Karen H. Jobes
M.A. Biblical Studies, Ph.D. Hermeneutics
Class Year: 1989, 1995
Westminster Degree: M.A. Biblical Studies, Ph.D. Hermeneutics
Current Ministry: New Testament Professor at Wheaton College
Hobby: family history research, needlework
Dr. Karen H. Jobes came to Christ in the summer between her college junior and senior years after friends gave her two books to read: Hal Lindsey's Late, Great Planet Earth and the NIV Gospel of John, which had just been published as a sample of the NIV New Testament. “Lindsey put the fear of God in me,” Karen recalls, “and the Gospel of John convinced me that Jesus loves me. What a wonderful providence that I should now be serving these last ten years on the NIV/TNIV translation committee.”
Karen completed degrees in physics and computer science and worked for twelve years in that field at Princeton University, Johnson & Johnson Products, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where she was in charge of academic computing. At the time, she was also teaching adult Sunday School and realized there was much more about the Bible than she could learn by casual reading. So she began to think of seminary, but “I didn't really understand where that would lead, since I've never felt called to pastoral work,” she explains. “It was only after I was in the Master's program at Westminster that God developed in me the vision for teaching Bible at the college or seminary level, and that, of course, required I go on for a doctorate. I'm glad I didn't know when I first started seminary what would ultimately unfold, because I don't think I would have had the courage to take the first step.”
Because her husband was established in his career as a senior research physicist at Princeton University, she looked for a seminary within commuting distance. “I was first drawn to Westminster because of its doctrine of Scripture, but while there developed a love of the Reformed faith, which I've found both spiritually and intellectually satisfying.” At Westminster, “I truly began to integrate devout Christian faith with intellectual rigor and academic excellence. The course work provided a firm biblical and theological grounding and my relationships with the faculty and other students shaped me more than those in any other community I've been in. It was a very good time in my life.”
On October 12, Karen was inaugurated as Gerald F. Hawthorne Professor of New
Testament Greek and Exegesis at Wheaton College. The author of several Old Testament commentaries and other books, she teaches undergraduate Greek classes and Greek exegesis courses in the graduate school, including courses on the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. “To be a teacher of the next generation of the church is to touch the future of the church,” she says. “It's exciting to be a bearer of the gospel in this generation who has the privilege of educating and training the leaders for the church tomorrow. To see them catch the vision and passion for Christ and his kingdom is very gratifying."
Karen participates in numerous academic organizations to stay current in her field, but finds the most refreshment from her work through regular worship at Immanuel Presbyterian Church and through working the phones for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Ministry. Since 1980, she has been married to Dr. Forrest (Buzz) Jobes, and has two stepsons Ted and Ben.