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Behind the Scenes at Philadelphia Eagles Bible Study: God is at Work

by | Nov 29, 2017 | Football Blogs, Headlines, RRSN News | 0 comments

Behind the Scenes at Philadelphia Eagles Bible Study: God is at Work
By Tom Rust
It’s been a tumultuous year in the National Football League. The league has been
dominated by stories of players kneeling in protest of the national anthem, incidents of
domestic violence and numerous suspensions of players involving various drug
infractions. In addition, the owners have been squabbling with commissioner Roger
Goodell and fans are increasingly tired of all the negativity. Positive stories have been
rare. One overlooked example involves the Philadelphia Eagles.
The 2017 Eagles are a definite Super Bowl contender running away with their division.
They are led by a young quarterback named Carson Wentz. Wentz is a second-year
quarterback out of North Dakota State University. In his rookie year of 2016, Wentz
broke numerous NFL and Eagles records for a rookie. He’s already being compared to
future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. What is not being mentioned is Wentz’ deep spiritual
roots. In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, he told the reporter, “If you love
your job, you love your wife, and you love what you do, you’re going to talk about. Well,
I love Jesus.” And Wentz is not alone. The Eagles have a strong group of men involved
in a heavy-duty Bible study that goes beyond kneeling in the end zone or pointing to
heaven when you score a touchdown.
According to author Josh Cooley the Eagles Bible study is far different from Bible
studies or chapels found on other NFL teams. In Cooley’s words, “What distinguishes
the Eagle’s group is the players’ uncompromising pursuit of biblical truth, deep theology,
genuine accountability and gospel fueled charity. They’re not interested in status-quo
spirituality.” Cooley should know. He has spent time with several Eagles’ players and is
currently writing a book about the intersection of faith and sports.
Wentz is probably the highest profile player of this group, and maybe the most sought
after, even down to his looks. With his helmet off, he is a dead ringer for England’s
Prince Harry. But the group’s leader may be veteran quarterback Nick Foles.
In 2013, Foles was a star in his own right. After the Eagles had a terrible season in 2013
when they went 4-12, Foles led the Eagles to a 10-6 record in 2013 and a spot in the
playoffs. His best game may have come against the Oakland Raiders, where he threw
for an NFL record seven touchdowns. However, Foles spiritual leadership showed in
2012 when he arrived in the Eagles. According to Cooley, “Things really took off when
Foles arrived as a rookie and worked with teammates to get more buy-in.” In 2015,
Foles was traded to the St. Louis Rams and later played for the Kansas City Chiefs.
This year, though, he returned to the Eagles as a backup quarterback, and the Bible
study is as strong as ever.
Among other players involved are tight end Zach Ertz, safety Chris Maragos and
another tight end, Trey Burton. According to Cooley’s article, Bible study is paramount
among these players. Carson Wentz says, “If you are not rooted in God’s Word, this
world will eat you up.” Maragos counts Romans 8 as his favorite, and Nick Foles lives
by 2 Corinthians 12:9. Around the time Foles was traded to St. Louis his wife was
diagnosed with some serious health issues which tested their faith. According to
Cooley, “Foles was buoyed by Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:9, But he said to me,
my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
No one is saying the Eagles will win the Super Bowl because of this but their
togetherness has contributed to team unity. Another member of this close-knit group
was wide receiver Jordan Mathews. Mathews was traded to the Buffalo Bills before the
season began and according to Cooley, it hit the team hard. Matthews and Wentz had
traveled to Haiti on a relief mission.
It is great to know that behind the scenes, in the NFL and in other sports, God is at
work. Though these players aren’t perfect, their time as players is being directed by
spiritual leaders who understand the true meaning of life, and can be example of fans
young and old who want to cheer for a true winner. And their strength doesn’t just come
from time in the training room or on the practice field, but from God’s Word.
Zach Ertz was quoted this way in Bible Study magazine. “I need to be in the living word.
No matter what season I’m going through in life, it allows me to learn what grace we
have all received and what Jesus Christ did for all of us.”