Craig R Koester
Interim Academic Dean, Asher O. and Carrie Nasby Prof. of New Testament

Through my teaching I want to help people enter the world of the Scriptures, so they engage the story in new and creative ways.

From Genesis to Revelation in ten days? Craig Koester, professor of New Testament, delights in taking students on a fast-paced trip through the whole Bible using music, drama, and visuals to bring the text to life.

 Dr. Koester says, “The course transforms the words on the page into sight and sound, so that the students experience the Biblical story as a whole.” During the ten days of the course, participants go from the dawn of creation through the stories of ancient Israel, Jesus and the early church, to the gates of the New Jerusalem. “Through my teaching I want to help people enter the world of the Scriptures, so they engage the story in new and creative ways.”

 A prolific scholar, Dr. Koester produces material for the scholarly community, the church, and the public. For scholars, he has written commentaries on Hebrews and Revelation for the Anchor Yale Commentary series, a study of the symbolic language in John’s gospel, and many research articles. For broader audiences he has produced books like Revelation and the End of All Things and The Word of Life: A Theology of John’s Gospel, as well as The Apocalypse: Controversies and Meaning in Western History, which was released in audio-visual formats to that people can listen in their cars or watch at home. “I take seriously the questions and insights of specialists in my field, while remaining attentive to the issues arising in the broader currents of the church and the world. Research, teaching, and writing go together.”

 Raised on a farm near Northfield, Minnesota, he attended Saint Olaf College and Luther Seminary. He served as a pastor in Princeton, Minnesota before moving to New York to earn his Ph.D. in New Testament from Union Theological Seminary. Since coming to Luther Seminary in 1986, he has developed courses that help students listen carefully to the Bible and to the issues arising from the contexts of ministry in which they will serve. His goal is to prepare leaders who will be faithful readers, teachers, and preachers of Scripture.

 In his teaching and scholarship he values collaboration with scholars, pastors, and lay leaders around the globe. “I have learned much from ongoing work with colleagues in Europe, Africa, and Asia, who share a common commitment to effective theological education, and yet work in contexts different from my own.” 

 Among his avocations is Shape-Note singing with his wife Nancy. “This form of early American hymnody has a stark, arresting quality, and its lyrics take singers from the depths of lament to the bright realms of hope in God’s future.” He is also actively involved in native prairie and oak savanna preservation in Southeastern Minnesota, coordinating projects to conserve and restore these rare habitats for birds and wildlife.