- Ph.D. (Princeton Theological Seminary)
- M.Div. (Princeton Theological Seminary)
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 of biblical writings as well as how this literature continues 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. He is the author of two books on Acts. Acts: Catching Up with the Spirit introduces Acts to an audience that might know little about the book. It explains how Acts tells of believers coming to discover what the gospel of Jesus Christ means for them and the world, even as they live in times of surprise, opposition, and change. In Intrusive God, Disruptive Gospel: Encountering the Divine in the Book of Acts, Skinner takes a deeper dive into Acts, exploring how we best read it so it informs our understanding of the character of God, the challenges of faith, and the purpose of the church.
His three-volume project, A Companion to the New Testament, is an accessible and engaging introduction to the twenty-seven books that compose the New Testament. He also wrote The Trial Narratives: Conflict, Power, and Identity in the New Testament and has co-edited three additional books. He is currently working on a textbook that will explore how the New Testament talks about salvation and a commentary that will help preachers and teachers understand the book of Acts.
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, Connections: A Lectionary Commentary Series, EnterTheBible.org, and Covenant Bible Study.
He has written 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 offers assistance to preachers as they interpret biblical texts to prepare their sermons.
Ordained as a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Skinner also serves as the Scholar for Adult Education at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, where he works with the church’s leadership in developing new offerings for educational ministry both within and beyond the church building. He frequently teaches about the New Testament, early Christian history, and preaching at conferences, on college and seminary campuses, and in congregations.
A Companion to the New Testament
Baylor University Press (2017 and 2018)
Three volume series!
A Companion to the New Testament draws readers deep inside the New Testament by providing a basic orientation to its literary contours and its ways of talking about theological matters. Designed especially for students learning to navigate the Bible as Christian Scripture, the Companion serves as an accessible, reliable, and engaging guide to each New Testament book’s contents. It explores these books’ capacity for informing Christian faith and life—among ancient audiences and also within Christian communities through time.
Individual chapters offer thorough overviews of each New Testament book, helping readers consider its historical setting, cultural assumptions, literary dynamics, and theological points of view. The Companion consistently illustrates how social conditions and community identities left their marks on the particular theological rhetoric of the New Testament. Author Matthew Skinner draws on his extensive teaching experience to orient readers to theological convictions and social realities reflected in Scripture. He pays special attention to the New Testament’s use of the Old Testament, the Roman Empire’s influence on Christian ideas and practices, the place of women in the early church’s life and teachings, the influence of Jewish apocalyptic themes on the New Testament, and ways that certain New Testament emphases have shaped basic Christian beliefs.
This first volume of the Companion explains that the Gospels are the results of the early churches’ efforts to preserve memories about the life and teaching of Jesus, his character, and his enduring significance. Readers discover that Jesus’ followers told their stories about him because of their desire to give testimony to him as the Christ and the agent of divine salvation. Likewise, the Companion’s treatment of Acts underscores that book’s understanding of God as active in the world, a God who continues the ministry Jesus began but does so now in and around the churches formed by Jesus’ followers. The earliest churches’ narratives about their Lord and their origins were theological narratives—stories meant to communicate believers’ convictions about God and God’s commitment to the world.