Israel Trip

The Life and Land of Jesus

Feb. 23 – March 6, 2016


PBT partners with Christian Travel Study Programs (CTSP) again to offer a unique thirteen-day “The Life and Land of Jesus” Study Program in Israel, February 23-March 6, 2016. Dr. Randall Smith of CTSP, who has lived in Israel for over 20 years and has advanced degrees in Archaeology and Comparative Religions (emphasis on Rabbinic Judaism), with be team-teaching this program along with Doug Greenwold, PBT’s Senior Teaching Fellow and Shlomo ben Asher, one of Israel’s finest guides. We’ve customized this program to not only visit the usual sites, e.g. Bethlehem, Nazareth, Capernaum, Caesarea Phillipi, Caesarea Maritima, Jericho, Beth Shean, but many other rich teaching sites as well.

Some of the distinctives of this study program approach include:

·An integrated, thematic,contextual approach with a devotional emphasis.

·It is a study program, not a tourist trip.

· Four star hotels

· A team teaching approach with two teachers of similar visions, compatible gifts and complimentary contextual perspectives – a true stereo learning experience!

·An ideal time – the end of February/early March can offer ideal conditions in the Eastern Mediterranean. Temperatures are usually in the 50‘s – 70‘s depending on the elevation. Everything is green from the winter rains and the air quality is excellent, all of which makes for pleasant walking and great photography.

The anticipated all-inclusive cost of the 2016 Study Program is $4695 per person (double occupancy). A land-only option is also available for $3395 per person. This is based on a departure from Newark or Philly. Call PBT at 410-953-0557 or contact us if you would like a 2016 brochure and registration form.

Download the 2016 Israel Brochure

Day One: Departure from US

Depart Newark or Philly (Arrive next day). Overnight: In flight.

Day Two: Arrival Day

Arrive in Tel Aviv, transfer to a hotel on the beach in Tel Aviv for a shower, some fun time together and dinner. We will have a brief orientation, and look forward to a good night’s sleep. Overnight: Tel Aviv.

Day Three: Conflicts of Jesus’ Ministry

Theme description: Highlighting four example sites, this study focuses on four key conflicts in the background of Jesus’ public ministry. (Sites: Caesarea, Maritima, Mt. Carmel, Sepphoris, Nazareth). Overnight: Sea of Galilee.

Day Four: Characteristics of the Disciples

Theme description: Using the four gospel accounts, we will investigate the hints on the background, education and theology of the Disciples. Sites: Capernaum, Bethsaida Excavations, Boat on Sea, Mt. Beatitudes, Chorazin. Overnight: Sea of Galilee.

Day Five: Private Teaching to the Disciples and Jewish Nationalism

Theme description: Based on the five major sermons in the Gospel according to Matthew, our focus will be on the common teaching style of the ancient rabbis. (Sites: Tel Dan, Banias (Caesarea Philippi, Ben Tal, view toward Gamla). Overnight: Sea of Galilee.

Day Six: The Perean Ministry

Theme Description: Luke’s “Special Section” (10-19) includes a longer narrative of Jesus’ walk through Perea, and some of the toughest teachings of the Savior. Today we will look closely at these. We will arrive in time to use the spa at our Dead Sea Hotel! (Sites include: Beth Shean excavations, Qumran, Dead Sea). Overnight: Dead Sea spa.

Day Seven: The Wilderness Places

Theme Description: From the desert storm of Habakkuk, to the salt covenant of David, various Biblical wilderness themes will be highlighted, with a special view toward the Patriarchal narratives and their impact on Jesus. (Sites include: Masada, view of Ein Gedi, OT Jericho, Overnight: Jerusalem.

Day Eight: Setting of the Birth of Jesus

Theme description: We will investigate what the Biblical accounts tell us of Jesus’ birth, based on both the Matthew and Luke accounts. (Sites include: Bethlehem, Shepherd’s Field, Herodion).

Day Nine: Temple Troubles and Messianic Expectations

Theme description: We will begin our day with an early departure from the hotel to walk up on the ancient Temple Mount, followed by visits to the Western Wall and the South West excavations, where we will examine the description of the Hallel Psalms by the ancient Pilgrims to Jerusalem. (Sites: Gethsemane, Last Supper Room, Caiaphas’ house and more). Overnight: Jerusalem.

Day Ten: Journey to Calvary

The issues involved in the arrest, trial and conviction of Jesus will be our subject as we journey through “salvation” geography” of Jerusalem in the Gospel according to John. (Sites: Temple Mount, Pool of Bethesda, Via Dolorosa, Holy Sepulchre).  Overnight: Jerusalem.

Day Eleven: Friday, February 27, 2015 – Hebrew Backgrounds and the Shephelah Day.

Theme Description: The great Hebrew stories of Jesus’ childhood will be carefully explored in their own settings along the “Low hills” region of Israel. Sites include: The Sorek Valley (Samson and Return of the Ark), Elah Valley (David and Goliath), Bet Guvrin (Bell caves, Marisa). Overnight: Jerusalem.

