Endorsements for The State of New Testament Studies

Excited to report that The State of New Testament Studies (Baker) is officially out now! Here are the endorsements:


“The vast number of studies on the New Testament can lead to despair, but these essays come to the rescue. They provide an entry point for the major topics, summarize the breadth of the contributions (both the helpful and the unusual), and provide the bibliographic resources by which one may proceed.”

Klyne Snodgrass, professor emeritus of New Testament, North Park Theological Seminary

“As the fleet of specialized disciplines within New Testament studies sails forward into waters unknown, we need to know where we’ve come from, where we’re heading, and what kind of boat we’re in. Thankfully, McKnight and Gupta have marshaled an impressive and diverse array of scholars who can give us an updated report from the crow’s nest.”

Nicholas Perrin, president, Trinity International University

“Rich in resources and thorough in content, The State of New Testament Studies offers a vital resource for the new millennium. From sage established scholars and rising stars of the next generation, readers learn the recent history of the field. These new vistas in methodology create fresh insights into and applications of the text. I will certainly put this into the hands of my students and keep it easily accessible for myself.”

Amy Peeler, associate professor of New Testament, Wheaton College

“What a remarkable achievement and welcome contribution! When I was finishing my PhD and applying for jobs, I devoured Osborne and McKnight’s The Face of New Testament Studies to make sure I would have a general, up-to-date understanding of the parts of the New Testament that my own narrow research had inevitably missed. With that book as the original inspiration, McKnight and Gupta have gathered a thoughtful range of scholars to provide a needed, current ‘state of the art’ discussion of the New Testament. This will be a valuable resource for years to come.”

Jonathan T. Pennington, associate professor of New Testament and director of research doctoral studies, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Sketching a generalized picture of the journey of New Testament scholarship to date is initially a daunting and precarious task. Yet these essays, by drawing on a breadth and depth of scholarship, by asking the right questions, and by curating new ones, have accomplished it superbly! This collection not only reminds Bible students of the need to rehearse, rethink, and re-evaluate the landscape of scholarly discourse in the field but also offers excellent critical resources to do so. Readers at all levels who value the importance of situating New Testament research on the historical bedrock of scholarly insight will find this compendium deeply satisfying.”

Andrew Boakye, lecturer in religions and theology, University of Manchester

The State of New Testament Studies: Michael Gorman on Pauline Theology

SNTSThe last little interview in our The State of New Testament Studies teaser is with Dr. Michael J. Gorman. Gorman is America’s leading expert on Pauline theology, and he wrote a spectacular essay for the book.

NKG: Why are you interested in Pauline theology?

MJG: Since I first came to faith, I have resonated deeply with Paul’s life, spirituality, and theology. It is impossible to over-estimate the significance of Paul and of Pauline theology for the field of biblical studies, and for the life of the Christian church. Indeed, Pauline theology is such a significant part of Christian theology that it deserves the most sustained and careful exploration possible.

NKG: How has the discipline of Pauline theology changed over the last twenty years or so?

MJG: The field of Pauline theology is a fascinating one, with a constant stream of intriguing developments and even new perspectives. I do think there is now a greater sense of “both-and” rather than “either-or” among some voices in the conversation. It is exciting and fun both to be part of these developments and to try to write up an account of them. But, frankly, the process is a bit like herding cats: as soon as you have a few participants somewhat “under control,” they shift position, other participants move in unexpected directions, and new participants appear. It’s all good! It is especially exciting to see the emergence of highly significant contributions from the Majority World.

NKG: Can you recommend one or two important books in the current study of Pauline theology?

MJG: One or two out of scores??!! I might give pride of place to Tom Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God for its breadth and depth, and to John Barclay’s Paul and the Gift for its innovation and potential to alter the field dramatically. But I would also keep a close eye on Paul, a New Covenant Jew: Rethinking Pauline Theology by Brant Pitre, Michael Barber, and John Kincaid. I think they “get” Paul with extraordinary insight. 

NKG: And let’s not forget your own new book Participating in Christ (Baker, 2019)! Aside from this excellent new book (which I happily endorsed it), what else is keeping you busy these days?

