About Dr. Tim Sigler
CEO2 — Dr. Tim Sigler
Dr. Tim Sigler was born in San Jose, California, where his father had then recently moved after growing up in the Holy Land—New York! His mother came from a church-going family, but the only thing she remembers hearing about Jesus from her parents was the phrase "Jesus knows if you're lying!" At age 9, she heard the gospel at a Vacation Bible School, realized that her sin separated her from a holy God, and trusted in Jesus as the One who died for her sins and rose again to forgive her and grant her eternal life. His parents married while still in high school. After Tim was born, his mother prayed for him in his crib every day that he would trust in Jesus at an early age and grow up to serve Him. The family eventually moved to Idaho where God answered those prayers, and at age 8, Tim put his trust in the Savior about whom his mother had so often taught him. Through his parents’ very difficult marriage, Tim’s father also eventually came to trust in Jesus as his Messiah.Tim began to be convicted about his need to be more consistent in his walk with the Lord and made some important spiritual decisions at the tender age of 13. He began having gospel conversations with friends at school and through his part-time job. Many of his Mormon and Catholic friends pushed back at the simple claims of the gospel of grace apart from our good deeds, and this drove Tim deeper into the Scriptures to learn more about the biblical basis for his faith. By age 14, he saw several friends come to saving faith and join him at youth group events. His local church also gave him the opportunity to preach his first Bible message, which he gave from Proverbs 2. A couple who had graduated from Bible school noticed that Tim always took notes on the sermons. They told him that if he was going to teach the Bible one day, he would need to get organized. They invited him to their home where they taught him how to organize a biblical and theological filing system, and they gave him his first set of Bible commentaries for a high school graduation gift at age 17. There were several gifted teachers who had been on study trips to Israel and used their photos of the biblical landscape and historical sites in their Bible teaching, and this aroused Tim’s interest in the study of Bible backgrounds and the original languages. Others at this small congregation also took him under their spiritual wings and poured into his life. Many of Tim’s early mentors are still in contact with him to this day.
Tim enrolled at Faith Baptist Bible College (Ankeny, IA) and encountered gifted faculty who invested in him personally. Dr. Manfred Kober, a former classmate of Dr. Fruchtenbaum at Dallas Theological Seminary, emphasized the gaps that must be bridged between the ancient writers of the Bible and its modern readers: the gaps of language, history, culture, and geography. During Tim’s sophomore year, a speaker came to chapel to invite students to his year-long study program based along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, a program that focused on bridging these very gaps. Tim’s best friend who had previously been on a study tour in Israel nudged him and told him that he had to go. After multiple excuses, Tim saw God opening the doors, and he took his junior year of college in a work-study program at Kibbutz Ma’agan on the shores of the Sea of Galilee with Baptists for Israel Institute. It was on this kibbutz that the work scheduler spoke to Tim in Hebrew and told him, “Ata me’shelanu!” (“You are from us!”). When Tim inquired what he meant by that, the man explained, “Your name is like ‘Smith’ in this country.” Tim began to explore the significance of his family name and his Jewish background. He learned at the Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv that the Siglers were a Levitical family who were known for stamping priestly documents. This discovery led Tim to want to know more about his father’s side of the family in New York and their assimilated background coming from the very Jewish Palatinate region of Germany. Tim began to increasingly appreciate the biblical covenants God made with Israel, the many future promises to the nation, the biblical concept of a remnant of believing Jews, and how all of this should impact the way one reads Scripture as a whole.
