Of Great Value

Leaving a legacy of joyful service

Paul Petersen
Of Great Value
Photo: courtesy of the author

Since my conversion as a teen, I have never, if physically possible, said no when invited to tell others about Jesus or to teach from the Bible. I was only 17 when I preached my first sermon, and my subsequent life experience has given me tremendous joy, preaching and teaching on five world continents.

Now, age and health naturally bring limitations. I may be slowly fading away, as soldiers of the gospel do, yet I am happy still to contribute as much as circumstances allow. 

 I enjoy pastoring a church community of about 25 people in Denmark, where my family and I now live. Based on an idea from one of the members, a newly converted high-level attorney, we presently work on a series of podcasts on how God has spoken through the Bible, emulating the conversations the attorney experienced when deciding to become an Adventist.

My time is still occupied with seminars and sermons throughout Scandinavia. The most requested topics are the Trinity, Daniel, and how to read the Bible. International assignments have naturally become somewhat limited, but how fun it has been to preach online to a Ghanaian church in the Netherlands and to lecture to scholars in Peru and literature evangelists in Australia—albeit at times to the detriment of my nightly rest! Academically, being an associate editor of the new international Seventh-day Adventist commentary is a challenge, but also a great privilege.*

Some activities are performed from my home office. During COVID, my YouTube channel proved beneficial for many people. I committed many hours to quarterly Bible studies. Called “Tidbits,” my handle, @biblewithpaulpetersen, contains series of comments for the Sabbath School lesson study in both Danish and English, introduces such biblical books as Genesis, Hebrews, Daniel, Deuteronomy, Psalms, etc., in the Danish version, and is often accompanied by written material on the Internet.

Another satisfying experience has been to author and publish the story of Revelation for children, written in poetry, with illustrations of happiness and joy, rather than of darkness and gloom. Entitled The Prisoner on Patmos, the book has sold quite well. One of the readers is a non-Adventist classmate from my teen years. When I visited her, it was an encouragement to see the book still on her coffee table and to hear how she and her husband, with their grandchildren, loved the book. 

How can a retiree contribute? Staying positive, sharing the joy of being a friend with Jesus and the wonders of the Word of God, is a blessing for retirees themselves, and it may be of great value to younger generations to experience how we old folks joyfully, with wisdom and understanding, support the church and love Jesus till the end. 

* The commentary on Habakkuk and Acts are in production for future release.

Paul Petersen

Paul Petersen, Ph.D., has served the Seventh-day Adventist Church in a variety of leadership roles throughout his career. Before retiring in 2021, he was the chair of the Religion Department and professor of Hebrew Bible at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA. He writes from Denmark.