Doctorate in New Testament Context

Program Description

The Doctorate in New Testament Context, supervised by professors Scot McKnight and Nijay Gupta, provides a theological, practical, and academic framework for pastors, congregational leaders, writers and all who desire to think critically and faithfully about the context of the New Testament while reviewing character, ministry call, and direction. Students will develop an ability to bring the Bible to life for the people in their ministries and help to create church cultures that learn to read the Bible better. 

Unique opportunities for peer collaboration are encouraged. For example, the 2018 cohort published Conflict Management and the Apostle Paul, edited by Scot McKnight and Greg Mamula. 

“The Doctorate in New Testament Context will give pastors the opportunity of a lifetime. In my speaking and conversations with pastors, preachers, and lay folks, one of the most illuminating features we have to bring to the church is clarifying the historical context of Jesus and the apostles. Time and time again flashes of insight come to Bible readers when they grasp a social custom at work, a religious controversy throbbing behind a question put to Jesus, or a historical memory that is shaping precisely what Jesus was teaching or the apostle Paul writing. Because this ‘background’ or ‘Jewish context’ is so important and at the same time much less accessible for pastors, the Doctorate in the New Testament Context will provide pastors with the opportunity to focus study on Jewish texts and this will enable them to shed light on pressing concerns in the church today.” — Dr. Scot McKnight 



Dr. Scot McKnight, Julius R. Mantey Chair of New Testament, directs the New Testament Context program. 

Dr. Nijay Gupta, Professor of New Testament, participates in the New Testament Context program. 


Dr. Scot McKnight 


Dr. Nijay Gupta 


Specialized Courses 

In addition to the three DMin core courses, students take four courses (16 quarter hours) in New Testament Context.  


DM 7850 New Testament and Its World I (4 quarter hours) 

This course will study the world of Jesus and the Gospels. The seminar will focus on five topics, one per day: Sexuality, Torah Observance and Ethics, Eschatology, Judgment and Hell, Social Realities, and Jesus and Judaism. These issues can be controversial in our day, and we examine them in their historical contexts.  


DM 7851 New Testament and Its World II (4 quarter hours) 

 This course will examine earliest Christianity in the context of Greco-Roman religions. This seminar builds on the previous courses on Judaism, Jesus and earliest Christianity. This course will extend the previous study of Judaism and the Greco-Roman world into the world of the apostle Paul. We will look especially at the similarities and differences between early Christianity and Roman religion, Greek religious influence, Jewish religion, Foreign/imported cults and mystery cults, Household religion, and the Imperial cult (“Divine Honors for the Caesars”). Key questions we will examine overall: What made Christianity distinctive? What made it dangerous and offensive? What made it attractive and inviting? 

DM 7852 New Testament and Its World III (4 quarter hours) 

Students of the Bible are always striving to understand the Bible in its original context while making connections to their own contexts. Key to such contextual analyses are the topics of race and ethnicity. This course seeks to develop a biblical theology of race and ethnicity by considering these questions: what is meant by race and ethnicity, particularly in antiquity? How do race and ethnicity relate to slavery? How our understanding of race and ethnicity inform the contemporary Christian church?  


DM 7853 Study Tour in Israel (4 quarter hours) 

This course takes students on a trip of a lifetime to Israel. Students discover the ancient world of Jesus and his apostles, explore archaeological sites around the Sea of Galilee and within the city of Jerusalem. Students will have opportunities to spend time in reflection and discussion with other students and participants on the trip. Study tour offered in the spring of a students’ third year of the program.  



Students can work on many possible thesis projects in completing the DMin in New Testament Context, including, but not limited to a focused study of a biblical book, or a topic such as poverty/wealth in the ancient and contemporary world, creation care in the NT, and holiness in Jesus’s teachings. 


A Note from Scot McKnight 

“I made a commitment some 15 years ago that I wanted to make the knowledge we have about Judaism more accessible to the church, and to do that we have to learn to “translate” those details and complicated discussions into language that not only can be understood but that matters for ordinary people living ordinary lives in ordinary churches. The Doctorate in the New Testament Context is designed to help pastors create church cultures that learn to read the Bible better. Pastors routinely tell me they don’t have time to read all those Jewish sources, so we want to carve out time for pastors to progress in a degree that leads them into great Jewish texts that are behind our New Testament. The Doctorate in New Testament Context will give pastors the opportunity of a lifetime, time to investigate Jewish texts in order to enhance our perspective of the New Testament. In doing so, the Doctorate in New Testament Context will give pastors texts and tools to do this for themselves and for their congregation and show their congregations how they can do it too!” 

Apply Now

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. To be considered for admission, please complete the Doctorate application form along with a nonrefundable application fee. This is a highly competitive program and special consideration is given to highly motivated, talented students who have a passion for Christ’s church and who want to make a difference in their current context.  



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