When he returned to the States to complete his senior year of Bible college, he was invited to provide the morning and evening messages at a nearby local church that was without a pastor. The congregants invited him to return regularly during their pastoral search. A month later, he met Bernice, the young woman he would eventually marry. He noticed her at the service, and they were unexpectedly both invited to lunch at the same home afterward, as her sister was on the committee that provided meals for guest speakers. Bernice and her parents joined her sister and brother-in-law at the table along with the guest speaker they were getting to know. When her father asked the topic of Tim’s evening message, he explained that rather than continuing his new series through the book of Daniel, he planned to share slides from his recent year in Israel. Bernice lit up with excitement and said, “I also studied in Israel just this last summer!” From there, they began comparing notes about all the amazing experiences they had learning the Bible on location. Bernice was a double major in Bible and graphic design and planned to use her skills to illustrate historical and geographical scenes more accurately in Bible curricula. After seven months, they were engaged, and four months later they were married in 1991. They began taking courses at a local synagogue so Bernice could learn modern Hebrew, and they developed friendships with many local Israelis with whom they are still in contact to this day. Tim began pastoring Bernice’s home church, and they served there for seven-and-a-half years as Tim completed his M.A. in Theological Studies (’93) and Master of Divinity degree (’95) from Faith Baptist Theological Seminary. It was at this local church that Tim learned about its support for Ariel Ministries and that Arnold had spoken at the church back when Bernice was a young girl and even had stayed as a guest on her family’s farm.
Upon completing his seminary training, Tim continued to feel a calling toward academic ministry and the study of the Hebrew Scriptures. He spoke to his elders about this, and they encouraged him to apply for a doctoral program. They said, “Look, we’re kind of surprised that you stayed here as long as you have. We thought you’d either be serving in Israel or teaching in a seminary!” Well, both eventually became the case!
Tim entered a Ph.D. program in 1998 at an institution with arguably the best faculty in Hebrew Bible at the time: Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL). He was invited to serve as merit scholar of the Old Testament department and also to serve as part-time youth pastor at the Olive Tree Congregation of Greater Chicago. He became well-connected with the Chicagoland Messianic Jewish community and spoke at numerous Messianic gatherings and congregations. In 2000, he was invited to teach at Moody Bible Institute (Chicago, IL). After one year of serving as an adjunct, he joined the faculty in the Bible department full time. Here he taught numerous courses, including Hermeneutics/Bible Study Methods, Life in Bible Times (focusing on historical geography and biblical culture and customs), Hebrew Grammar I & II, Hebrew Exegesis I & II, Old Testament Historical Literature, and Old Testament Wisdom Literature. He eventually assisted in forming Moody’s study-abroad programs in Israel and Jordan and taught a course on location for multiple years titled “A Biblical Theology of Jerusalem.” He also offered courses at Israel College of the Bible and Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary.
During a sabbatical from Moody in 2009-10, Tim and his family moved to Israel for 15 months. Tim pastored a Messianic congregation and taught at the Master’s College IBEX Program in Israel where he developed his course in biblical archaeology. During this time, Tim and Bernice’s younger children attended an Israeli school and learned modern Hebrew. Ever since, Tim and his family have lived in Israel each summer for over a decade while he has served as the Israel Scholar-in-Residence with CJF Ministries, studying and teaching the Bible on location. Grace College and Seminary (Winona Lake, IN) awarded Tim a full-ride scholarship to participate in their M.S. in Higher Education program (completed in 2018). In 2017, he was invited to serve as Provost and Dean at Shepherds Theological Seminary (Cary, NC) after nearly two decades at the Moody Bible Institute.
Tim has been studying and teaching about the land and people of Israel for 35 years. His academic and personal experience with the language, history, culture, and geography of the biblical world uniquely qualifies him as an outstanding host for those wishing to better understand their Bibles within the context it was written. He enjoys offering tours in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Italy.
Tim’s written contributions have appeared in Trinity Journal, Messianic Perspectives, Mishkan, Bulletin of the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism, as well as in The Chronological Life Application Study Bible: Messianic Jewish Edition, The Moody Bible Commentary, Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post-Biblical Antiquity, and the Shepherds Seminary volume titled Forsaking Israel: How It Happened and Why It Matters. Tim and Arnold were also co-authors in What Should We Think about Israel? Separating Fact from Fiction in the Middle East Conflict and are both contributors to a forthcoming Zondervan publication titled The Messianic Jewish Study Bible.
Tim and his hospitable wife, Bernice, have three adventurous young adult children—Netanya, Atalya, and Asher—and enjoy hosting Jewish holiday events and speaking Hebrew at home.
In 2023, Dr. Sigler was invited by Dr. Fruchtenbaum to steward the efforts of Ariel Ministries into its next generation of gospel witness and doctrinal faithfulness and to continue Ariel’s commitment of teaching the Bible from a Messianic Jewish perspective.