Jon Laansma, Ph.D.


Ancient Languages

Associate Professor of Ancient Languages and New Testament
On Faculty since 2003

Office: Wyngarten 218
Phone: (630)752-5769


Ph.D., New Testament, University of Aberdeen, 1995

M.Div., Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary, 1989

B.R.E., Grand Rapids Baptist College, 1984

About Jon Laansma

I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the seventh child of nine. The privilege of spending my life in the Scriptures has been shared since 1984 with my wife Lisa, and since 1995 with our daughter. Lisa and I lived in Aberdeen, Scotland, from 1990 to 1994. Since 1996 Wheaton has been home.

Beyond family, I particularly enjoy reading, traveling, the outdoors, University of Michigan football, Red Wings hockey, and Tigers baseball. The church in which I was born, baptized, married, and ordained is Highland Hills Baptist Church, Grand Rapids. We now fellowship at College Church in Wheaton where I co-teach a Greek Exegesis Sunday School class and have served as an elder. Opportunities for teaching and other ministry have brought us to locations in Africa, Europe, and Australia. Before joining the faculty of Wheaton College I spent seven memorable years teaching at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.

My research interests include Paul's letters to Timothy and Titus, Hebrews, 1 Corinthians, Greek, the relation of science and faith, and what it means to read and live wisely and faithfully.

Knowledge of the original languages is neither a necessary nor a sufficient cause of good biblical interpretation, but it is a very important contributory cause. "In so far as we love the Gospel, to that extent let us study the ancient tongues." Yet Martin Luther, to whom that line has been attributed, certainly had no narrow view of the reading of Scripture. On a piece of paper found near him at the time of his death Luther had written, "No one can understand Virgil's Georgics unless he has been a farmer for five years. No one can understand Cicero's letters unless he has busied himself in the affairs of a great empire for twenty-five years. No one can presume to have indulged in Holy Scriptures sufficiently unless he were in charge of all the churches for one hundred years with the prophets Elijah and Elisha, John the Baptist, Christ, and the Apostles. Do not seize hold of this divine Aeneid, but adore its tracks with humility. We are beggars, this is true." For many of us who have found so much enjoyment in the exegesis of the Scriptures in the original languages our interest was not first of all linguistic but antecedently one of love for our Savior and his Word. This has been and remains fundamentally an act of worship.

Courses Taught

  • Greek Grammar I & II (GREK 101-102)
  • New Testament Literature (BITH 213)
  • Advanced Koine Reading (GREK 334)
  • New Testament Criticism (BITH 452)
  • Hermeneutics (BITH 524)
  • Exegesis of Hebrews (BITH/GREK 451; BITH 646)
  • Exegesis of the Pastoral Epistles (BITH/GREK 451; BITH 646)
  • Introduction to New Testament Exegesis (BITH 528)
  • Exegesis of 2 Corinthians (BITH 646)
  • Exegesis of Matthew (BITH 646)

Membership in Professional Societies

  • Society of Biblical Literature
  • Institute of Biblical Research
  • Evangelical Theological Society


Dr. Laansma's research interests are biblical Greek and New Testament exegesis, Hebrews, the Pastoral Epistles, the Old Testament in the New Testament, New Testament history and theology, and recent discussions in linguistics and hermeneutics as they bear on these fields.


2 Timothy and Titus, NLT Commentary Series (Tyndale House Publishers), forthcoming.

“Hebrews,” in the Dictionary of the Theological Interpretation of Scripture (Baker), forthcoming.

“Pastoral Epistles” in the New Living Translation Study Bible (Tyndale House Publishers), forthcoming.

“Review of ‘Encountering the Book of Hebrews,’ by Don Hagner,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 46/2 (2003), 353-355.

“Rest (Work),” in New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, eds. Desmond Alexander and Brian Rosner (InterVarsity Press, 2000), 727-732.

“Mysticism,” in Dictionary of New Testament Backgrounds, eds. Craig A. Evans and Stanley E. Porter (InterVarsity Press, 2000), 725-737.

“Peace,” in Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments, eds. Ralph Martin and Peter H. Davids (InterVarsity Press, 1997), 893-900.

“Lord’s Day,” in Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments, eds. Ralph Martin and Peter H. Davids (InterVarsity Press, 1997), 679-686.

‘I Will Give You Rest’ The Rest Motif in the New Testament with Special Reference to Mt 11 and Heb 3-4, WUNT 2/98 (J.C.B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck]), 1997.

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