John M.G. Barclay’s New Grace Book —Coming Nov 2020

In 2015, Prof. John Barclay wrote Paul and the Gift (Eerdmans), an important monograph that rocked Pauline studies and has widely been hailed the most important book on Paul in the last two decades.

In 2020, Barclay will publish another book on the theme of grace. From what I can gather, this book revisits and summarizes his key arguments (it is much shorter than PatG), and Barclay engages with the critical feedback he has received in the last few years. If you read Paul and the Gift, you will be interested in the way Barclay responds to the ongoing conversation about Pauline theology. If you did not read Paul and the Gift, this book will serve as a nice condensed summary (it would seem).

The title of the new book is Paul and the Power of Grace (Eerdmans, Nov 2020).



Exciting Theological Conference at Wheaton June 8-10

This summer I will be attending the “Honor-Shame Conference” at Wheaton College, June 8-10. Plenary speakers include people like John M. G. Barclay (Durham) and Sheryl Takagi Silzer (SIL).

There are a number of biblical scholars and theologians leading breakout sessions including: Joshua Jipp (TEDS), Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen (Fuller), and E. Randolph Richards (Palm Beach Atlantic), and I will be presenting as well. Please join us for this worthwhile conference!

My session information is below. It relates to my new book, Paul and the Language of Faith.

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Notes from an Editor: How to Get Your Academic Article Published PART 2

This is part 2 of a new blog series. For part 1, the advice was: Choose Your Journal Wisely.

My second “note” is this: 

Great articles offer convincing solutions to clear problems.

Often, when I find myself uninterested in or unconvinced by an article, the author has made one of two mistakes (or, maybe, both!)

#1: The problem is (a) not clear, (b) not really a problem, or (c) of very little interest or consequence

#2: The solution is (a) not clear, (b) not really a solution, or (c) not original (or not original enough to merit publication)

To get to a place where you are writing “great” articles, then, it requires careful mapping or planning: Can I identify the problem? Can I articulate the problem in a short sentence or two (for my own clarification, but also to put eventually into an abstract). You should be able to separate your problem portion of your article and have a colleague read it. Can they summarize the “problem” as you have articulated it?

When it comes to solutions, these tend to be easier to identify, but the challenge comes with originality. The author needs to be tuned into the relevant scholarship and able to show how their own solution adds something significant and new to the conversation in such a way that it helps to resolve the problem.

There is a key truth underlying all of this, something that scholars don’t always understand: Articles don’t have to be esoteric to be “academic.” Keep it simple: clear problem –> convincing solution.

Where do you start?

For me, it starts with having a very simple and clear outline of the article that I fill in as I research and write. The outline often (not always) moves from introduction –> problem statement –> (brief) engagement with existing scholarship –> solution statement –> Solution arguments –> clear, but relatively brief summary

Don’t ramble, stick to the plan, clear problem, original solution—easy, right? 🙂





Notes from an Editor: How to Get Your Academic Article Published Part 1

Dec 1, 2019, I was honored to take over editorship duties of Bulletin for Biblical Research, a periodical under the auspices of Institute for Biblical Research. BBR has been around for over a quarter of a century and has consistently produced fine articles and publishes numerous insightful book reviews. If you aren’t a regular reader, check BBR out.

As I have learned how to navigate the BBR editorial process, it has given me pause to consider my own experience of publishing academic articles. I have had some success in this area, but also many rejections—more than I care to admit. Some “rejects” were eventually published in less prestigious journals, others never made it into the published world. Now that I am on the “other side” (in the editor’s role), I see more clearly some of the mistakes I made as an early career writer. Thus, I am launching a blog series geared towards helping academics improve their chances of getting their articles accepted (at BBR—please do send your best work to us!—and also elsewhere).

Choose Your Journal Wisely

There are many good biblical studies journals out there, but each of them has their unique niche or preferred sub-disciplines. Selecting carefully which journal you send your article will save you time and needless rejection. Do not take the shotgun approach and randomly choose your “favorite” journal. Do a bit of research on the best “fit” for your article.

Check journal descriptions

Read the journal’s description on its webpage. This will give you a good sense of its orientation.

Examine the editorial board members

This is going to give you the best sense of whether your work resonates with the journal. Are the board members the kind of people you are citing and interacting with?

Read recent issues

For the main 2-3 journals you are considering, read the last few issues to see what kinds of topics and methods are commonly employed. This will give you a good sense of “fit.” You might even want to do a search for whether that journal has treated your passage or topic before.

Phone a Friend

Recently I wrote an academic article and I was considering which journal to send it to. I had a text conversation with my buddy John Goodrich (who has significant experience in getting articles accepted in world-class journals). He helped me sort out which journal(s) to prioritize. That conversation brought clarity to my decision.