Biblical Studies

Book Contributions

In the last several years, I have had the opportunity to be involved in contributing toward some published books. I am thankful to each of the authors for the blessing of being involved in their writing projects in various ways. Here is an overview so far:

THE JESUS OF THE GOSPELS (Andreas Köstenberger)

The Jesus of the Gospels
(Kregel Academic)

From the book description:

A reader-friendly guide to the life and teachings of the Jesus of the Gospels

The Jesus of the Gospels brings together the best elements of a survey of the Gospels and a commentary on the Gospels to help readers know Jesus and understand the good news. Drawing on decades of experience teaching and writing on the Gospels, Andreas Köstenberger presents a holistic portrait of Jesus by leading readers through an in-depth study of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Each chapter explores one gospel account, beginning with a short introduction that highlights the gospel’s individual distinctives, followed by an outline of the book. Köstenberger breaks each gospel into short sections, explaining the meaning and how it sheds light on Jesus and His mission. Numerous sidebars, maps, and diagrams highlight supplemental information, and regular “Recap” sections summarize key points. For those interested in further study, footnotes point to useful resources. In addition to helping readers follow the storyline and theology of each gospel, Köstenberger also emphasizes practical application, showing readers how to apply what they’re learning to their lives.

Ideal for those who are new to the study of the Gospels, and for instructors looking for an accessible introduction based on solid scholarship, The Jesus of the Gospels offers readers and students to the riches of the Gospels and a deeper knowledge of Jesus and the good news.

My contribution: at the time of writing, I was serving as Dr. Köstenberger’s research assistant. He included me in his working through the scope and layout of the book and I wrote the first draft for the chapter on the Gospel of Matthew.

You can find the book at: and through other major distributors like Amazon.


Planting Missional Churches (B&H Academic)

From the book description:

Planting a church is one of the most exciting adventures you’ll ever embark on. It’s also one of the hardest. It requires initiative, leadership, strategy, systems, and a lot of prayer. In this second edition of Planting Missional Churches, not only will you find a completely redesigned book with new content in every single chapter, but you will also find several new chapters on topics such as church multiplication, residencies, multi-ethnic ministry, multisite, denominations and networks, and spiritual leadership. So if you’re planting a church, be prepared. Use this book as a guide to build the needed ministry areas so that you can multiply over and over again.

My contribution: This is the second edition of this helpful resource for church planters. I worked with the authors (Daniel Im & Ed Stetzer) to rewrite and update six chapters.

You can find the book at: and through other major distributors like Amazon.


Matthew EGGNT
(B&H Academic)

From the book description:

The Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament (EGGNT) closes the gap between the Greek text and the available lexical and grammatical tools, providing all the necessary information for greater understanding of the text. The series makes interpreting any given New Testament book easier, especially for those who are hard pressed for time but want to preach or teach with accuracy and authority.

Each volume begins with a brief introduction to the particular New Testament book, a basic outline, and a list of recommended commentaries. The body is devoted to paragraph-by-paragraph exegesis of the Greek text and includes homiletical helps and suggestions for further study. A comprehensive exegetical outline of the New Testament book completes each EGGNT volume.

My contribution: Dr. Quarles included many of his PhD students (including me) in the proofreading and editing his commentary on the Greek text as part of a doctoral seminar. My contribution to this was very limited, but I wanted to be sure to recommend Dr. Quarles’ work to any Greek students looking to dig deeper into the Gospel of Matthew.

You can find the book at: and through other major distributors like Amazon.

Biblical Studies

True Knowledge Leads to Godly Living: In Pursuit of a NT Theology of Godliness

This paper was originally published in Inservimus in 2016 (link to full journal below)

The concept of “godliness” in the New Testament has been a subject of considerable debate. Much of this debate centers upon the nature of the conceptual background and usage of εὐσέβεια, a virtue commonly valued in the Greco-Roman world.1 The term appears prominently in several late writings of the NT (the Pastoral Epistles and 2 Peter) but is
nearly non-existent in the early writings of the NT. When the problem of εὐσέβεια and related Greco-Roman virtues is applied to the Pauline corpus, its prominence in the later Pastoral Epistles has been noted as a perceived shift of thought in the NT based ultimately on a transformed eschatological outlook.2 Together with other arguments, it is used as a considerable plank in support of a non-Pauline authorship of the Pastoral Epistles.3

