After finishing my Ph.D. in New Testament and teaching at a couple of different schools, I came to Central Seminary as a professor of New Testament in August of 1994. So, Central has been my teaching home for over 27 years. What has made this school a stimulating place of learning and exploration for me are the dedicated colleagues with whom I teach and the students who populate my classes. Students especially provide renewing energy for my vocation of teaching the New Testament.
My primary goal in teaching is to instill in students an excitement and wonder of the New Testament. To this end, my classes attempt to encourage the curiosity of students. A constant manta for my teaching is for students to read closely, carefully, and pay attention to the details of the text. When both students and professor do this, we are able to approach the Bible and understand it as a witness, that is, a witness to our ancestors in faith as they imperfectly and yet sincerely sensed the movement of God in their lives. Those women and men who populate the pages of the Bible lived out God moments in their own unique contexts. Often, they did this in failing and flailing ways, but Scripture is the tangible evidence of their attempt to capture that God was at work with, though, around, and in them. When Scripture is a witness for us, when we know Scripture as Jesus wishes us to know Scripture, the experiences of our ancestors in faith can be woven into our experiences today.
In the study of the New Testament, perhaps the key mission statement for myself and students alike is found in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
“Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [so] that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work.” (NET)