Why I wanted to emphasize in New Testament
I wanted to study the New Testament because I had a drive to understand God’s word well and be able to articulate it well to others. I was deeply impacted by expositional preaching in my local church and by the work of New Testament scholars like Dallas Seminary’s own Dr. Darrell Bock and Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, who serve as public intellectuals by using their studies to help demonstrate to the watching world the reliability and significance of the New Testament. I don’t dream of filling their shoes, but I do aspire to do solid work in the New Testament and related studies that edify the Church and help point both believers and unbelievers to the text of scripture where they can encounter the living word of God.
In addition to my general interest in biblical studies, the New Testament, and ancient Greek, I have a particular interest in cultivating artists, writers, musicians, and other creators as followers of Jesus who can thrive in the Church and through his Spirit transform this lowly, broken world with work that is good, true, and beautiful. I didn’t see much work in New Testament Studies that would connect to creatives beyond the ways the New Testament connects with everyone. But I thought there must be more that the New Testament has to say specifically of relevance and poignance for creatives. So, in most of my research, I have attempted to find connections between my study of the New Testament and the creative arts. This has led me into two main topics of study: (1) music in the New Testament, which has had very scant treatment so far in the field, but could do with some reassessment in light of burgeoning musicological study among classicists and ancient historians and (2) poetry in the New Testament, which has mostly been tied to the study of hymns and song in the New Testament and its ancient Mediterranean context, but has the opposite problem of my first interest, namely in being the subject of multitudinous (not to say, multifarious) studies.
New Testament Studies Emphasis Requirements
- Required Courses for the New Testament Studies Emphasis
- NT335 Exegesis in 1 Corinthians: an advanced course in translation and exegesis applied to the book of 1 Corinthians
- NT205 Advanced Greek Grammar: an advanced course in the syntactical analysis of the New Testament and Greek grammar research methodology using qualitative and quantitative analysis of the New Testament and other relevant ancient Greek texts via electronic tools such as Logos, Accordance, and TLG for the purpose of better exegeting the Greek text of the New Testament
- NT420 Seminary on New Testament Literary Contexts: a seminar/reading course devoted to surveying Jewish, Greco-Roman, and early Christian literature relevant to the study of the New Testament in its literary, socio-cultural, and historical-political environment
- Additional Coursework
- NT410 New Testament City: a course introducing the analysis of material culture for the use of better understanding the historical and cultural contexts of the New Testament
- New Testament Related Coursework Required for the ThM
- NT101 Beginning Greek I
- NT102h Honors Greek II
- NT103 Intermediate New Testament Greek
- NT104 Introduction to New Testament Exegesis
- NT105 Exegesis of Romans
- NT113 New Testament Introduction
- BE105 Gospels
- BE106 Acts and Paul
- BE107 General Epistles and Revelation
Required Artifacts with Descriptions
Exegetical Paper from NT105 Exegesis of Romans
This paper presents an exegesis of Romans 3:9–20, the climax of Paul’s indictment against the universal reality of sin in human beings. This passage draws up a catena of Old Testament quotations to artfully yet forcefully show that both Jews and non-Jews/Gentiles are guilty of sin and liable to the just judgment of God. 24 pp.
Term Paper from NT335 Exegesis of 1 Corinthians
This paper explores the musical context of first-century Corinth and what this means for the several analogies Paul makes to music and musical instruments in 1 Corinthians. It seeks to show that 1 Corinthians reveals a Christian community familiar with the music of their own culture and that probably used that music for the purpose of worshiping the one true God and the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:6) in their gatherings. This paper was developed from an exegetical course on 1 Corinthians for presentation at the Evangelical Theological Society Southwest Region Meeting. 17 pp.
Term Paper from NT205 Advanced Greek Grammar
This paper examines New Testament hymn criteria, focusing on the use of the masculine nominative singular relative pronoun, ὅς, in reference to the so-called hymn in Colossians 1. The findings suggest that (1) there is no particular meaning of this relative pronoun for recognizing New Testament hymn fragments in itself; however, (2) it does tend to occur in several of these passages either independently or much further from its antecedent than normal (e.g., Romans 4:25; Colossians 1:13, 15; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:3; but not Philippians 2:6). This means that one cannot argue for a bifurcation between Colossians 1:14 and 15 based on this feature, and further suggests, along with other features, that Colossians 1:12–14 may be part of the hymn in 1:15–20 as early studies of this text argued. 22 pp.
Review with Benjamin I. Simpson of Christobiography by Craig Keener in Bibliotheca Sacra (forthcoming)
Review with Benjamin I. Simpson of New Testament Christological Hymns by Matthew Gordley in Bibliotheca Sacra (forthcoming)
“Instrumental Insights: The Meaning of Paul’s Musical Metaphors in 1 Corinthians for Musical Practice in the Church” presented at the Evangelical Theological Society Southwest Region Meeting, April 2021. 17 pp. (Same as the version of the 1 Corinthians paper above).
“Reviewing the History of the Colossian Hymn Hypothesis: The Hymn’s Shifting Boundaries and Contexts from 1913 to the Present” presented at the Society of Biblical Literature Mid-Atlantic Region Meeting, March 2021. 11 pp.
ThM Thesis: “The Lost Verse of the Colossian Hymn? Testing New Testament Hymn Criteria in Colossians 1:12–20” (In progress for summer 2021 completion)
This master’s thesis seeks to examine Colossians 1:12–20 in light of its history of research and in comparison to contemporaneous ancient hymn forms. The thesis argues that Colossians 1:12–20 can be seen as a cohesive unit of poetry within the letter to the Colossians that draws on both the Jewish Psalm tradition and Greco-Roman hymnody. The paper reviews the history of research on the Colossian hymn, examines the criteria typically given for finding and evaluating New Testament hymnic material, revises these criteria in light of the formal and stylistic features of Jewish and Greco-Roman hymns in the Hellenistic and early Imperial eras, and finally offers an analysis of Colossians 1:12–20 using these criteria. As a sample, one can read my conference paper “Reviewing the History of the Colossian Hymn Hypothesis” which is adapted from material in Chapter 1.
As I developed and demonstrated skills in New Testament Studies, I have learned much about myself, the field, and others. Although I came into the ThM knowing I wanted to focus on the New Testament and Greek, my interest and delight in studying these texts has flowered as I have had the opportunity to work through these more advanced research topics. I get great satisfaction in study, writing, and presenting my findings. I have learned that many passages and issues are even more thorny and difficult than I every realized, yet, this has only spurred me on to go further in my language skills, my knowledge of the text, and my understanding of the ancient context. I also have learned that I really do like being around academics (especially New Testament scholars!), but I have come to value more and more the importance of translating my academic study into relevant, practical teaching and conversation for friends and church members. Understanding the Bible rightly is so important, and it is first and foremost for the everyday followers of Jesus who are seeking to meet him in and follow him by his word.
Lifelong Development Statement
As a result of the experiences documented by these artifacts, I want to keep developing my research, writing, and presentation skills so that I can make them useful for others, whether for academics, teachers, or the people in the pews who don’t have the time or wherewithal to study Greek and get as deep into the weeds of the text as I have the privilege of going. I hope to do this through (1) continuing to improve my Greek vocabulary and reading facility by regularly reading my Greek New Testament, (2) continuing to write and submit papers for academic conferences where I can share research and get feedback on my findings, arguments, writing, and presentation skills, and (3) pursuing further study in New Testament at the doctoral level.