Living the King Jesus Gospel (Blog Series) Dennis Edwards on Pastoring and 1 Peter

Living the King Jesus Gospel (Blog Series) Dennis Edwards on Pastoring and 1 Peter October 3, 2021

This is a blog series on some of the participants in the new book, Living the King Jesus Gospel. Today we have Dr. Dennis R. Edwards, my Chicago brother—and a contributor to this tribute book for our friend Scot McKnight.

How do you know Scot?

Scot was my seminary prof for a couple classes at TEDS, then later I was a colleague for a time at Northern Seminary. I consider him a friend, as we’ve stayed in touch for over 30 years.

How has Scot made an impact on you?

Because I had an inside connection, I was one of the first students to know when the late Dr. Bruce Fields was voted on as the first African American faculty member at TEDS. That day, when I was working security on campus, I ran into Scot and said, “I heard we got our first Black faculty member.” Immediately Scot replied, “Dennis, you’ll be the next!” I knew teaching at TEDS wouldn’t be for me, but having Scot even THINK I could, is something I’ll never forget. He has championed my academic work, even when I was unsure of myself. His writing is an example for us all, but his direct encouragement has been even more impactful.

For your book chapter, how did you choose the subject?

Scot readily admits he is not a pastor, but he writes for pastors. I served churches for 30 years, teaching Greek and NT courses as an adjunct for about 17 years before becoming a full-time instructor. My essay seeks to spark an imagination for seeing the “shepherds” in our midst, and not just the people who get the title “pastor.” I do this through exegesis on biblical passages but also applying my decades of church service to fill out my exegetical conclusions. I rely largely on 1 Peter because Scot did a commentary on 1 Peter in the NIVAC series, and I wanted to tip my hat to that work as well as his more recent Pastor Paul book.

What is your vocation? And how do you see yourself attempting to “Live the King Jesus Gospel” in that context?

I am an associate professor of New Testament and I maintain that King Jesus places a premium on relationships and not edicts as ordinary kings might. So I live the KJG by being present to people, being attentive to them, and not pontificating.

Do you have a favorite Scot McKnight book?

This is tough! Can I name 2? Fellowship of Differents spoke to me as a pastor of multiethnic congregations and with his Philemon commentary, Scot addresses various forms of slavery forthrightly and demonstrates respect for people like me–descendants of enslaved Africans in the Americas.

Any fun, personal stories about Scot you want to share?

In a laid-back, summer exegesis course in my early days of seminary, Scot joked that Gospel of Mark’s Greek is like a plain spoken midwesterner (which Scot may have thought himself to be), but Luke is “sophisticated like an east-coaster; probably went to Cornell!” I laughed out loud and said, “hey, are you making fun of my alma mater?” Scot turned to me and asked, “did you go to Cornell?” Scot seemed impressed, but beyond that treated me with respect that I did not get from several other seminary profs. But it might be funnier to note that in that same class, Scot would invite us to challenge him to give the full names (first + middle) of any NT scholar (deceased or near retirement) based on us giving him initials. This is how I learned it’s “Frederick Fyvie Bruce” beyond the F. F. Winners got treated to milkshakes from the losers

In terms of writing, what are you working on next?

A biblical theology of humility and how it functions to build and sustain Christian community. Also, I am working commentaries: One on 1, 2, 3 John and another on 1 Peter (more technical than my previous work)

If you want to learn more about Dennis’ thoughts on 1 Peter, check out Living the King Jesus Gospel, a tribute to Scot McKnight, and Dennis’ excellent 1 Peter commentary (see below).


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