The Apologetics Study Bible Tour to Israel in 2020


Have you always wanted to see the Holy Land?

Would you like to walk where Jesus walked?

Do you have a thirst to learn more about the Bible?

Coming in the winter of 2020…a trip that will forever change the way you read your Bible

If you would like to get information via email when this trip becomes available, please email Eric (eric at mrm dot org) and he will add you to the list. There will be a special rebate incentive for those who are on this list and sign up in the first month after the trip is announced in January 2019.

The rest of this page will be revised in January 2019. Stay tuned!


While the trip has not been officially planned, the plans have begun. Join MRM’s Eric Johnson, trip organizer, as we visit incredible places in the Holy Land:

  • Archaeologist Joel Kramer leads us for 3 days!
  • Sea of Galilee boat ride
  • Baptisms in Jordan River
  • Hike to Qumran Cave 1
  • Rabbi Tour of Western Wall
  • Camel ride in the desert
  • Valley of Elah (David/Goliath)
  • Communion service at Garden Tomb
  • Masada
  • Hezekiah’s Tunnel
  • And much more!

Actual comments from previous travelers

“This trip has so much power to change you!”

“The thrill of walking where Jesus walked and seeing the hills that Jesus preached from…it changes the way you read the Bible. It’s definitely worth it!”

“My experience on this trip was unlike any other. I will never forget what I saw and felt as we took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee — I knew I was seeing the same things that Jesus Himself saw. This was the trip of a lifetime and it was worth every cent!”

“There are no words to express the appreciation we have for this most outstanding trip-of-a-lifetime. Our hearts and minds are overflowing with new, deeper knowledge of the land and history of our precious Savior and Father. All glory to Him!!” Passenger on the 2018 trip

Click here for a letter written to Eric and Maranatha on 3/6/2017 by a passenger on the 2017 trip.

Videos from Ritch Sandford







Special features about this tripIMG

  • Air transportation from LAX or Chicago–your choice
  • Full-time guide / bus / driver
  • 3- and 4-star hotels
  • All admission fees
  • 2 meals a day, breakfast and dinner buffet
  • A St. Peter’s fish lunch
  • Travel Diary of the Holy Land, specifically for your trip (designed and produced by Eric Johnson–see the diary from the 2015 trip to your right)
  • Email correspondence throughout the trip from Eric Johnson, including teaching, tips, video links, etc
  • Joel Kramer DVD–Jericho Unearthed
  • A 50-day Devotional Preparation Guide (given PDF)
  • And so much more!

What does the price of the trip include?

Space on this trip is limited–A $500 nonrefundable deposit is required to sign up, with the rest is due at the end of December.

Maranatha Tours has been guiding trips to the Holy Land since 1974. This is a Christian company and they do everything right! If you would like more information about this trip, you can contact them by phone at 602-788-8864. Tell them you are signing up for the February 2018 Apologetics Study Bible Tour to the Holy Land with Eric Johnson. For more information, feel free to write Eric at eric at mrm dot org

Check out our article 7 reasons why you ought to consider coming to the Holy Land

About Joel KramerDSC04326

Joel Kramer has led a life of adventure. (If you doubt this, just read his 2001 book Beyond Fear: A Harrowing Journey Across New Guinea through Rivers, Swamps, Jungle, and the Most Remote Mountains in the World).  Joel has produced a number of feature-length and short-length videos on a number of topics, including Mormonism, polygamy, the Worldwide Church of God, and archaeology. (You can see his DVDs on Joel served as a pastor at the Brigham City Main Street Church before moving to Israel about a decade ago. Joel has studied archaeology at schools in Israel and has worked hands-on with top-notch archaeologists, including Shimon Gibson. In late 2016, Joel and his family will move to Jordan for a short time, but in February 2017 he will return for a few days so he can take us to fascinating sites such as Jericho, Jacob’s Well, and Shiloh. In the previous five trips organized by Eric Johnson, Joel has spoken to the travelers or guided us, and he is somebody you don’t want to miss!

Do we need passports, visas, and shots?

Passports, YES! Your passport should not expire before October 2018 or you will need to renew it. You can apply for a passport at your local post office. Do yourself a favor and obtain this before 2018! Sometimes passport deliveries are delayed and you don’t want to risk it. As far visas and shots, the answer is no to both!

Do we need the insurance policy?

I highly recommend it! This policy has several different coverages. First, it is a medical insurance policy. On two trips, I have had people trip and break or sprain their ankles. One lady’s emergency room doctor’s bill in 2017 was $1300 alone! And then the insurance paid for 4 days the tourist was not able to come with the group, resulting in a refund of over $1,000! Second, it is good for a traveler having to cancel because of a medical issue, such as the traveler getting sick or hurt in the weeks preceding the departure date–doctor’s note required. Third, it covers in cases of the trip getting cancelled because of something like a political issue, a natural disaster, etc. Fourth, it cover something such as a lost or broken suitcase. My suitcase was broken by the airline  in 2013 and I filed a claim. I received $200 for a suitcase that I purchased for $10 at a garage sale–I was paid for what the suitcase was worth. In six trips to the Holy Land, I’ve only had one suitcase lost (in 2009), and the company paid for a full replacement of the suitcase and the possessions. For $240, this is the best peace of mind students and parents could ever spend!

