Doctorate in New Testament Context

Next Cohort to Begin Summer 2021

Program Description

The Doctorate in New Testament Context, featuring professors Scot McKnight, Nijay Gupta, and Lynn Cohick, provides a theological, practical, and academic framework for pastors and congregational leaders to think critically and faithfully about the context of the New Testament while reviewing character, ministry call and direction. Through involvement in an action-reflection process, 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. The cohort is limited to 17 highly motivated students.

New Testament Context is offered as a specialization of both the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) and the Doctor of Theological Ministry (DTM). Unlike the DMin, the DTM degree is open to students with a Master of Arts degree.

In 2018, students in a previous cohort of the NT Context program collaborated together on a book: 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


Program Requirements 

Course Schedule

The courses meet in January and summer of each year. A course/class meets for one week long intensive, five days per week, beginning on Monday at 9 a.m. and ending on Friday around noon. This is a wonderful format for Doctorate study and it allows you to focus for about 5-6 months on each course.

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 the 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!”


Application Information

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. To be considered for admission, please complete the Doctorate application form. We will begin announcing admission decisions upon receipt of completed applications. 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.

In addition, once admitted you must submit a $500 tuition deposit to reserve your place and join a cohort. This deposit is applied to your first two monthly tuition payments. This tuition deposit is refundable only if you complete the entire application process and are denied admission. Your Doctorate application must be accompanied by the non-refundable, $50 application fee in order to be processed.

Essay Questions for Application

All applicants interested in the Doctorate in New Testament Context must select one of the following essay topics:

1. What distinctive elements in the Christian faith are derived from the Jewishness of Jesus and the Jewishness of Paul?

2. Explain the importance of the complex factors at work in the historical context for understanding Jesus, Paul, or Peter.

3. How does the Jewishness of Jesus, Paul, and Peter impact one major theme in his thinking?

Essays, must be five pages, typed, double spaced. Develop an academic paper through which you identify and defend how you would form a biblical, theological, and ecclesial approach. Identify, utilize, and properly cite a minimum of three scholarly academic references.

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