This week’s interview is with Dr. David Garland, the Dean and William M. Hinson professor of Christian Scriptures at Truett Seminary, as well as Interim President of Baylor University. He is an editor of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary series, as well as author of several commentaries himself. Some of these include 2 Corinthians (New American Commentary), Colossians/Philemon (NIVAC), and 1 Corinthians (BECNT). It is an honor to be able to post an interview with him on this blog.
First, tell us a little about yourself.
I am interim president of Baylor University with an enrollment of 14,600, Dean of George W. Truett Theological Seminary with over 400 students in the MDiv and DMin programs, and a New Testament professor. My wife is Dean of the Baylor school of Social Work.
What motivated you to enter your field of study? What keeps you going?
I fell in love with the Greek New Testament in seminary. I always intended to be a pastor but was ask to teach Greek while in the graduate program at the seminary and then asked to stay on. I have never applied for an academic job. The joy of studying scripture and teaching eager students keeps me going. Whenever I get down while writing, miraculously some stranger will send me an e-mail saying that he or she was using something I have written and it was helpful and meaningful. I appreciate these ministers of encouragement.
What issues have you had to overcome along the way?
What is your favorite passage of scripture?
1 Cor 1:18-2:4
Can you divulge an information on any new publication or project on which you are working?
I have just sent to the editor a commentary on the Greek text of Luke for the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary series.
If there is one author/theologian that you believe everyone should read, who is it?
I have always enjoyed writers who were also churchmen who preached and it showed in their writing. There are a number like that.
What do you think are the biggest problems facing New Testament scholarship today?
Narrow specialization. Lack of faith commitment in the study of the text. A lost sense of the relevance of NT scholarship to those it the pastorate, let alon those in the pew.
What areas do you think New Testament scholars will have to focus on in the next ten years?
I have no idea.
Where do you believe are the best places for a student to study the New Testament either as an undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral student?
Baylor it is an outstanding program.
Lastly, if there is one piece of advice you could give to someone entering New Testament scholarship, what would it be?
Do not forget the older commentators and the church fathers. Read primary literature to understand Jewish backgrounds and Greco-Roman backgrounds. Do not forget that the Bible is not for our information but for our transformation.
Thank you, Dr. Garland, for taking the time out of your schedule to answer these questions. I really appreciate it. My favorite part is also the last part and I think it is sound advice:
Do not forget that the Bible is not for our information but for our transformation.
As for my readers, let me know what you think of this interview. Also, if there are different questions you would like to see answered, I am willing to mix it up in the future. Just let me know.