What about safety?

I have to be honest, I feel much more safe in Israel, even in the West Bank, than I do in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Washington DC, and yes, even El Cajon! Nobody on my trips has ever felt threatened. I will talk more about safety in the organizational meetings, but please know that, as far as I understand it, no American tourist has been killed or even seriously injured for decades by any terrorist activity while going on a pilgrimage to Israel. The entire time we are in Israel, safety will be our highest priority. If anything is ever happens in a particular area during our trip, we will avoid that place–the guide will be in constant communication with the authorities. We will let the students be aware of possible pickpocket activity in Jerusalem, but honestly there has only been one time in all my trips where anyone has been pickpocketed…and because the student listened to me, her wallet was safe in her buttoned pocket and the pickpocket only got five Kleenex tissues! Also understand that security is all around us, especially in sensitive areas such as Temple Mount and the Western Wall. And security is tighter in the Ben Gurion Airport than anywhere in the world. You and your children will be as safe as possible and much safer than if they were in London, Paris, or Rome. At the bottom of this page, click on “Is it safe to travel in Israel?” as delivered by CUSSD board member Thad (and Melissa) Rothrock in 2012–they will be returning to Israel in 2018–and “Em Patton and Elle McFarland…”

About trip organizer Eric Johnson:

Photo to the left: Eric with daughters Janelle (now a University of Utah junior) and Carissa (CHS, class of 2010, now employed by Liberty University in Virginia and soon-to-be English teacher at a Christian school) stand on the Mount of Olives overlooking the old city of Jerusalem.

Eric Johnson graduated from Christian High (El Cajon) in 1980. In 1993, he returned to the school as a teacher, serving the Home of the Patriots for 17 years as the Bible department head, Genesis adviser, and JV softball coach. In 2009, he organized his first Holy Land adventure for 45 students, teachers, and parents. This was the first of six trips that he led. In fact, more than 200 people, including a dozen pastors, have traveled to the Holy Land with him. They have learned how the Bible speaks about real people and real places while describing historical events. Eric believes that everyone should come to the Holy Land and experience this incredible place for themselves in order to make the Bible come alive. Reading God’s Word will never be the same!

Eric is married to Terri (29 years) and has three daughters. After teaching at CHS for 17 years, he moved to Utah in order to become a full-time Christian missionary to the Mormon people. (Shadow Mountain Community Church is an official supporter of MRM’s President and Founder, Bill McKeever.) He received his Master’s of Divinity degree in 1991 and has written several books, including Answering Mormons Questions (with Bill McKeever, Kregel, 2013), Mormonism 101 (with Bill McKeever, Baker Books, 2015), and Mormonism 101 for Teens (MRM, 2016). He is the co-editor of a book that will be released in 2018 titled Sharing the Good News with Mormons(Harvest House). He is a regular contributor to the Christian Research Journal and was a contributor for the Apologetics Study Bible for Students (Holman, 2010). Since 2015 he has taught at Alta Christian Seminary (for high school students), which he and a local pastor founded. The class gathers twice a week before school begins at Alta High School in Sandy, UT to study the Bible and apologetics.

Photo to the left:Eric stands in front of the Pontius Pilate inscription and the Caiphas family ossuary located in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Photo to the right: Eric and daughter Hannah on the CHS/CVCS trip in 2011 after Hannah’s baptism in the Jordan River

Previous trips to Israel taken by Eric Johnson

  • 1990 (passenger on a tour led by Dr. Ronald Youngblood, my professor at Bethel Seminary San Diego and a translator of the 1978 New International Version — see photo at right)
  • 2009 (CHS): 47 students, teachers, parents, staff from Christian High School (CHS) in El Cajon, CA in April
  • 2011 38 students, teachers, parents, staff from three different Christian high schools in March (with Joel Kramer)
  • 2012 (CHS): 43 students, teachers, parents, staff from CHS in March (with Joel Kramer)
  • 2013 (Adult): 45 adult travelers, including several pastors in February (with Joel Kramer)
  • 2015 (Adult): 18 adult travelers in February (with Joel Kramer)
  • 2017 (Adult): 55 adult travelers in February, including five pastors (Feb-March 2017) (with Joel Kramer)
  • 2018 (Adult): 27 adult travelers in February, including members from Clairemont Emmanuel Baptist Church in San Diego (with Joel Kramer)
  • 2018 (CHS/CVCS) 57 students and parents from two different Christian schools  in March (with Joel Kramer)

Please, I encourage you to talk to anyone who has been on one of my previous trips and they will tell you, “Go!” It will be something you never regret.

Check out these videos taken on the 2017 Apologetics Bible Tour to the Holy Land! (sites on the 2018 itinerary)

An interview with two students who traveled with me in 2011

Joel Kramer speaks at Cave 1 in Qumran (the exact place the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered) on our trip in 2015