I grew up in a moderately Christian home and fell off the rather deep end during my adolescent years. But God had other plans and I was converted in college through CCC. I was faithfully discipled by a series of men in college and afterwards and these mentors had a big impact on my vision for ministry, church, and family.
Yes, I am part of the Zondervan Empire, as I like to call it, with Darth Mounce at the head and Obi Dan Wallace Kenobi playing an important part. My involvement with 'Z' is a long story going back many years now, but the short version is this. While a seminary student I recorded the first set of vocabulary cassettes (!) and sold them to bookstores all over the country. Things went well and we sold a LOT of them, but it was just getting too much to manage and 'Z' was interested in taking over the project (thanks especially to Dan Wallace and the able editor Verlyn Verbrugge). Thus began a cordial and beneficial relationship with Zondervan. It has always been a pleasure to work with them on many projects now and to several times visit the headquarters in Grand Rapids and doing some recording up there.
(5) What is your philosophy of teaching when it comes to Greek as well as other subjects?
I teach currently at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY. Though I'm new to the southern culture and to the southern Baptist world, it has been a great place to teach, with many, many excellent students and some great colleagues such as Tom Schreiner, Mark Seifrid, and Brian Vickers. One great thing about Southern is that we have SO many students (something like 4000 now) that I can teach as much as I want and whatever I want. So, I teach a lot of classes on the Gospels (a real passion of mine) as well as Greek at various levels from elementary on up. This past semester I even taught a Greek Composition class where we translated the other way (into Greek) the whole semester. It was great fun and a great learning experience!
In short, my pedagogical philosophy is to be rigorous and expect a lot out of students (I think I have a bit of a reputation for this on campus now!) but to make it worthwhile to my students by being engaging, passionate, pastoral, and humorous in lecture times. I always strive to bring a lot to the plate when lecturing and to never require busy work. The only classes I didn't like in seminary were the ones that I felt like were pedantic and meaningless busy work.
(6) I see you have had some experience as an Associate Pastor at the Evangelical Free Church of Mt. Morris in northern Illinois, where you served for five years. As someone who has had their feet planted both in the academy and the church, how do you see this relationship?
I love teaching seminary because it is a great combination of rigorous, graduate-level teaching and research, combined with a conscious pastoral side. Most of our students will be pastors and my calling is to use my skills in research to model rigorous theological thinking and passionate teaching that can be applied in church life. I could not do what I am doing if I would not have spent those five years in pastoral ministry. And I continue to serve in a pastoral role in church life now. I would encourage anyone interested in teaching NT to get some significant ministry experience. This will form the person and the scholarship in important ways.
(7) What are some current/future projects you are currently working on?
I have another volume that has just been released, this one co-edited with Sean McDonough from Gordon Conwell. It is entitled, Cosmology and NT Theology (Continuum/T&T Clark, 2008), and in it we have commissioned essays on the whole of the NT, asking the question of how each author uses cosmological language and how this fits into their respective theological emphases. In addition to editing the whole thing and co-writing the intro and conclusion, I wrote an essay on how Matthew uses the book of Genesis intertextually to make a theological point about the new creation in Christ. I know edited volumes are a bit of a dime a dozen, but I do hope this one will make a real contribution to a topic hitherto not explored much.
I have also recently completed an essay on Matthew's varied uses of Daniel. This will appear in a volume edited by Craig Evans, on the topic of intertextuality in the Second Temple period (Continuum/T&T Clark).
In the last year or so I also have done a fair amount of devotional writing for a British publication and I have been doing a lot of lecturing in various places on the Gospels and kingdom of God themes. These various lectures are all headed toward an eventual book in the works on how to read the Gospels theologically, tentatively entitled, The Gospels as Holy Scripture: A Theological and Practical Reading of the Gospels.
In addition to all of this, I continue to work on a number of smaller projects, though there is never enough time to do all the writing I would like! Most of my mind and time are taken up with lecturing, church involvement, and most importantly, nerf gun wars, roller hockey, violin lessons, and Dora the Explorer bingo.
Thanks for your time, Jonathan!