Today was the first day of class for my intensive in the book of Revelation under Dr. Robert Lowery. I've long admired Dr. Lowery as a scholar and a teacher but his reputation as a churchman is usually better known. After arriving at the church where I currently serve and talking to some of the seasoned leaders, I discovered that Dr. Lowery had a key role in shepherding the elders through a devastating leadership issue that could have easily destroyed the church. In his thirty-four years as a professor of NT he as often taken the role of a shepherd to those who shepherd, offering insight, encouragement and even rebuke when needed.
In class today he recounted his experience teaching the book of Revelation cross culturally to pastors for almost two decades. One particular student, from Uzbekistan, was so appreciative of Dr. Lowery's approach to the book because it helped him make sense of the suffering he faced for following Jesus. Revelation, the book that mentions worship more than any other in the NT, became for this Uzbek a crucial resource in his daily discipleship. The veteran scholar never lets his students study without asking how our pursuit of Jesus will change as a result of our investigation.
Dr. Lowery now faces a crisis of his own as he battles a cancer that will kill him. With grace and faith he teaches and writes not knowing how much longer he has, but sure that his mission is the same as always—to serve the Lord Jesus through teaching, writing and ministering to those leading churches.
We began class today with a prayer from the former Bishop of Durham, Handley Moule (1841‒1920). It, along with Dr. Lowery's humble yet informed and disciplined approach to the text of the NT as scripture, illustrates the kind of scholar I want to be. So, tonight, as lie here in bed reflecting on the day I pray Moule's prayer again,
Lord and Saviour, true and kind,
Be the master of my mind:
Bless and guide and strengthen still
All my powers of thought and will.
While I ply the scholar's task,
Jesus Christ, be near I ask:
Help the memory, clear the brain,
Knowledge still to seek and gain.