Bible Lands Study Tour

WWU students tour the Holy Land to study the life and ministry of Jesus

A group of 43 students, led by Walla Walla University professors Carl Cosaert, professor of biblical studies, and Paul Dybdahl, professor of mission and new testament, visited the Holy Land during June and July as part of the WWU biennial Bible Lands Study Tour. 

Every other year, the WWU School of Theology holds a Bible Lands Study Tour for students at WWU. Students get eight general study religion credits. The trip is an academic tour with a strong religious emphasis. “There is no better classroom than to be where it actually happened,” Cosaert said.

The group traveled to Egypt where they visited the pyramids, which included touring inside several, cruising down the Nile River, and taking in the Valley of the Kings. “It was amazing!” said Katie Wagner, senior theology major, “The guides were phenomenal. Great people, and you could tell they love what they do. That was really inspiring.”

They also visited Jordan and took in the sights at Petra, the Rose City, before heading to Israel. There, they toured Galilee and Jerusalem, the sight of much of Jesus’ life and ministry. “I really enjoyed touring Jerusalem. This was my second Bible Lands Study Tour, and I felt like I had a better understanding of how important that city is and how it connects the past, present, and future in three monotheistic religions—Christianity, Islam, and Judiasm.” Wagner said. The group also visited Turkey and the seven churches of Revelation.

“Another highlight of the trip was visiting a historical Jewish village,” Cosaert said. “It was an interactive tour, so we got to dress up in Bible Lands costumes and see how people lived 2,000 years ago. We got to help make grape juice and pita bread. They poured grapes into a large vat/press, and then the students stomped on them to make juice, which they then drank.”

Looking back on his sixth Bible Lands Study Tour, Cosaert said, “Students are always the best part. It is always a highlight to build relationships with students around a spiritual context and get to know them at a deeper level.” During each trip the group holds a baptism at the Jordan River for students who wish to commit or recommit their lives to God.

To learn more about the WWU School of Theology and future study tours visit

Posted Nov. 27, 2019

group of people in front of temple chiseled into rock, the treasury in Petra, Jordan.
The group toured Petra, a city made of rock in Jordan. (Photo: Dane Ocampo)
group of people walking through the desert
The group hiked in the desert in Israel, where they learned more about the biblical story of the good Samaritan. (Photo: Katie Wagner)