Day Twelve: Mostly Free Day

This morning we will do a wrap-up teaching before we head to the Garden Tomb for communion.  The afternoon is free for last minute shopping in the Old City Quarters, packing and/or rest before our final dinner, and then departure for the airport for our late-night flights home.

Day Thirteen: Back Home!

Some of the distinctive aspects of our PBT/CTSP study trip include:

o  An integrated, thematic, contextual focus with a devotional emphasis.

o  It is a true learning experience, not a tourist trip.

0  Three and four star hotels (We’re too old for the dormitory approach!)

o  A team approach with two teachers (different weeks) of similar visions and compatible gifts and a very unique Israeli guide who plays a recorder and will personally escort us through the Yad Vashem (Holocaust Memorial Museum) showing us where many of his family died.

0  Visiting Israel in early Spring often offers ideal conditions in the Eastern Mediterranean. Temperatures are usually in the 60‘s and 70’s depending on the elevation. Everything is green from the winter rains and the air quality is excellent, all of which makes for pleasant walking and great photography.

An ideal trip to Israel is 15% visiting the sites and 85% learning about the sites together with the motifs and themes that “connect the dots” of the sites. We teach with an integrated focus on the historical, cultural, geographic and literary context of passages in such a way that deals not only with the facts, but with their purpose and meaning. That means we engage each site not only from an informational perspective, but from a devotional and transformational perspective as well.

Other Items of Interest

The all-inclusive cost of the 2015 Study Program is targeted at $4695 per person (double occupancy). A “Land Only” option is available for $3395 (you provide your own air transportation). Each “Land Only” participant is responsible for getting themselves to and from Tel Aviv from your departure city. Our Travel Coordinator is available to assist you in making your travel arrangements so that your arrival in Israel is coordinated with the others flying in from the States.

There is a single supplement of $795 for those who desire a single room. We will do our best to match you up with a roommate, but cannot guarantee that we will always be able to make that work.

Registration opens on August 1, 2015 and fees received after November 23, 2015 will be subject to a $100 late fee.

You will be offered the opportunity to buy trip insurance, the price of which will depend on the age of each person/couple. For your information, most people decide to buy it as it provides coverage 1) if you need to cancel for family or personal medical reasons, 2) your flights get delayed or cancelled and you need to rebook at a much higher price, 3) if you need medical attention while in Israel, and 4) if you need to fly back home early for medical reasons. You will be contacted after the receipt of your deposit to explain that program to you. The underwriter of the insurance provides the best coverage is you purchase travel insurance within two weeks of receipt of your payment.

Full payment of the cost of the trip (including any extra hotel days desired either before or after the trip) will need to be paid by the November 23, 2015 full payment deadline. Credit cards can be used subject to adding the VISA/MC processing fee.

To maximize the teaching time, we only stop twice on our trip for shopping outside of Jerusalem. One stop is at what we feel is the finest olive wood shop in Bethlehem (run by a Christian brother) and the other is at a very reputable ceramic and glass shop in Jericho. Both establishments can be trusted to ship your purchases home. For those of you who would like to do more shopping, you can use some of your free time in Jerusalem to shop in the Old City.

This trip will be limited to 40 people, the capacity of our bus (we want it to be personal). Reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. A minimum of 20 participants is needed.

While the trip price covers just about everything, it does not include the costs for lunches. This year our lunch stops averaged about $12 a person for a “sandwich” and a drink.

Where possible we encourage people to come to Israel with someone they can share the trip with, e.g., a friend, another couple, others from your small group or church.

Typically about 90% of the people decided to come to Israel a day early to get some sleep and rest before boarding the bus to start our Study Program. Many will be doing that again this year as it really helps our bodies to recover from the transatlantic flight and be fresh for the learning experience. For those who would like to arrive early for the trip, we leave the US around midnight on February 22 arriving Tel Aviv mid-afternoon on February 23, just in time to check into our Tel Aviv hotel located one block from the Mediterranean. The next day we take a leisurely four-mile walk on the beach promenade to the historic port of Joppa (the home of Simon the Tanner) and have a nice lunch in that very old place. In the afternoon, people can chose from a variety of things to see and do in Tel Aviv. The add-on cost to go early is around $140 per night (double occupancy) for the hotel room plus whatever food costs you incur. Those who would like to stay longer in Jerusalem at the end of trip should plan to pay around $170 per room night plus food costs to extend your stay.


Marvelous experience… A trip that has changed my life, thinking, serving, prayer life and attitudes…A winning combination of three gifted teachers where all the bases are covered – archaeology, cultural context, geography and a passionate local. Impossible to beat!… A life-changing experience that will never leave you the same…A heart changing experience. An incredible, awesome trip of a lifetime… I don’t think I can describe it! All I would say is – DO IT! What a value for the price!… It is everything you could imagine and much, much more!

Photos from previous Israel trips are available in our Galleries section for viewing.