Theological Education: Healing the Blind Beggar (Brueggemann, 1986)

Mark 10:46-52 records a standard healing miracle. There is a person in need who comes to Jesus. Jesus acts and the person is healed. We may be jaded enough not to believe in the story, or else so familiar with it that we don’t notice what is going on. It is, however, a story that has much to tell us about what it is that theological education should be helping the churches to do.

Ecclesiology and Ethics in 1 Corinthians (Hays, 1994)

Paul was a planter of churches (1 Cor 3:6-9), an organizer of far-flung little communities around the Mediterranean that united clusters of disparate people in the startling confession that God had raised a crucified man, Jesus, from the dead and thus initiated a new age in which the whole world was to be transformed. The letters of Paul that survive in the NT are his pastoral communications with these mission outposts. Though separated from them, he continued to offer them exhortation and counsel about how to conduct their common life “worthily of the gospel of Christ” (Phil 1:27).

These general observations about the Pauline mission merely restate common knowledge, but their implications for Pauline ethics have not been sufficiently appreciated. I would like to draw particular attention to their significance for interpreting the moral vision of the Pauline letters. It will be my contention that Pauline ethics is fundamentally ecclesial in character and that we begin to grasp his moral vision only when we understand that he sees the church as inheriting the corporate vocation of God’s covenant people, Israel. Apart from this foundational assumption, Paul’s ethic can only appear to be what many critics have thought it to be: a haphazard conglomeration of moral notions drawn eclectically from the commonplaces of his time.

“Did Not Our Hearts Burn Within Us?” (Hays, 2002)

School of Theology Graduation Ceremony, Charles Sturt University Canberra, Australia

Their hopes were not wrong, just out of focus. They were looking for a prophet mighty in deed and word, like Moses, to lead the people out of bondage; instead, they got Jesus, a prophet mighty in deed and word who died on a cross. This suffering was not in their script, so Cleopas and friend failed to discern what God had done in the resurrection of Jesus, even when the Risen Lord was walking right beside them. Why?

To find out, we must step back in and resume the story.

“The Faith of Christ”: Engaging the Writings of Richard B. Hays by A.A. Just (2003)

When Richard Hays published The Faith of Jesus Christ in 1983 it sent a ripple through the New Testament community that still may be felt today. Its re-publication in a more accessible form for Eerdmans in 2002 signaled that his book had real staying power. This new volume is not a rewrite of his original work but its presentation again, accompanied by a winning foreword by Luke Timothy Johnson and a reflective introduction by the author himself about the theological implications of his thesis. It also includes two appendixes, one by James D. G. Dunn and Hays’s response to Dunn that represent part of the debate in the Society of Biblical Literature of the Pauline Theology Group from 1991 over the question of “the faith of Jesus Christ.”

…And They Shall Prophesy (Hays, 2005)

Baccalaureate Sermon, Duke Divinity School, May 2005.

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.”

Now, one of the things that we have worked hard to teach you here at Duke Divinity School is the difficult art of
discerning when you can and cannot take the biblical story and apply it straight off to the situation in which you find yourself. This art is called, as you know, “hermeneutics.” Let me give you an illustration.