Students at commencement

Meet the Faculty

Michael J. Chan

Michael J. Chan

Assistant Professor of Old Testament


Michael Chan joined the Luther Seminary Bible Division in July 2013. Prior to this appointment, he spent a year at the University of Helsinki, Finland and in many of the world’s greatest museums (the Louvre, the Hermitage, the British Museum, and the Pergamon Museum) doing research for his dissertation (“The City on a Hill:  Tradition-Historical Study of the Wealth of Nations Tradition”). Chan did his Ph.D. work under the supervision of Dr. Brent Strawn at Emory University in Atlanta.

What excites Chan most is the opportunity to teach students who feel called to read Scripture on behalf of the church and the world. “I remember my doctor father (Brent Strawn) drawing attention to the fact that, in Deuteronomy’s vision of kingship, Israel’s rulers must be diligent students of Torah (Deut 17:18-19). It was thought that a Torah-fluent king would ultimately a better king. The same is true of church leaders: Scripture-fluent leaders are ultimately better leaders. As one called to teach Scripture, there is nothing more fulfilling than helping the church’s leaders grow as creative, humble, and critically-informed readers of the Bible.”

Chan has taught and ministered in many settings, congregational and academic. He served as youth pastor at Grace Lutheran Church (Kingman, AZ) and Van Nuys Korean United Methodist Church (Van Nuys, CA). He and his wife were also responsible for a campus ministry at Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, WA). In college, he served as a chaplain in Glacier National Park as part of A Christian Ministry in the National Parks. Chan has also taught numerous courses at Emory University, the University of Helsinki, and North Central University.

In addition to teaching, Chan has also published articles, essays, reference entries, and reviews in journals such as the Journal of Biblical Literature, Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissensschaft, Jewish Quarterly Review, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, etc. His most recent publications include, “Joseph and Jehoiachin: On the Edge of Exodus,” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft (2013, in press), “Ira Regis: Comedic Inflections of Royal Rage in Jewish Court Tales,” Jewish Quarterly Review 103:1 (2013): 1-25, and “A Biblical Lexicon of Happiness,” in The Bible and the Pursuit of Happiness: What the Old and New Testaments Teach Us about the Good Life (ed. Brent A. Strawn; New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 323-370. Currently, Chan is co-editing with Brent Strawn a volume of Terence Fretheim’s essays: God, World, and Suffering: Collected Essays of Terence Fretheim (Siphrut: Literature and Theology of the Hebrew Scriptures; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, forthcoming).

Chan has received several academic awards, including a CIMO Fellowship from the University of Helsinki (2012) and The David R. Blumenthal Award in Jewish Studies and the Humanities (2011). He belongs to the Society of Biblical Literature and the Society for Pentecostal Studies. He is also on the SBL’s Bible Odyssey Board, a project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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