Hello Ivan, how long have you been a part of the academic team at the College?
I have been teaching at Newbold College in a full–time capacity since December 2015. Previously, I worked as contract lecturer at Newbold, teaching the book of Daniel, between 2007–2013.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your role, and the challenging?
Successful students who grow both spiritually and academically in my classroom is the greatest reward. I want my students to be better followers of Christ and better academics than I am. The greatest challenge is to control the workaholic in me.
Ivan, it’s quick-fire round time!
If you had to pick any other career, what might it be and why?
A stage actor or lawyer. A stage actor, because I love contact with the audience, particularly when I can bring hope, laugh and challenges to those who watch and listen to me. A lawyer, because I love finding solutions to complicated situations, I love polemics and creating convincing argumentation for what I believe is right.
Why is the Old Testament important to you personally?
Because it is so challenging to understand it, in the first place, and then to help others to do it the same. It is also a great inspiration for my personal and academic life. There are so many things that I would like to know and research in the Old Testament studies, so I do think that the current life and the eternity spent with the greatest scholar of all, God, is and will be so fulfilling and exciting.
Are there any books in the Old Testament that you tend to gravitate to?
Daniel, Jonah, and Genesis 1–3. The book of Daniel is very relevant both in terms of prophecy and personal spirituality. There is more to the book, though, than just prophecies.
I just love the character of Jonah; he was so unusual prophet. The book is not about what the prophet prophesied, but it is about the prophet himself: his personality, and his relationship with God and humans.
Genesis 1–3 is super significant. The knowledge and understanding of the ideas and concepts presented in this part of the Old Testament are of key importance to understand the rest of the Bible.
Do you have a travel bucket list? If so, where is your next destination?
My dream is to spend at least a month in Israel and master contemporary Hebrew language as much as possible. I hope I will go there when I get my sabbatical and spend some time in learning the language and doing research.
You’re trapped on a desert island – what are your top 5 key items?
Tent, food, water, sleeping bag and the Bible.
Outside the College, what tends to inspire you in life the most?
The true stories of success of people who faced various great disadvantages on their way to success. Lives of Moses, Elijah, the Apostle Paul, Gandhi, Mandela, Dr Barry Black, and my paternal grandfather to name a few.
However, the best true story of success, which is ongoing, is that of Jesus Christ. I am glad that this is the true never-ending story.
What do you believe separates our students’ academic offering from other Theological institutions?
We teach our students how to think academically: to understand ideas and concepts, evaluate the arguments of various theories and produce their own
opinion/interpretation based on the best possible argumentation.
That is how we avoid producing ‘parrots’ who can only provide yesterday’s answers to tomorrow’s questions. Our students have a unique opportunity to get the best preparation to face the present and future challenges.
If you could describe the Newbold experience in just three words, what would they be?
Pleasure, honour, hard work.