Getting to Know: James North

March 20, 2023

What are you studying at Northern Seminary, and when do you anticipate graduating?

I am pursuing a Doctorate in Theology and Ministry, and I plan on graduating in 2025.

With so many seminary options today, why did you choose Northern for your studies?

I chose Northern because of the uniqueness of the Doctorate in Theology and Ministry coupled with working with one primary professor and a single cohort. I also love the relationship-building aspect of the program—I have already made great lifelong friends in my classes.

Who have been your favorite professors, and why?

Scot McKnight has been amazing. It is incredible to be able to study with a world-class scholar who is actually having a fun time teaching! Scot is also a teacher who is rooted in the life of the Church, and that comes through in how he teaches.

Which course has been your favorite, and why?

I recently took New Testament in Its World III, and it was amazing! We focused on the Pharisees, and it was eye opening! I have completed seven years of biblical and theological education, and I realized I really knew only tropes about the Pharisees. Seeing them as actual people and not just villains has radically impacted my reading of the New Testament.

What sets Northern apart from other seminaries or masters/doctoral level programs?

The quality of the professors and the small class sizes are great. I really appreciate being in a class that is small enough that even people who normally don’t feel comfortable speaking up in class can feel comfortable doing so.

What is your favorite aspect of being at/studying at Northern?

Honestly, I love all the meals that we have together and the late nights discussing all that we are absorbing.

What is one very specific thing you’ve learned thus far at Northern?

I would have to say again what I mentioned earlier: learning about the Pharisees.

What do you do outside of your studies at Northern?

I occasionally enjoy woodworking and traveling, but since I have twin 3-year-olds and a 7-year-old, most of my free time is spent keeping them alive.

What is one fun fact about you that many people might be surprised to learn?

I built most of the furniture in my house from scratch. Also, I am a huge fan of the Star Wars movies, and I make replicas of storm trooper helmets.

Rev. James North teaches high school Bible classes at a Christian school. Prior to becoming a teacher, he served as a pastor for 22 years. He and his wife, Kelly, have three young children—Isabelle, Elias, and Olivia—and they live in Salem, Oregon.