Note: When it came time to write the acknowledgement for my thesis, I struggled to mention everyone I wanted to thank. My others could and should be mentioned. Since few of the people mentioned here will read the thesis, I thought I would post this as an inadequate attempt to say “thank you.”
While American culture celebrates the “self-made man,” I have yet to meet one and certainly cannot claim to be one myself. Rarely does anyone accomplish anything of value without others. The following thesis is a product of all the family members, friends, and mentors who have poured into my life over the years. While it is impossible to name each person who has played a role in who I am today, I will endeavor to name a few.
First and foremost, I am thankful for my family of birth. My parents, Donnie and Judy Myers, and my grandparents, Harold and Mae Henderson, passed on to me a love for Christ, an appreciation for God’s Word, and an adventurous spirit. I would not be the person I am today without the love and guidance they gave me.
I am also thankful to my family of choice—my wife, Kimberly, is an inspiration to me in her Christlike love, her selfless concern for others, and her commitment to teach the Bible to those who have not heard the Gospel. Kimberly and my son, Jonathan, make significant sacrifices that allow me to study archaeology. My times away during the Tel Gezer and Tel Hadid excavations over the past eight years have not been easy for them, but they have not complained. They are my loudest cheerleaders and most helpful critics. They love me unconditionally.
I am thankful to the faculty members of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary for the excellence they exhibit in the classroom and ministry acumen they display in the world. I am especially grateful to Dr. Dennis Cole, Dr. Jim Parker, Dr. Harold Mosley, Dr. Dan Warner, and Dr. Bill Warren for mentoring me in archaeology, anthropology, and biblical Hebrew. I am inspired by their knowledge and keen abilities.
I am also thankful to the following men and women who have encouraged me during this journey: Dr. Don Stewart, Dr. Rex Butler, Dr. Mike Edens, Dr. Dan Wilson, Dr. Adam Harwood, Dr. Philip Pinckard, Dr. Jody Dean, Slade Simons, Frank McCormack, Marilyn Stewart, Michelle Seal, Joe Fontenot, and the late Dr. Jerry Barlow. The kind words and encouragement of these brothers and sisters in Christ pulled me through difficult times and pushed me to strive for excellence and completion.
Special thanks to Dr. Cory Barnes, Dr. Jeff Audirsch, Dr. Jonathan Patterson, and Dr. Chet Roden. These men, who have attained a level of expertise in ancient Hebrew and biblical studies well beyond my ability, frequently lend an ear to my ideas and offer helpful critiques and suggestions that have improved my research and helped me become a better archaeologist. I not only respect their academic abilities, I value their friendship.
To Israeli archaeologists, Dr. Tsvka Tsuk, Dr. Eli Yannai, and Dr. Ido Koch, I say, “Shalom.” I am ever grateful for the patience and trust these men have shown me during the Tel Gezer Water System and Tel Hadid excavations. They selflessly taught me the science and art of archaeology and treated this “green” amateur like a colleague. They have not only welcomed me into their country, they welcomed me as a friend.
Last, but not least, I thank Dr. Chuck Kelley, NOBTS President, and Dr. Clay Corvin, former NOBTS Vice President of Business Affairs. These men have encouraged and assisted me in my study of archaeology and approved my participation in the Tel Gezer and Tel Hadid excavations (which keeps me from my day job at NOBTS for three weeks each summer). I will be ever grateful for opportunities these men have given me to study archaeology and excavate in Eretz Israel.