MJG: I am currently working on the third edition of Elements of Biblical Exegesis (due out in a year), a short commentary on Romans, some articles for the second edition of The Dictionary of Paul and his Letters, and a book on non-Pauline theologies and spiritualities in the NT.

The State of New Testament Studies: Joshua Jipp on Acts

SNTSWe have been working through a set of interviews of some contributors writing for the soon-coming The State of New Testament StudiesToday, I invite you to get to know Dr. Joshua Jipp (TEDS). Joshua wrote the chapter in SNTS on Acts.

NKG: Why are you interested in the book of Acts?

JJ: My essay is, of course, entirely biased in terms of what I have found to be the most interesting, illuminating, and helpful recent scholarship on Acts. While there are many other important topics and scholars that I have not engaged, my choice of Acts and 1) Judaism, 2) Greco-Roman religion, 3) Masculinity and Ethnic Reasoning, and 4) Acts and the Divine reflects at least a few of the most important research topics on Acts.

NKG: How has the study of Acts evolved over the last twenty years?


JJ: We have seen 1) A more positive assessment of Luke’s relationship to Judaism; 2) New questions and methods – for example, scholarship on gender, masculinity, and ethnic reasoning in Acts is, in part, the result of the rise of new methods and questions that have centered upon how discourse and ideology is related to power and control. 3) A more nuanced account of the early Christian movement’s relationship to broader “Greco-Roman” culture – and one that emphasizes both critique/disruption as well as assimilation.

NKG: Can you recommend one or two books on Acts?

JJ: On Acts and Judaism – Isaac Oliver’s Torah Praxis after 70 CE and Matthew Thiessen’s book on Circumcision;

On Acts and Greco-Roman religion  – Kavin Rowe’s World Upside Down and Todd Penner Caroline VanderStichele, Contextualizing Acts.

On Acts and Masculinity and Ethnicity – Brittany Wilson’s UnManly Men; Eric Barreto’s Ethnic Negotiations, Willie Jennings commentary on Acts. I guess that’s seven.

NKG:  What else are you writing these days?

JJ: I’m close to turning in a manuscript to Eerdmans on the Messianic Theology of the New Testament. And soon starting to turn to a project on Paul, Hellenistic Philosophy, and positive psychology related to the topic of “Paul and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

An Open Letter to John MacArthur (re: Beth Moore)

Recently John MacArthur commented that Beth Moore (Christian leader and teacher) should “go home.” As I have pondered this over the last few days, I wondered what Paul would say to John. So, I wrote an open letter.

An Open Letter from the Apostle Paul to John MacArthur (re: Beth Moore)

John, I appreciate the love you have for the Lord and the passion you have for the church. I know that you think that the world would be a better place if women did as they were told and “stayed home.” But I need to tell you that you are damaging my ministry with these notions. The great gospel mission cannot impact the world in the ways God has planned if you hold back the kingdom’s servants. “The fields are ripe and the work is great,” Jesus used to say. Women have played such a crucial role in my apostolic mission, I could not operate without their wisdom, partnership and leadership.

They can’t go home, there is simply too much at stake, John.

Euodia and Syntyche (Phil 4:2-3) can’t go home. Sometimes these women don’t get along, but they have been leaders in evangelism and outreach and have worked alongside me to fight for the faith. They have to journey beyond their doorsteps to do this work.

Junia can’t go home, John. Sorry, she is in prison (again) because of her work for the gospel out there in the world (Rom 16:7). In fact, the other apostles have some pretty amazing things to say about her ministry.

Phoebe can’t go home, John. She went to Rome—actually, I sent here there (Rom 16:1-2). I sent her with my letter to the Romans and also to provide ministry support there. 

It might provide a little comfort to you that I sent Nympha to her home in Lycus Valley (Col 4:15); not to do domestic duties (she has servants for that), but to be the house church leader and patroness. 

John, we must part with any sentimental or nostalgic notions of womanhood where women sweep and cook while the men do the “real work” of ministry. I wish you could meet with the women who contend alongside me as co-workers of the gospel mission: they are gifted, wise, and brave (when was the last time you were in prison?). 

John, I know you care about the gospel, and we can’t do the work with one hand tied behind our backs. The gospel of Jesus Christ is just too important. Let the Phoebes, Junias, Euodias, Syntyches, and Nymphas do their work—and you do yours too.

