Student Profile: James Joyner, Master of Arts (Theological Studies)
December 5, 2022
Always More To Learn
In the summer of 2021, James Joyner had just graduated from Rutgers University-Newark and was ready to embark on his English teaching career. At that same time, he was taking ministerial classes at church. With a passion for Christian education, Joyner wanted to know more, to dig deeper into God’s Word. His pastor recommended seminary, specifically NBTS. Thus began his seminary journey in the Fall 2021 semester, once again a student while also teaching 7th and 8th grade English at Hillside Innovation Academy.
That fall he took Introduction to Old Testament with his new advisor, Dr. Beth Tanner. Joyner loves the Old Testament, especially the saga of God’s people traveling from Egypt to the Promised Land. According to Joyner, the people of Israel were a lot like us, caught in a cycle of “praying for a blessing, doing something crazy, and asking for forgiveness.” Joyner believes that the Bible describes human nature pretty accurately. But he believes that as redeemed people, we are called to rise above standard human nature.
Joyner’s quest for theological learning stems from a desire to equip new believers for their Christian walk. As the culminating project for his master’s degree, he hopes to create a curriculum covering the basics of Christianity, a tool that could be used across Christian denominations. Included will be an important lesson he has learned at NBTS: to read the Bible in its historical context.
This fall Joyner became ordained as a minister at Mt. Zion Ministries Family Worship Church in New Brunswick, NJ. He is already heavily involved in his church—directing the media, working with youth, occasionally preaching. As to his NBTS degree (anticipated in 2024), he is not sure where it will lead. But one thing is for sure: that date will not be the end of his learning—a teacher/student he will always be.