Dear friends, alumni and colleagues,

“This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it”. Psa. 118:24.


Finally, we here at JCBT are in a position to share the news that all the national students of 2020 have reached home. The last 5 had to wait for flights home for one whole month after graduation while JCBT hosted them (June 30 – Aug. 3). Two expats who remain will be leaving as soon as they can – this week to Spain and Australia.


The year 2020 was a year of great blessing in all aspects. The challenges that Corona forced on us – like zoom lectures and limited travel as well as the challenge of needed household chores to be done by the students (in the sudden absence of all volunteers) – all worked together to heighten the thankfulness for managing to overcome the challenges. In fact, the extra weeks in July allowed the students to have an extra tour south to visit King Solomon’s copper mines, the desert tabernacle full scale model and the Red Sea with its amazing sea creatures – indeed by the grace of God! Thank you for your prayers which were evident in this haven of peace at the log home all throughout the semester.

The picture of our last Shabbat eve, with the six remaining students, reflects this well.


It is a special joy and honor to tell you in detail about a new direction that the JCBT is taking in 2021. The course is specially designed for Consultants and CITs (consultants-in-training). They carry the main responsibility for quality translations for the nations by overseeing the ongoing translation work into the mother tongues. There is a great lack of consultants in general. There are even fewer among the too few consultants who have had the opportunity to learn well both the Hebrew text and its physical and cultural context in the land.

There are many OT projects that have been completed, but cannot be printed until checked by a qualified consultant!


An unusual set of circumstances began last Fall at an international conference of Bible translators (BT 2019) in Dallas, TX. It all started at a lunch table with a question asked by Mirja to Reinier de Blois: “Would you be willing to teach the yet open slot for the required course on Biblical Hebrew texts at JCBT in the Spring of 2020?” He answered: “Can I come together with my wife?” Mirja responded: “Yes, we can provide room and board and use of an old car”. So, after further conversations, it happened that Dr. de Blois and his wife landed in Israel on Feb. 28, 2020 and settled in. The next week he started his fascinating course in the Semantics of Biblical Hebrew. This research investigates the deeper meaning of central Biblical concepts such as “holiness”, “atonement”, “chesed” and other key terms. He is in the best position for this teaching because he is the director of the international project of creating a first-time-ever Semantic Domain Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew.

During the many opportunities for conversation at JCBT, we shared the hope that the JCBT will continue to be sensitive to serve in fulfilling the greatest needs in the Bible translation world. It was deeply encouraging to sense the common spirit which we felt. We sensed the leading of the Lord in this development. It was an answer to prayers.


We have been praying for some years for people who have deep love and respect and knowledge of the Hebrew text as conveying God’s message – together with the experienced know-how to implement this knowledge in Bible translation projects. It was an answer to prayer that we could welcome the involvement of the experienced consultant, Reinier de Blois, with his deep knowledge of Hebrew and a similar vision of using Hebrew as the basis for training consultants. Reinier is now the new Director of the NIDA Institute. The 2021 study program was planned in cooperation with him.

The team of lecturers for 2021 now includes Dr. Reinier de Blois and Dr. Lenart de Regt as well as Dr. Ernst Wendland and Dr. Lynell Zogbo.
Their common purpose is to offer a study program that benefits and empowers OT consultants, Consultants-In-Training and project leaders.

We are deeply grateful for this new development which has come into being and releases us from 24 years of academic responsibility for the long-term study programs. The general framework of JCBT will be kept for maintaining the vision of being a Home for Bible Translators as well as continuing to host the two week Land of Bible courses, headed by Brian Kvasnica, and the Special Programs – such as the one-month courses like the presently active August NT2OT course (Hebrew for NT consultants, Seed Company, Bob Carter) and the One Book at a Time course (this November, Proverbs by Murray Salisbury). See the website for details.
NOTE: all this obviously depends on God’s leading and abundant grace!


Corona has impacted our overall situation in terms of finances and travel restrictions but more specifically a new development: the study program of 2021 can be taken EITHER by 5-month residence in Israel OR by 3 months by zoom followed by the last 2 months being in residence in order to participate in the irreplaceable course of the Land of the Bible on location and the intensive course in Hebrew Poetry, which is best taken in a setting which allows full concentration. Obviously the five-month course on location is the best option for any candidate who can do so in terms of time, as has been stated by scores and scores of our gratified alumni (numbering by now already 180 translators from 45 countries).

CORONA – new REDUCED PRICES to enable attendance

The policy of JCBT has always been to make sure that a qualified mother tongue translator has not ever been refused to come if, after making the effort to pass the entrance requirements, is not able to secure the needed finances. In light of this policy and in the hope of the great benefits of residential study in the land, JCBT is cutting the original program cost this Corona year by 40% and reducing the cost to the zoom students by 20%, so the cost for either one of the programs will be $5,750 – this includes the $1000 for the field trip expenses (entrance fees to museums, national parks, hotels plus guides, buses and drivers, etc.). (In previous years the full cost for residents was $9,500, and the plan for a Zoom student was to be $7,040).
We are trusting the Lord to bless the work with supporters who catch the vision and will supply the needed funds for Spring Semester 2021.

How many languages lack the complete Bible?

Only 692 languages, out of 7,350 languages, have the entire Bible, both OT and NT (UBS source)! There are 1547 languages with NT only (UBS source), but with NO translation of the Hebrew Bible. That means, no creation story, no story of the nation of Israel from Abraham through the Patriarchs to Moses. No getting of the Torah in Sinai. No David nor any of the Prophets – and No Psalms!

JCBT aims to make a difference and you can be a part of it.


Let us now all pray to find the applicants who could most benefit from the program –
1) whether by the best option of attendance in person for the entire time of 5 months, or
2) by the 3 month option by zoom followed with the required attendance here in Israel for the Land of Bible course in May and the Poetry Course in June.


To those participating by zoom:

Serving with you,
Halvor and Mirja Ronning and JCBT staff

CLICK HERE for how to contribute

CLICK HERE to view the Full 2021 Program

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