I was raised in LaPorte, Indiana, and attended DePauw University, where I studied Political Science and History in preparation for law school. But God had other plans. He called me to himself through Jesus Christ in my senior year of university. I quickly determined to abandon my law school plans and find a place where I could explore my faith in greater depth. The Lord led me to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS, in Deerfield, Illinois), where I had the privilege of studying under a great faculty and with like-minded, dedicated students. I graduated from TEDS with an M.Div. in 1975. Sensing that I would be a disaster in the pastorate (a judgment confirmed by many others), I decided to prepare for an academic ministry.
My wife Jenny and I, with our six-month old son, moved to St. Andrews, Scotland. I received the Ph.D degree at the University of St. Andrews for a dissertation on "The Use of the Old Testament in the Gospel Passion Narratives."
Even before finishing the dissertation, I was invited to join the faculty at TEDS as a visiting instructor. The school apparently got used to having me around, because I ended up teaching there for twenty-three years. During my time at TEDS, in addition to regular teaching, I was book review editor and editor of Trinity Journal, chair of the NT department, and director of the PhD progam in Biblical and Theological Studies.
Since 2000, I have taught at Wheaton College, in Wheaton, Illinois. I originally held the Blanchard professorship in New Testament and am now the Wessner Chair in Biblical Studies. I teach classes in the Masters in Biblical Exegesis program and seminars in the PhD program and also mentor PhD students. I have also been involved in helping create and oversee the PhD program. (For information on the programs at Wheaton click here.)
I have been immensely blessed to "work" everyday in a ministry that so matches my own gifts and calling. I am honored to have had a small part in preparing so many men and women for ministry. I have focused in my academic ministry on close study of the biblical text, trying to put into practice the maxim of the great pietist scholar Johann Albrecht Bengel: "Apply yourself wholly to the text; apply the text wholly to yourself." I especially enjoy writing commentaries, but I have also co-authored a NT Introduction (with D. A. Carson) and articles and essays on a variety of topics. My current academic interests are in Pauline theology, ecology and theology, the Letter to the Hebrews, and the doctrine of justification. I am also very interested in semantics and translation theory, an interest sparked by my fifteen-year membership on the Committee on Bible Translation (the group of scholars charged with oversight of the New International Version of the Bible). See NIV Translation.