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About Taylor Halverson

Dr. Taylor Halverson received a B.A. from Brigham Young University in Ancient Near Eastern Studies in 1997, an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Yale University in 2001 and an M.S. in Instructional Technology from Indiana University in 2004. He completed Ph.D.s in Instructional Technology and Judaism & Christianity in Antiquity—both from Indiana University in 2006.

Dr. Halverson focuses his teaching, research, and professional work on helping others become lifelong learners.  He does so through several core areas

  • Improving teaching and learning
  • Educational technology, including technology integration into teaching and learning
  • Innovation, design, and creativity, including entrepreneurship
  • Literary and comparative studies of the Book of Mormon, the Old and New Testaments and other ancient literature, ancient kingship and authority, and Judeans during the neo-Babylonian period

Dr. Halverson currently works at BYU full-time at the Center for Teaching and Learning, part-time at the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, advises the BYU Innovation Academy, leads the Creativity, Innovation, and Design group, and teaches “Old Testament,” “Book of Mormon,” “History of Creativity,” and “Innovation Lab: The Design Thinking Experience.”  He is also a contributor to the popular LDS Bible Videos project and the LDS Scripture Citation Index site.

Dr. Halverson uses his knowledge of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, French, and Spanish to inform his study of the scriptures.  His hobbies and interests include: Leading educational travel tours to Israel, the Mediterranean, and Mesoamerica; movies and restaurants; hiking and photography; friends and conversation; teaching and learning.

“I Will Betroth Thee Unto Me in Righteousness.” Hosea 1-3; 11; 13-14.

“Set me as a seal upon thine heart.”

Song of Solomon 8:6

Introduction

This article will be divided into two parts.  The first part will deal with the prophet Hosea and establish the historical background for his message.  The second part will discuss Hosea’s message of covenant fidelity to God and God’s everlasting mercy to His children.

The prophet

Hosea was active as prophet in the Northern Kingdom of Israel between 752 B.C.1 until the destruction of Israel at the hands of the Assyrians in 721.  We do not know as much as we would like about him because very few biographical details are offered in his record.  However we can surmise with relative accuracy the years of his prophetic activity, which are based upon the dates of the kings mentioned in the superscription to the book (Hosea 1:1).2 Continue reading


  1. All dates are B.C. but the symbol “B.C.” will not be indicated throughout this article. 

  2. Based on the writings of Hosea it is clear that he was a prophet in the Northern Kingdom (Israel) as opposed to a prophet in the Southern Kingdom (Judea).  What is interesting about the superscription is the mention of four Judean kings but only one king of Israel.  We would expect that the superscription would list all of the names of kings of Israel who were Hosea’s contemporaries (as we see in superscription to the Book of Amos).  Since the focus of the superscription is upon the kings of the Southern Kingdom (Judea) it is believed that this editorial superscription was composed by Judean editors (who were more familiar with Judean kings) some time after the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 721. 

“Come to the House of the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 29-30; 32-34

“Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths” Isaiah 2:3

Introduction  In the days of Ancient Israel all was not well.1 A careful study of the Biblical record reveals that a near continual battle existed between those seeking to establish the worship of Jehovah and those seeking to establish the worship of other gods and goddess who competed for the time, resources and affection of the Israelites.  This ongoing battle traces a cycle of wickedness, decline, repentance, prosperity and then a return to wickedness again.  The history of Israel as well as the lives and words of her prophets can in part be defined by this battle over proper worship.  When righteous leaders were in power a solemn invitation centered on temple worship was in effect:

Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.  Micah 4:2

Continue reading


  1. Some resources consulted for this article include: Hershel Shanks, Ancient Israel, (Washington, D.C.: Biblical Archaeology Society, 1999). John Bright, A History of Israel 3rd Edition, (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1981). Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by David Noel Freedman, vol. 6 (New York: Doubleday, 1992). Francolino Gonçalves, L’Expédition De Sennachérib En Palestine Dans La Littérature Hébraïque Ancienne, (Louvain-La-Neuve : Université Catholique De Louvain, 1986). 

Reading the Scriptures Geographically: Some Tools and Insights

Abstract: The purpose of this article is to provide several examples of how meaning, understanding, and interpretation of scriptures may be enhanced when scriptures are read in their geographical context.  Many scholarly articles seek exclusively to break new ground in meaning and meaning-making, to essentially produce new knowledge.  This article hopes to break new ground both in terms of new knowledge (insights) as well as in the pragmatics of giving readers additional tools and opportunities for exploring the scriptures in fresh ways.  In particular, this article will also highlight several free geographical tools that can improve one’s learning with the scriptures, with particular focus on Google Earth and the BYU scriptures.byu.edu/mapscrip tool (hereafter referred to as Google Earth Bible or GEB).  The hope is that this article will, through the tools discussed, create opportunities for others to create new knowledge for themselves through scripture study. Continue reading

“King Solomon; Man of Wisdom, Man of Foolishness.” 1 Kings 3; 5-11

“The Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Psalm 111:10

Introduction

Solomon, the king of peace,1 ascended the throne during Israel’s golden age taking the place of his father, David the beloved.2  Before David died however, he left a charge upon Solomon much like other righteous fathers have done for their children throughout the ages.3  David counseled his regal son

I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; And keep the charge of the Lord they God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself. 1 Kings 2:2-3

Continue reading


  1. The name Solomon comes from the Hebrew shlomo which derives from the Hebrew word shalom meaning peace. 

  2. David means “beloved” in Hebrew.  This name was also passed onto Solomon at the time of his birth.  According to 2 Samuel 12:25 when David presented the newborn Solomon to the prophet Nathan, the prophet called him “Jedidiah,” which in Hebrew means “beloved of Jehovah.” 

  3. Before his death, Lehi left blessings upon each of his children (see 2 Nephi 1-4).  This follows the patriarchal pattern first established by Adam and later practiced by such notables as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. 

“Be Strong and of a Good Courage.” Joshua 1-6; 23-24

“Fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God…will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work…of the LORD.” (1 Chronicles 28:20)

Introduction

After subduing the Land of Promise the Israelites gathered around Joshua1 to hear his farewell speech before he died (Joshua 24).2  Joshua rehearsed unto them the great things that the Lord had done for them and their forefathers in saving and preserving their lives.  He explained that God had saved Abraham from the wicked idolatry of false worship practiced by his fathers.  God lead Abraham to the land of Canaan where he multiplied his seed.  He then sent a branch of Abraham’s descendants down to Egypt.  These descendents, the Israelites, served the Egyptians in bondage for many years until God raised up a deliverer unto them and saved the Israelites with a mighty salvation.  God afflicted the Egyptians with great plagues and caused the waters of the Red Sea to part unto the salvation of the Israelites and the destruction of the Egyptians.  Joshua then reminded the Israelites of the powerful way in which God delivered the inhabitants and possessions of the land of Canaan (the Promised Land) into the hands of the Israelites.  This was a sure witness of God’s grace.  They had neither earned it themselves nor deserved it.  However, God loved his chosen people and so in his boundless charity he gave them these marvelous blessings.  Affirming his charity unto them, giving them blessings that they themselves did not earn, God said: Continue reading


  1. The name Joshua is a variant of the name Hosea, Hoshea and Jesus all of which come from the Hebrew word meaning “salvation” or “to save.” 

  2. Compare the farewell speech and activities of Joshua to those of Jacob (Genesis 47-50); Moses (Deut. 1-33); Brother of Jared (Ether 6); Lehi (2 Nephi 1-4); and Benjamin (Mosiah 1-6).