Seven years ago I first entered the wonderful world of studying the biblical languages. I was a sophomore at the University of Mobile. It wasn’t long thereafter that I fell in love with koine Greek. By the time I graduated, I had 12 hours of Greek exegesis classes, not counting the ones I sat in on just to soak it all in. However, over the course of four years in student ministry, my passion for the languages was overcome with the responsibilities of being a student minister (Greek is not exactly in the “Youth Ministry Handbook”). I did, however, try to incorporate it in my devotional studies and with the hopes that I could teach it on a personal level to a student or two along the way.
I say all that to say that this semester has been my first semester back in the pursuit of rigorous study of that wonderful language. When looking at my schedule, my good friend K.J. Pugh and I wrestled with which professor to get. Because I work at UPS, I couldn’t take the morning classes, which left me with a class which had “TBA” where the professor’s name was supposed to be. We decided to take the chance and go for it. I admit, my reticence was palatable, and because I love the Greek language so much, my expectations could not be lowered. It was soon thereafter that it was announced who our professor was to be. His name is Jason Meyer.
It was the morning of the first day of Greek, and Dan and I hopped on the UPS tram to go to our cars. Seated between us was a hooded man full concentrated on the book he was reading. Upon a closer glance, I noticed it was my Greek textbook. Startled, I said out loud, “Biblical Greek, huh?” Well, he didn’t hear me, so I proceeded to talk to Dan. I had to try again. A little louder this time I said, “So are you learning biblical Greek?” His face appeared from beneath the hood and meekly replied, “Actually, I am teaching it this semester.” To which I replied, “Are you serious? At Southern?” He said, “That’s correct.” No sooner as he uttered those words I had looked at his UPS badge to see that he was none other than Jason Meyer! I replied, “You are my professor! How crazy is that!” I got in my car bewildered by God’s providence that the day I began Greek I would find my professor hooded and sitting next to me in a UPS tram – at 4:30 in the morning.
Several weeks have passed since that day, and my appreciation for Jason has grown increasingly every time I am around him. I can remember that it was not but a couple of weeks ago where we sat down after class and just shared our hearts with one another which cumulated in him praying over me. Surpassing eloquent lectures and sermons was that memorable moment when he interceded for me. I was humbled to tears.
Not only is Jason a great Greek professor, he is a great man of God whom I consider to be “a man like us” (James 5:17). He works 3rd shift, has been working on the completion of his doctoral thesis (and expecting to graduate in May), has a wife and two beautiful girls, and also assists as a grader for Dr. Schreiner. I say Jason has “contextualized” scholarship for me because he has brought the life of a minister, father, scholar, and coworker home to me. I must admit: there are many professors who are so transcendent in their scholarship and acumen that between me and them are so many initials and degrees that I cannot utter intelligible statements in their presence. Yet with Jason, well he is just Jason, and that’s why I like him so much. I see just as much as a fellow UPSer as a mighty man of God’s Word. I see him laboring for lost souls as much as he labors in Greek syntax. Not may people can say their Greek seminary professor works at UPS along with other students struggling to honor God with their lives, and I happen to think that is quality which cannot be measured on a certificate or resume. He is real, approachable, genteel, and amicable. And he is my friend.
I had been desiring to write about Jason for some time but have waited to do so. I found today fitting because it was just yesterday that he turned in his final edition of his thesis which deals with Paul’s understanding of the old and new covenants. I am sure there is more in there than I could ever get my mind around, but Jason has no problem of bringing it home to me as it he did on that tram at four in the morning. So I want to say a hearty congratulations to Jason for the completion of his dissertation and for worshipping our Lord with excellency in study and skillfulness in living. This indeed is a rarity today, and I for one want to acknowledge that. No, he does not have a PhD (yet), but in my eyes that is somewhat inconsequential. At this moment, several schools are considering adding Jason to their faculty, and if any of you happen to read this, know that you are getting more than a scholar – you are getting a true man of God.
Congratulations Jason! And may there be many who follow in such a train.
See you on the tram . . .