“My goals for the next year are to search for what God would have me to do next with the experience he has given me during the past two years on this campus.” These are the words of Stephanie Demorest, the adjunct Greek language professor for Taylor University Fort Wayne (TUFW). Demorest has a master’s degree from Wake Forest University. She has a passion for sharing her knowledge of and teaching the Greek language. Professor Demorest’s passion couldn’t even be dampened by two years of recent multiple health problems.
She really felt called to teach Greek at her local church and was in contact with her pastor about doing so. She was also in contact with her former Greek teacher Arlan Birkey. When he retired two years ago, he suggested that Demorest should take his place. Demorest felt that this was a definite sign from God. She didn’t know why God was sending her to TUFW, but later she learned why. “I see now that God gave me the chance to come back to the classroom in order to teach me how to teach the language more effectively,” said Demorest. “It gave me solid experience.”
Demorest has taught many Bible classes at both Huntington University and TUFW, but her passion was always for teaching Greek. She has recently been teaching “Introduction to New Testament Greek” and “Exegesis of the Greek New Testament.” In the “Exegesis” course, the students are working on a sermon/Bible study project. Each student is required to choose a text from the New Testament to translate and preach about. They each write a 14-page homiletic in the style of a sermon or Bible study he or she would like to present to a group of people. This project is also read and evaluated by Demorest and two other past professors from the department. Awards are given at an Honors Chapel to the first, second and third place sermons.
In that class the students are also devoting reading time on Fridays to an introductory study of the field of textual criticism. In this way, the students are able to learn about the various manuscripts underlying the New Testament, how the editors of the text of the NT chose the printed reading, and how to evaluate the editors’ opinions regarding the variant readings.
Demorest has also had the chance to mentor and advise two students writing their senior research papers. “This has been a very enjoyable two years for me to be back into the Greek New Testament and to share my love of it with my students,” said Demorest. “I will miss doing that in this type of academic setting, but I am still convinced that God has called me to minister to his body in the form of the local church. I will be exploring the options for that during the next several months.
Besides being a Greek professor, Stephanie Demorest is a busy mom. Trying to balance the two worlds isn’t easy. On class days—Monday, Wednesday, and Friday—she is in the office no later than 11:00 a.m. to be available for consultations with students or for class preparation. Her usual daily routine involves taking her seven-year-old son to school each morning and then coming to the office to study or grade papers. She typically starts the workday by 9:00 a.m. with any grading and posting of grades to Blackboard. Then she works on the translation of the biblical text for her afternoon class of second-year students. Tuesdays and Thursdays are her days at home.
Depending on what needs to be accomplish for the next day’s classes, Demorest may or may not be in her office on “home” days. “If I can take the time to be at home, I catch up on laundry, take care of our house, and bake or cook for my family,” said Demorest. “Every day of the week I pick up my son from school around 3:15 and review his school folder and help him with his first grade lessons for the day. I also volunteer to help out in his classroom at school whenever I can on a Tuesday or Thursday.”
Demorest’s plans are to search for God’s will and use her experiences to advance God’s kingdom and to teach others to do the same. “I hope most of all that my students will learn the great joy that comes from reading the New Testament in the original language,” she said. “I hope they will retain the basic principles of grammar that will enable them to continue to read and study it in Greek, so they can use what they learn within its pages to encourage and minister to others in order to build up the kingdom of God on earth.”
Becky Mosolf is a professional writing major at Taylor University and a freelance book reviewer for Church Libraries and Christian Book Previews.