An Interview with Craig Keener on Biblical Scholarship

Dr. Craig Keener is a New Testament scholar, and the F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. He has written the quintessential modern work on miracles, and is one of the kindest and most engaging scholars I’ve had the pleasure of working with.

To be clear — we didn’t interview Dr. Keener (not yet, at least), but someone else did (it was Zondervan) and posted it on YouTube. The good doctor is so awesome, that he actually listed out a time-stamped table of contents for the video:

  • [0:00]    Devotional reading habits
  • [0:34]    How he reads in preparation for his next book
  • [0:57]    How he keeps up with the latest scholarship
  • [1:20]    Writing the Acts commentary
  • [1:43]    Approaching the research process
  • [2:40]    Organizing 100,000 index cards before switching to a computer
  • [4:14]    Organizing research digitally
  • [4:55]    The importance of primary sources
  • [5:54]    Examples of using primary sources for understanding the biblical text: letter writing, viticulture, wolves and sheep
  • [7:01]    The importance of good secondary sources
  • [7:30]    How to choose secondary sources
  • [8:01]    E.P. Sanders on writing
  • [8:22]    The early writing process and organizing notes into a first draft
  • [8:56]    Making the first edit of a manuscript
  • [9:09]    Letting a manuscript sit
  • [9:27]    The editing process and refining a manuscript
  • [10:07]  Writing in stages and the importance of organization
  • [10:33]  What a typical day of writing looks like
  • [10:52]  How the Acts commentary changed his writing schedule
  • [11:38]  The importance of getting enough sleep
  • [12:21]  What a writing habit looks like
  • [12:40]  Thinking about the audience
  • [12:50]  The audience for the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible
  • [13:12]  Writing books for other scholars
  • [13:42]  Writing to please the Lord
  • [14:12]  Advice to his younger self
  • [14:57]  Researching philosophy of science in preparation for Miracles
  • [15:23]  How to read and understand difficult boo [15:51]  Under-appreciated books in the discipline of biblical studies
  • [16:15]  Memory, Jesus, and the Synoptic Gospels, by Robert K. McIver
  • [17:39]  How having ADHD has helped him as a scholar
  • [18:10]  Having a healthy perspective on strengths and weakness
  • [18:55]  The right way to think about scholars more successful than you
  • [19:55]  What it means to be a biblical scholar at this time in history

Dr. Keener has also been so kind as to provide many free videos on the interpretation of Revelation recently, and they are well worth your time to watch. You can find them all, and much more, at www.craigkeener.com

Jonathan Watson