Ready to take the deep dive into learning more about the Holy Land in a museum setting? Did you know you don’t even need to leave Texas to do such a thing!
You can visit the Joshua, Judges, and Jesus (3J) museum in the Greater Houston area and learn about 170 artifacts the museum currently has on display from the biblical periods of Joshua’s conquest, the Judges and monarchy period, the time of Alexander the Great, and into the life of Jesus and the first century.
The idea for the museum originally came to its founders during the COVID pandemic, when so many tours to Israel and archaeological excavations were cancelled due to the global health crisis. We spoke with museum co-director Jordan McClinton, 43, of Katy, Texas to learn more about the museum and his experience as a Texan. The display is part of the Bible Seminary in Katy.
How exactly did this museum come to be and what is it all about?
We thought that if people could not get to the Holy Land, then we would bring the Holy Land to Texas. Half of the artifacts on display in our museum have been excavated by Dr. Scott Stripling and our team at The Associates for Biblical Research. The other half have been loaned to us by our gracious museum partners: The Dorsey Museum, The Horn Museum, and The University of Pikeville. As one enters the museum, he or she first encounters the actual socket stones from the gate complex at the fortress of Ai mentioned in Joshua 7–8. As guests continue though the museum, they will see artifacts like ancient oil lamps, a large Israelite storage jar, multiple coins that show a representation of every ruler mentioned in the New Testament, an extremely moving crucifixion exhibit, and many others.
Tell us about your personal background and how you got involved with this project?
I have been serving in ministry for the past 11 years as one of the Pastors at The Waters Church in Katy, Texas. I have always wanted to further my understanding of the biblical text and the culture of the ancient people written about in the Bible. I came across The Bible Seminary (TBS), and the Lord opened an opportunity for me to pursue a Master of Arts degree in Biblical History and Archaeology. Once I graduated from TBS, I was immediately accepted into a PhD program in Biblical History and Archaeology at Veritas International University.
I have been on numerous excavations in the Holy Land and am currently digging at the biblical site of Shiloh, which connects very well to the time of Joshua and the Judges. Co-directing the 3J museum has provided an incredible opportunity to do one of the things I love the most…teaching people about the ancient history of the Bible. The 3J museum was my master’s degree final capstone project. Dr. Stripling and I worked to design and set up the museum, including the creation of signage, the assembly of all the exhibits and the writing and editing of our museum guidebook.
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Can you tell us why you choose to live in Texas and what you love about it and why it’s the perfect place to do this work?
I was blessed to have been born and raised in the great state of Texas. I have lived in the Houston/Katy area for most of my life and get asked this question quite a bit by people who have recently moved to Texas. My answer is simple…I love people, and Texas has the best people on the planet. I love living, raising my family, and working in the great state of Texas.
What do you love about your city in particular?
Katy Texas is a wonderful place to live. It is a fast-growing town/suburb of west Houston. Katy still has somewhat of a small-town feel, while providing all the amenities of a big city, and it is only a 30-minute drive into downtown Houston to catch an Astros, Rockets, or Texans game. Those who move to Katy tend to quickly become infected with the kindness and generosity of the people living here. I am absolutely blessed to live and raise my family here in Katy Texas.
What do you want outsiders or people considering moving to Texas to know about the state?
Welcome to Texas! We love our state, and we love our country. Texans have an understandable pride about this great state, and we love to share its beauty and culture with the rest of the world.
What is special about Texas in your opinion compared to other states?
I love how geographically and culturally diverse the state of Texas is. We have beaches in the south, the hill country in the center, piney woods in the east, plains in the north and desert and mountains in the west. Texas also has an incredibly diverse population that allows for a wonderful melding of each individual culture into our Texas culture.
Why did you stay in Texas as opposed to moving away?
Everything I needed was right here in Texas. We have a strong economy and workforce as well as strong family values. I couldn’t imagine a better place to live and raise my family.
What are your top five places to visit in Texas?
- Guadalupe Mountains – West Texas
- Davis Mountains – West Texas
- Fredericksburg/Enchanted Rock – Central Texas
- South Padre Island – South Texas
- Nacogdoches Texas – East Texas
The Joshua, Judges, and Jesus Museum is a free exhibit in Katy, Texas, that walks visitors through the history of the Bible. A peek at the Holy Land in Texas. The museum is located on the campus of The Bible Seminary in Katy and will be open through the end of 2023. Visit thebibleseminary.edu/3j to schedule a personal tour, watch our virtual tour, or purchase merchandise.