When Lebanon's tragic civil war broke out in the mid 1970s,

I was a student at the American University of Beirut studying international politics and Islam.  I never realized what an indelible mark this year would put on me as this dangerous national tragedy unfolded.  Since the university witnessed sporadic closures, I began studying at Beirut’s Near East School of Theology (an Arab-Armenian seminary) and there for the first time was exposed to the technical study of the New Testament (under the guidance of Dr. Kenneth E. Bailey).  It seemed that from here my life found its twin navigational markers: the New Testament and the world of the Middle East.

My goal as a speaker, teacher and scholar is to help us realize how knowing the unique world of the Middle East and ancient Judaism can shape how we read the Bible today.  This is particularly true of the gosp
els.  Jesus' cultural reflexes were different than ours and unless we understand him in his world, we risk misrepresenting his story.  In addition, knowing the world of the Middle East (and its churches) will also transform our understanding of modern issues that persist in that part of the world.

Following graduation from Fuller Seminary, I completed a Ph.D. in New Testament at King's College, Aberdeen University, Scotland.  My research was published as The Anointed Community, The Holy Spirit in the Johannine Tradition and this launched a long-standing interest in the literature of John which continues to this day in books and articles.

But in addition, I have also retained my passion for the Middle  East and travel there regularly.  I have also had the good fortune of being befriended by many Arabic-speaking Christian leaders and pastors from Damascus to Jerusalem to Cairo.  And their 2000 year story of life and courage is nothing less than inspiring.

In 1993 I wrote my first study of the Israeli-Palestine dilemma entitled, Who Are God's People in the Middle East?  In 2003 I wrote a second more complete volume, Whose Land?  Whose Promise?  What Christians Are Not Being Told About Israel and the Palestinians.  This book is now being revised in a second edition.  In 2010 I completed a theological assessment entitled Jesus and the Land.  The New Testament Challenge to ‘Holy Land’ Theology.

I have also kept up an active research schedule in New Testament studies.  Interpreting the Gospel of John (1996, 2012), Commentary on the Letters of John (1996), Commentary on the Fourth Gospel (2000), The New Testament in Antiquity (2009), The Bible and the Land (2010), Encounters with Jesus (2010), and Jesus and the Jewish Festivals (2012) are a few current publications.

I served on the faculty of Wheaton College & Graduate School for 25 years and in 2017 moved to Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.



Ph.D., King’s College, Aberdeen University, Scotland

Research: “The Anointed Community: the Holy Spirit & the Johannine Tradition.”  Mentor: I. H. Marshall

M.Div., Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA

B.A., University of California, Riverside;  The American University, Beirut, Lebanon


•Visiting Professor of New Testament, Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, MI (current)

•Professor of New Testament, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL

•Associate Professor of New Testament, North Park University, Chicago, IL

•Assistant Professor of New Testament, King College, Bristol, TN