Much of this trend in critical scholarship can be traced back to the work of Martin Dibelius and Hans Conzelmann who in their critical commentary on the Pastoral Epistles proposed the term christliche Bürgerlichkeit to explain the goal of ethical instruction in the Pastoral Epistles.4 Towner notes: “By definition christliche Bürgerlichkeit, sometimes translated ‘Christian Good-Citizenship’ (Dibelius and Conzelmann; H. Koester), and sometimes ‘bourgeois Christianity’ (i.e. E. Kümmel and M. Hengel), refers to a concept of Christian existence in which the primary goal is to achieve peaceful coexistence with the various orders of the world.”5 The bulk of the foundation for this concept rests upon Dibelius and Conzelmann’s interpretation of εὐσέβεια and its complementary pairing σεμνότης as “clearly referring to that behavior which is well-pleasing to God and men” in 1 Tim 2:2.6 This interpretation of εὐσέβεια as a virtue at least equally oriented in its relationship to the world as its object as to God is then read into the usage of εὐσέβεια throughout the Pastorals. In the end, reading Dibelius and Conzelmann’s interpretation of εὐσέβεια in 1 Tim 2:2 into the other usages of εὐσέβεια insufficiently considers the varying contexts of many other occurrences in the Pastorals, something that will be displayed through the contextual analysis to come.

In line with the trailblazing work of Philip Towner in the monograph already cited and his more recent commentary on the Letters to Timothy and Titus,7 this paper will seek to develop a NT theology of godliness based upon both Greco-Roman and Jewish backgrounds of the term and a contextual interpretation of its usages as they occur in the NT texts.

Methodologically, this paper will first examine the Greco-Roman and Jewish backgrounds of εὐσέβεια. Though centrally focused on the term εὐσέβεια itself, attention at the outset will be given to other Greek terms in its semantic domain, followed by a brief overview of the proposed Greco-Roman and Jewish conceptual backgrounds for the term. We will then move to survey the usage of εὐσέβεια in the NT texts, focusing in three parts on its usage in Acts, the
Pastoral Epistles, and 2 Peter. The final section of the paper will then seek to do the work of synthesis in pulling together the contextual usages of εὐσέβεια across the NT canon together to develop a NT theology of “godliness.”

To read the full paper go to:

Biblical Studies

The Cost of Discipleship: Understanding One of Jesus’ Anti-Family Sayings in Context (Matthew 10:34-39)

Originally presented at ETS National Conference 2015 (Atlanta, GA)

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”1 These words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer point to the radical, cost-counting nature of ultimately following in the way of Jesus. This cost of discipleship is articulated with particular vividness by Jesus Himself in Matthew 10:34–39, near the conclusion of Jesus’ Missionary Discourse to His disciples. In this short passage, we find that following Jesus will lead to division in the family, taking up one’s cross, and even loss of life for those who like Peter, Andrew, James, and John respond to Jesus’ call to leave their nets and “follow Me.”2

Of particular interest for this paper in the context of this year’s conference theme, is the radical “anti–family” sayings of Jesus in this pericope. The general thesis I am proposing is this: Jesus’ words here present not a diminishment of loyalty to the family in the life of the follower of Jesus, but rather a reprioritization of that loyalty. Taken within their broader biblical-theological and social contexts, Jesus’ radical anti-family statements in Matthew 10:34-39 are best understood as presenting a new priority structure in the life of the disciple. In this priority structure, the previously ultimate kinship loyalty to the family is rendered secondary (and sometimes in conflict) to the ultimate loyalty of the follower to Jesus and his or her new kinship in the family of God.

To demonstrate this thesis, this paper will first, and primarily, perform an exegetical exposition of the passage at hand with special attention to its literary context in Matthew’s gospel and its broader biblical–theological context. This paper will propose that the literary context and the biblical-theological context (particularly Jesus’ use of Micah 7:6) present a reality in which families are now divided along the lines of their belief or rejection of the Messiah at His coming. This division is a prophetically fulfilled result of the climactic appearing of the Messiah, prophesied in Micah 7:6. Further, this division is a persistent, necessary conflict in the life of the disciple due to the relativization of loyalty to kinship family to the disciples’ new and greater loyalty to the family of their greater brother Jesus.

To flesh this reality out further, this paper will secondly place this passage within its social context by building upon the work of Joseph Hellerman in Jesus and the People of God (2013). As Hellerman has argued, Jesus’ anti-family sayings are best understood in light of the widespread ultimate loyalty to kinship family in the first-century Mediterranean world. Taken within these twin contexts (biblical–theological and social), Jesus presents the conflict of loyalties introduced by his coming and the ultimate commitments of all who would be His disciples.

1 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1959), 11.
2 Matthew 4:19.

To read on, download the PDF below.