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Professor of New Testament
Matthew Skinner joined Luther Seminary’s faculty in 2002, having earned his Ph.D. in biblical studies from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he had previously completed his M.Div. and served as a teaching fellow and visiting lecturer. In 1990 he received his A.B. degree magna cum laude, with a concentration in philosophy, from Brown University. In more recent years he has conducted advanced research at the Center of Theological Inquiry as a member-in-residence and a writing fellow.
Skinner’s teaching experience covers the full range of the New Testament canon. His courses focus on the original, ancient settings and circumstances surrounding the creation and preservation biblical texts as well as how these writings continue to be experienced and interpreted in congregations and other public venues.
Much of Skinner’s published work focuses on the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the cultural realities displayed in these writings, and their ongoing theological relevance. His most recent book, Intrusive God, Disruptive Gospel: Encountering the Divine in the Book of Acts, explores how we best read the Acts of the Apostles so it informs our understanding of the character of God, the challenges of faith, and the purpose of the church.
He also wrote The Trial Narratives: Conflict, Power, and Identity in the New Testament and has co-edited two books: The Unrelenting God: God’s Action in Scripture and Shaping the Scriptural Imagination: Truth, Meaning, and the Theological Interpretation of the Bible. He is currently working on a textbook that will introduce students to the entire New Testament.
He has contributed to various resources for scholars, church leaders, and laypeople interested in the Bible’s connections to faith and life, including The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Theology, Theological Bible Commentary, EnterTheBible.org, and Covenant Bible Study.
He writes about the Bible for websites including Huffington Post, Working Preacher, and ON Scripture—The Bible. He co-hosts Sermon Brainwave, a popular weekly podcast that helps preachers interpret biblical texts as part of their sermon preparations.
Ordained as a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Skinner frequently teaches at conferences, on college and seminary campuses, and in congregations.
Brazos Press (2015)
This engaging book guides readers through one of the most colorful books of the Bible, illuminating passages from Acts that show the Christian gospel expressing itself through the lives, speech, struggles, and adventures of Jesus's followers. The book emphasizes the disruptive character of the Christian gospel and shows how Acts repeatedly describes God as upsetting the status quo by changing people's lives, society's conventions, and our basic expectations of what's possible. Suited for individual and group study, this book by a New Testament scholar with a gift for popular communication asks serious questions and eschews pat answers, bringing Acts alive for contemporary reflection on the character of God, the challenges of faith, and the church.
Intrusive God, Disruptive Gospel: Encountering the Divine in the Book of Acts
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
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