This blog series spotlights 50 NT scholars and their research. The goal of this series is to introduce readers to a wider circle of scholarship than they have encountered. The majority of people on this list are early or mid-career NT scholars who are doing great research and writing.
Janette H. Ok
Associate Professor of New Testament
Azusa Pacific Seminary at Azusa Pacific University
Explain why you love teaching and/or writing, and why it brings you vocational satisfaction.
My love for the church and academy converges in the vocation of New Testament scholar. As a pastor-scholar, I am passionate about teaching the New Testament and forming the whole person for the service of the gospel. I am committed to raising leaders for the church who think with theological imagination and biblical depth and who are resilient in navigating conflict, collaborative in exploring ideas that engage a changing culture, and responsive to the needs of real faith communities. My teaching, writing, and service in the academy enable me to address the unique experiences and challenges faced by marginalized voices and communities in the academy, church, and society.
What is one “big idea,” emphasis, or theme in your scholarship that you hope impacts the way students and scholars read and understand the NT?
My writing and teaching are informed by the conviction that in order to be faithful readers of the biblical texts and ministers of the gospel, students must engage multiple “ways of being and reading” that reflect the dynamic and contemporary realities of life.
Who is your academic hero and why?
Brian K. Blount is one of my academic heroes. He modeled for me how to teach like a preacher and preach like a teacher. He taught me how to take the biblical text, its context, and my own context seriously. Blount’s pastoral, scholarly, and leadership gifts continue to serve the church and academy in profound and paradigm-shifting ways.
Gale A. Yee, another academic hero of mine, has been a pioneering force in Asian American biblical hermeneutics, postcolonial criticism, and feminist interpretation of the Hebrew Bible. She has mentored countless students and scholars in biblical studies. Her commitment to investing in Pacific, Asian and North American Asian women in theology and ministry has influenced multiple generations of leaders. I find Yee’s sense of humor and down-to-earth approachability both humbling and inspiring.
Name a few academic books that were formative for you as a student.
Cultural Interpretation: Reorienting New Testament Criticism (Fortress, 1995) by Brian K. Blount
The Gospel of Luke (NICNT, 1997) by Joel B. Green
Whispering the Word: Hearing Women’s Stories in the Old Testament (WJK, 2005) by Jacqueline E. Lapsley
Read Ok’s Work
“Always Ethnic, Never ‘American’: Reading 1 Peter through the Lens of the ‘Perpetual Foreigner’ Stereotype.” Pages 417-426 in T&T Clark Handbook to Asian American Biblical Hermeneutics. Edited by Seung Ai Yang and Uriah Y. Kim. New York: T&T Clark, 2019.
“An Asian American Interpretation of Luke 14:25-33.” Oxford Biblical Studies Online (October 2019), http://www.oxfordbiblicalstudies.com/article/opr/t998/e66.
“You Have Become Children of Sarah: Reading 1 Peter 3:1-6 through the Intersectional Lens of Asian Immigrant Wives, Patriarchy, and Honorary Whiteness.” In Minoritized Women Reading Race-Ethnicity: Intersectional Approaches to Constructed Identity and Early Christian (Con)Texts. Feminist Studies and Sacred Texts. Edited by Mitzi J. Smith and Jin Young Choi. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, April 2020.
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If you ran into me at SBL, and you didn’t want to talk about New Testament studies, what would you want to talk about?
If you ran into me at SBL and didn’t want to talk about New Testament studies, ask me about where to find the best inexpensive Asian food or where to grab good coffee and pastries (I try to do my Yelp research beforehand). Tell me about what interesting novel or memoir book you’re reading. Talk to me about church leadership.
What is a research/writing project you are working on right now that you are excited about?
Currently, I am excited to be working on a commentary on 1-3 John (NICNT). I am also co-editor of The New Testament in Color: A Multiethnic Commentary on the New Testament (IVP Academic), alongside Esau McCaulley, Amy Peeler, and Osvaldo Padilla. This volume brings together a diverse group of scholars (African American, Asian American, European American, Latino/a American, and Native American) in order to introduce students and the church to a wider perspective on biblical interpretation than is often heard.