In February, Bible Study Magazine bid farewell to Editor-in-Chief Rebecca Van Noord and welcomed David Bomar to the helm. From the minute David stepped up, he’s been hard at work shipping magazines and keeping abreast of Major League Baseball’s opening-season games. We caught up with David this week to ask a few get-to-know-you questions:
BSM: What was your job before you stepped in as Editor-in-Chief of Bible Study Magazine?
Bomar:Since 2014, I’ve been serving as managing editor for Lexham Press. I worked mostly on Lexham Bible Dictionary and Faithlife Study Bible, and I edited a few book projects. I was involved in Bible Study Magazine, as well, but mainly as a copy editor. Before joining the Lexham team, I worked as a newspaper editor for 15 years in Boise, Idaho, and Santa Rosa, California.
BSM: What are you most excited about in your new role?
Bomar: So far, I’ve really been enjoying getting back into the rhythms of a regular print publication. Obviously, producing a magazine 6 times a year is very different from producing a daily newspaper—the pace is much more manageable, for one—but the work itself is pretty similar. I enjoy working with writers to polish their ideas, and I really like the collaborative process of bringing all the elements together—the text, the headlines, the artwork. So I’m looking forward to doing more of that kind of work and supporting all the efforts of our editors and designers
BSM: Any big changes in the works for BSM?
Bomar: No, nothing major. The overall goal of BSM is to apply insights from biblical scholarship to everyday Bible study, and I want to continue that mission. Other editors and I have been looking at including more articles that address biblical studies questions from different viewpoints—so, for example, we might ask three or four scholars to write about the authorship of Isaiah, or the Greek phrase pistis Christou. We’re also talking about expanding the range of biblical passages that we cover in each issue, so the content will be more diverse. And the look of BSM hasn’t changed much over its 8 years, so there might be some design changes, too.
BSM: Can you give us one of your favorite Bible study tips? What helps you most in maintaining a consistent Bible study?
Bomar: This isn’t really a tip in a practical sense, but for me the most important thing over the past few years has been to approach the Bible with a sense of humility. By that I mean acknowledging that Scripture ultimately transcends my limited understanding of it. Now, that definitely does not mean that I can’t rely on it. Of course I can; it’s God’s Word, and it’s entirely reliable and true. But if I believe the Bible is God’s Word, his revelation of himself to us, then I also have to recognize that the heart of the Bible is a mystery that I’ll never be able to fully wrap my head around. That awareness has really helped me direct my study of the Bible toward the aspects of it that I can understand—and it gives me space to be OK with the parts of Scripture that remain a mystery.
When we humble ourselves and let the Bible stand over us, as God’s authoritative Word to his people, we don’t have to come up with every answer and work out every problem, as if we could have God all figured out. His ways lie beyond our comprehension, and yet they are revealed to us in Scripture. That’s a paradox, to be sure, and it invites me to recognize that I’m smaller than the Bible. To study it, then, involves humbling myself and letting it stand over me.
BSM: Could you share a little bit about your deep and abiding love for baseball? Who's your favorite team?
Bomar: When I was kid, I was a “Junior Mariner,” and my family went to 7–8 games a year—so the M’s will always be my team. But when I went to seminary in Kansas City, I started following the Royals, too, so I was pretty stoked to see them win the World Series last year. And I’m actually wearing a Pirates hat right now, because my mom’s family is from the Pittsburgh area—so I have three or four teams that I root for. But Seattle is at the top of that list, even though being a Mariners fan can be pretty painful. They’re overdue for a playoff run, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
I think enjoy baseball so much because there are so many variables, and every pitch has the potential for so many different outcomes—they’re countless, really. I went to a Mariners game with an old college buddy a few weeks ago, and we were talking about the genius of 90 feet from home plate to first base. There are so many close plays at first. Moving the base an inch or two farther down the line would produce more outs, and an inch or two closer would mean more hits. Whether the batter beats the throw hinges on so many things—the speed, spin, and location of the pitch; the angle and timing of the swing; the position of the infielders; the speed and accuracy of the throw. That’s probably a simplified list of all the variables involved, but you get the idea: Change any one thing and you get an entirely different result. Once I started picking up on all the possibilities and recognizing the complexity of the game, I really started appreciating it more.
BSM: Aside from the Bible, what book have you most enjoyed reading recently?
Bomar: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I first read it back in high school, but I was reading mostly for the plot. I didn’t really grasp the power of the language and the themes. When I picked it up again, I was surprised at how relevant it is to life today, even though it’s more than 75 years old. The challenges we face economically, the instability and uprootedness, the sense in which our relationships have become more and more transactional—all of those issues are strikingly similar to the problems Steinbeck perceived back in the 1930s. I was especially drawn to the little interludes he includes throughout the book, the parts that aren’t directly related to the plot but speak to the overall economic shift that was happening. Rereading that book really moved me in a way I didn’t expect.
Watch for David's writing in upcoming issues of Bible Study Magazine