#50-2-Follow: 50 NT Scholars to Read and Follow—Matthew W. Bates

#50-2-Follow: 50 NT Scholars to Read and Follow—Matthew W. Bates March 4, 2020

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. 


Matthew W. Bates

Associate Professor of Theology

Explain why you love teaching and/or writing, and why it brings you vocational satisfaction.

Since “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28), we are constantly swimming in the divine ocean. But we are like fish. We have no ability to get outside the all-pervasive water. We must develop skills for seeing God while immersed. I love exposing students and readers to new ways of thinking and living, drawing from the great theological-philosophical Christian tradition. The goal is to better view God, God’s handiwork, and Scripture, so that we can practice loyal obedience to the king together.

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?

We are saved not merely by trusting in God’s promises in Jesus but by allegiance to him as the king. Oh, and prosopological exegesis. Everyone’s favorite topic–that is, it should be.

Who is your academic hero and why?

Richard Hays. I admire his astonishing creativity. Yet creativity alone is radically insufficient. It can be dangerous if not tempered. Hays’s creativity is constrained by an equally boundless respect for what the biblical text actually says. Hays also helped turn the academic tide in biblical scholarship away from acidic skepticism and toward an academic landscape where traditionally minded Christians have room at the scholarly table. I hope to be creative yet faithful in a way that opens up space for others too.

Name a few academic books that were formative for you as a student.

N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God

Richard Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul

 Frances Young, Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture

 Read Bates’ Work

Gospel Allegiance: What Faith in Jesus Misses for Salvation in Christ (Brazos, 2019)

Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King (Baker Academic, 2017)

The Birth of the Trinity: Jesus, God, and Spirit in New Testament and Early Christian Interpretation of the Old Testament (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Follow Bates’ Work ONLINE

Here’s three ways to interface with my work:

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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?

Hiking; Baseball; Fiction (esp. Sci-Fi); Philosophy; the OnScript podcast

What is a research/writing project you are working on right now that you are excited about?

A book tentatively titled Beyond the Salvation Wars (Brazos, forthcoming). It is a standalone project but also a sequel of sorts to Gospel Allegiance, extending the model I develop there in order to apply it to disputed areas within salvation theory.

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