Meet the Faculty

Matthew L. Skinner

Matthew L. Skinner

Associate Professor of New Testament

  • Ph.D. (Princeton Theological Seminary)
  • M.Div. (Princeton Theological Seminary)


Matthew Skinner joined the Luther Seminary faculty in 2002. He earned his graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he also served as a teaching fellow and visiting lecturer prior to accepting a call to Luther Seminary.

In 1990 he received the A.B. degree magna cum laude, with a concentration in philosophy, from Brown University, in 1997 the M.Div. degree and in 2002 the Ph.D. degree in Biblical Studies from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has done advanced research at the Center of Theological Inquiry, where he was a member-in-residence during academic year 2008-2009 and a writing fellow during summer 2010.

Much of Skinner's published research focuses on New Testament narratives (the Gospels and the book of Acts) and the cultural contexts reflected in these writings. His most recent book, The Trial Narratives: Conflict, Power, and Identity in the New Testament (Westminster John Knox Press), examines the trials of Jesus, Paul, and other New Testament figures. It explores how these trials depict conflict over the gospel's place in the world as they offer subtle yet powerful demonstrations of the gospel's claims on human society, its religious assumptions, and its expressions of power.

Skinner also is co-editor of the book Shaping the Scriptural Imagination: Truth, Meaning, and the Theological Interpretation of the Bible, by Donald H. Juel (Baylor University Press).

He has contributed to various print resources for preachers and others interested in the Bible's relevance for faith and life, including The New Interpreter's Bible One Volume Commentary (Abingdon Press), Theological Bible Commentary (Westminster John Knox Press), Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary (Westminster John Knox Press), and The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible (Abingdon Press).

He blogs regularly about the Bible for The Huffington Post Religion. He is a member of the editorial committee and featured writer for ON Scripture, which is a weekly online column that puts the Bible into conversation with current events, published on, Odyssey Networks, and The Huffington Post. He has written for and and can be heard on the latter website's weekly Sermon Brainwave podcasts.

Deeply interested in how the Bible is experienced and taught in congregations, seminaries, and divinity schools, he co-directed a consultation comprising twelve biblical scholars funded by the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, titled "Teaching Biblical Exegesis in Theological Schools" (2006-2007).

Skinner frequently speaks and teaches at conferences, on college and seminary campuses, and in congregations. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Featured Work

The Trial Narratives: Conflict, Power, and Identity in the New Testament

The Trial Narratives: Conflict, Power, and Identity in the New Testament

Westminster John Knox Press (2010)

In this careful analysis, Matthew Skinner explores the trial narratives of Jesus, Paul, Stephen, and others in the Gospels and Acts who found themselves brought before powerful individuals and groups, often with deadly consequences. His close study of these texts is essential for those interested in the early church's relationship to the sociopolitical structures in which Christian belief emerged. He shows how the narratives helped shape early Christian identity as these communities sought to understand both the political implications of the emerging Christian gospel as well as the dangers and opportunities their sociopolitical context presented. He also reflects on the theological resources and paradigms these texts offer to Christians today.

The Trial Narratives: Conflict, Power, and Identity in the New Testament


SG 0702 01SCRIPTURE AND ITS WITNESSES - II Spring Semester 2014-2015

An inquiry into the Old and New Testaments as Christian scripture and the Bible's multiple ways of presenting the nature of God and God's commitments to the world and its peoples. Students develop a nuanced outlook of the Bible as a whole as they gain experience identifying how several theological ideas receive different expression in the scriptures at different times in the history of Israel and the church. Small discussion groups provide weekly opportunities to interpret several books from the Old and New Testaments in greater depth while attending to those books' connections to other parts of scripture. Students consider how they lead others in making sense of the Bible in light of their current realities and for the sake of exploring and articulating their Christian faith. The course brings students' cultural contexts into conversation with the Bible and emphasizes how understanding the Bible requires them to engage other biblical interpreters as essential conversation partners. Prerequisite: SG0701 Scripture and Its Witnesses I (or OT1110 or NT1210-NT1213)

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