Grace to you, John, and let others also know you are a grace-filled believer as well (remember: grace is generosity mixed with love out of the compassion of Christ) 

Paul, slave of Jesus Christ

The State of New Testament Studies: Dennis Edwards on Hermeneutics

SNTSDr. Dennis Edwards (North Park Theological Seminary) has written the essay on trends in exegesis and hermeneutics in The State of New Testament Studies (Baker, 2019, coming in November). Dr. Edwards has extensive experience in ministry as a pastor for the Covenant church. He is also the author of the 1 Peter volume in the Story of God Commentary series.

NKG: Dr. Edwards, why are you interested in modern trends and currents in exegesis and biblical hermeneutics?

DRE: More people of color are engaging in scholarly biblical study and I am curious about the impact of that research in the academy as well as local congregations

NKG: Can you give us a description or illustration of how this has changed over the last twenty years?

DRE: What could be called “postmodern hermeneutics” has exploded. Theological interpretation continues to evolve and grow in interest. People of color are bringing fresh eyes to biblical texts, often pushing against traditional (i.e., white European) interpretations. 

NKG: Can you recommend a book or two that has been important in hermeneutics?

DRE: My essay (in The State of New Testament Studies) touches on many different approaches to the Bible, so it is hard to pick just one or two. However, I’ll note that Cain Hope Felder’s Troubling Biblical Waters (1990) began the work of defining African American biblical interpretation. Stephen Fowl (a Roman Catholic) and Kevin Vanhoozer (reformed Presbyterian) have written much on Theological Interpretation of Scripture. A key book in Womanist Biblical Interpretation is Jacquelyn Grant’s White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus: Feminist Christology and Womanist Response (1989). 

NKG: What else are you working on these days?

DRE: Regarding academic work, I’m working on an essay on slavery, an essay on Colossians/Philemon, and a book on race and ethnicity.

NKG: Thanks, Dr. Edwards! I am excited to have your excellent essay in SNTS and I know many people will benefit from it.


The State of New Testament Studies: Mariam Kovalishyn on James

SNTSWe have been working through a set of interviews of some contributors writing for the soon-coming The State of New Testament StudiesToday, I am pleased to bring you a short word from Regent College professor Dr. Mariam Kovalishyn. I have known Mariam for several years and I have admired her work on James, especially her excellent commentary work.

Without further ado…

NKG: Why are you interested in James?

MK: I’ve been in love with the epistle of James for nearly 20 years now, so it was a natural fit. I love the practical nature of the epistle, combined with a deep theology of the goodness of God that calls his people to reflect his image into our world.

NKG: Question #2: Can you give a very brief description of how your discipline (related to your essay) has changed over the last 20 years? (1 short paragraph sentences)

MK: The biggest illustration, perhaps, is that in this volume is an essay on the epistle of James, whereas in the prior volume was an essay on the person of James. In many ways we’ve largely agreed that, whether or not he wrote it, the epistle refers back to James the brother of Jesus, and so have moved on. There is a deepening interest in the influences on the epistle, whether Jesus, or prophetic literature, or Greco-Roman literature. There is also a delightful growing recognition of the theological voice of the epistle.

NKG: Can you recommend a book of influence on James? 

MK: Richard Bauckham’s James: Wisdom of James, disciple of Jesus the Sage — wildly influential in helping people understand how James relates to its source materials and has changed the conversation from looking for precise quotations in the text to seeing how it adapts its materials for its own use.

NKG: What else are you busy with these days? 

MK: Teaching a book study on James, 1-2 Peter, and Jude this semester, so that’s delightfully apropos. Out of my passion for James has been a desire to work on a biblical theology of social justice, as well, trying to look at both why “believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ” should care about justice and what it looks like biblically. Now I just need to find time to actually *write* my thoughts down…


Paul and the Giants of Philosophy: An Interview with Co-Editor Joseph R. Dodson

PGPIf you follow me on social media, you might know that I am really excited about the new book, Paul and the Giants of Philosophy, edited by Joseph R. Dodson and David E. Briones. I have a short essay in this work, and I have had a chance to read some of the other essays. It is an excellent comparative study, bringing the Apostle Paul into conversation with the moralists and big thinkers of his time. Below is a bit more about one of the editors, Joseph aka “Joey” Dodson (who I am going to hang out with this weekend, as it happens!).

