share with those around me: my coworkers, friends, family and, Lord willing, someday my own children. The professors are fantastic. Dr. Benware’s classes challenged me and taught me even more of the Old and New Testaments; I find I have more joy in reading the Old Testament now because he helped show us the actual story line and how everything falls into place, ultimately pointing to Christ. And Pastor Don’s classes on Two Kingdoms were absolutely mind blowing.
I am immensely thankful for this college and these people. As Pastor Don always says, “Everything comes back to God.” This has, with no doubt, been evident as I look to the world around me. Every single thing I learned has pointed me back to the One Person we can trust and rely on, and this brings so much joy! Soli Deo Gloria
JHBC Class of 2015-2016 Harlem, Montana
The year I came to Jackson Hole Bible College was truly life changing for me. I hadn’t really been sure whether I wanted to come of not beforehand, but attending the school was definitely one of the best decisions I could have made. I’m so glad for the way God worked in my life and other’s in the process of my coming here.
The information I have learned here has been invaluable to me and has changed my thinking on certain issues and certainly strengthened my reasons for believing the complete Bible. I can now rest with confidence that the Bible is completely sufficient for all of today’s current issues and is not an outdated book by any means. For example, what the Bible says about Creationism, marriage, sin etc; these issues were explained to me in a very clear way and now I believe I can clearly articulate the way the Bible explains them. Also, seeing the Biblical timeline explained was very beneficial to me. From Creation to the flood, to Christ and the cross, and to where the church is today gave me an understanding of why we are where we are and also clearly shows that God has been at work throughout all the past ages and is still at work today.
The lifelong friends that I made here have been so great and truly encouraging to me. Spending 9 months together with a small group of people my age allowed me to truly get to know them and really learn things together with them. They were all an encouragement to me and I’m very grateful to have known all my fellow classmates.
The staff here were a great example to me of hard work and steadfastness in what God has called them to do. The maturity the have shown is not common in our world today. I’m very grateful for the RAs I had here. Them coming alongside me when I needed help or encouragement helped me grow in my faith.
The professors I had here were very knowledgeable and wise men. Sitting in class under Dr. Paul Benware, Pastor Don, Eric Hovind, and many more has truly been eye opening and a great time of learning. I will never forget what I learned here and how I can apply it to my everyday life. I’m so grateful for everything God has done in my life here and I hope that many others can have the opportunity to have the same experience and time of learning that I have had.
JHBC Class of 2011-2012 Douglas, Wyoming
The “Two Kingdoms” class was very eye-opening and awakening. Getting to know all of the students, staff and professors was a tremendous blessing and learning experience. I have learned much about how to love my neighbors – how to think about them (esteem them), treat them, talk to them, etc.
Eric Hovind’s class was great; I have gained much courage in witnessing to people, Praise God! Making friends who I will appreciate and enjoy forever is priceless! The LORD has blessed me with so many friends this year. The LORD has taught me valuable lessons about trusting Him, His Word, and His faithfulness. Being away from home and family was a huge and new challenge for me. I couldn’t have been in a better atmosphere, however, for riding out the storm and learning to lean on the LORD. Everyone here was so helpful and encouraging to me. I am now confident that I can go wherever the LORD calls me, and do whatever He tells me, in His strength.
It was really great to meet Mr. Ham, an opportunity of a lifetime. I gained much from His presentations.
It has been a real blessing to learn from Pastor Don, he has taught me a boat-load of valuable information. Thank you.
I gained much from the round-table discussions; I really appreciate Mr. Scott’s style and handling of the situations.
Kenton, Josh, Josh and Derrick have been great examples to me of godly men, I really appreciate their faithful service to us students.
This year has definitely been a great time in my life; I have benefited spiritually very much. Thank-you all!
JHBC Class of 2011-2012 Sherwood, Arkansas
It is very hard to think of my favorite thing I learned this year so I will just use bullet points to represent some of my favorites:
The whole time-line of God’s story – I will never look at the Bible the same way again with the timeline I now have of Scripture.
The authority of Scripture – I had always believed that all of the Bible was true but I had never really lived it out like I know how to now. I had never articulated the belief in my head.
Creationism – Before attending JHBC I knew creation was true but at the same time I thought it was crazy due to lack of evidence. Now I see evolution for what it is and see creation as the very logical conclusion of what the Bible says considering the physical evidence. I know that evolution is a religion of our time.
In one of the Sunday School sessions, Pastor Don spoke on Galatians 5. I had never thought about walking in the Spirit. I use that truth daily.
Learning about postmodernism in Apologetics class really opened my eyes. I realized that although I could not previously define postmodernism, it was an influence in my own life.
This whole year at JHBC has been a great experience that has changed my life. I hope to take the knowledge that I have learned here and share it with others for the rest of my life. Thank you so much for everything.