M. Van Zyl would have died of diphtheria at age nine if a doctor had not
made a surprise stop at the remote farm and saved his life with an emergency
tracheotomy. This miracle made Jacob consider a pastoral ministry. However, there was no
money for the full-time seven-year study. His parents still struggled to
overcome the devastating after-effects of the Great Depression and World War
II. When his dad's boss offered Jacob an interest-free study loan he knew
that God has opened the way once again.
He studied Hebrew,
Greek, theology, and psychology. He pastured two local churches for several
years. He has practiced pastoral counseling with individuals, couples and
groups in churches and clinics for over thirty years. He received the degree
D.Phil. in psychology for his research on the self-concept.
Thinking of the recent
past, Jacob says, "When I 'retired' God gave me the toughest assignment
of my life: Studying the whole Bible, chapter by chapter, trusting the guidance of
the Holy Spirit, reading commentaries, extracting the
messages of each section, and putting it in my own words to share it with
And so a trilogy was
The Yearning of Yahveh (on the Old Testament),
The Yoke of Yeshua
(on the four gospels), and
The Yeast of Yerushalaim (covering Acts to
Jacob admits, "I have discovered many treasures hidden
in the field that I have passed over before. This mammoth task has been a profound blessing to myself, and I hope it will be
of lasting value to many others as well."
As counselor, Jacob puts
himself into the shoes of his clients, and as Bible student, he puts
himself into the shoes of Bible characters. His training and experience in
both theology and psychology show in his understanding of the Bible
(its language, events, and messages) and in his understanding of people
(their views, attitudes and actions).
His main passion
as counselor was assisting the burdened to triumph over trials. In
his Bible-studies, he combined his knowledge of scripture and human nature
to help people in their daily struggles. His novels, The Broken Spear
and The Baker of Capernaum aims to inspire
victims to be victorious.
Excerpts (and the first
50 pages) from the Bible-studies are
published on this web site. Click on the
Home button on the
left to get more information about the books and the author.
Jacob welcomes feedback from readers. If you have a question or a comment,
or if you need more info on a certain subject, click on the