NKG: How did you become interested in the subject of Paul and ancient philosophers?

 JRD: I became enamored with Socrates and Plato in ninth-grade when Mr. Gilmore lectured on their lives and works. I doubt Mr. Gilmore was familiar with N.T. Wright’s comment about Plato being the “New Testament” for the people in the first century, but Mr. Gilmore said something similar. “Socrates was like the Greek Jesus, and Plato’s books were kinda like the Greek Bible.” Intrigued, I checked out my library’s dusty copy of The Republic. Being one of those too-cool-for-school popular kids (e.g., an athlete, the prom king and most of the other John Hughes’ stereotypes), I remember hiding The Republic between the seats in my truck to keep my friends from seeing it so as not to ruin my reputation. Since I was also a part of an anti-intellectual church tradition, I would also stash the book under my bed to avoid freaking my parents out because their little Baptist boy was reading pagan philosophy. [NKG: LOL!]

It took me a couple of years in college to realize I didn’t have to hide my love for learning and that it was really okay to read ancient philosophers in addition to my Bible. This became all the more the case when I was assigned to write an undergraduate exegetical paper on Paul in Athens (Acts 17), where the apostle himself quotes philosophers and where Luke presents Paul as a “new Socrates.” (It dawned on me: I too was a “spermologos”!) [NKG: editor’s note, spermologos means “seedpicker” = “babbler”; get your mind out of the gutter] Later on I discovered Paul was not the only Jew to employ and integrate ancient philosophy. I started reading the writings of Philo, the Wisdom of Solomon, 4 Maccabees, and other Jewish works, which in turn lead me further beyond looking at Paul in light of Socrates and Plato to investigating Paul in dialogue with Seneca and Epictetus (for that story, see https://dailystoic.com/joseph-dodson/ ).

NKG: This is an academic book (Paul and the Giants of Philosophy, PGP), but the audience in mind is students, pastors, and anyone interested in the New Testament and in Paul. (Dodson edited a more scholarly book called Paul and the Greco-Roman Philosophical Tradition and also Paul and Seneca in Dialogue). Why would you say this kind of book (PGP) is helpful for Christians in general? What can pastors, for example, learn from this study? 

In The Republic, Socrates argued humanity would never reach the eutopia until kings are philosophers and philosophers are kings. I have a similar burden. It is to raise up pastors and Christian leaders who have the mind of a scholar and the heart of a shepherd. Because most people do not have the time or energy for academic works, I desire to take what’s cooking in the ivory tower and walk it down to the church in order to share it with our brothers and sisters doing the amazing work of ministry on the ground. Since placing Paul in dialogue with an influential ancient philosopher has been a burgeoning enterprise in the academy lately, I asked some of these authors to take their work and boil it down for students, pastors and interested laypersons. Similar to what John Barclay says in the preface, I myself learned so many new things about Paul and his theology from reading these essays. Aspects and passages at which I had previous yawned, now – because of these new insights – I gaped. “Wait, is that what Paul meant by faith in 1 Corinthians?!,” “Wow, that really changes how we should apply Romans 14-15 in our churches,” and so on and so forth. To borrow from what my co-editor, Dave Briones, says in the introduction: comparisons (properly done) lead to clarity in understanding the gospel, which leads to more poignancy in preaching to our people and to greater effectiveness in making disciples of them.

NKG: When you are not “scholaring,” what are your favorite hobbies?

I love traveling and watching Netflix with my wife, hiking and hanging out with my boys, drinking coffee and reading poetry with my daughter, and watching sports (especially the New Orleans Saints).

NKG: What are some other writing projects you have in the pipeline or are working on?

 JRD: Well I am not nearly as prolific as you are, but related to this interview, I am writing the “Philosophy” entry for the new edition of IVP’s Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. I have also been asked to write an essay on 4 Maccabees for The Septuagint and Old Testament Apocrypha volume (ed. James Aitken and Bruce Longenecker). In addition to these, I am writing a book on Romans 7 for Lexham Press, a commentary on Colossians-Philemon for Thomas Nelson, and one on Romans for Brill. 

NKG: Thanks for sharing, see you soon!