Interview: Joshua F. Walker

In my original post introducing the interview series I would embark upon on this blog, I mentioned highlighting students and calling them scholars as well. While it may not be the case in every seminary/grad school, the MA/PhD students at my institution are encouraged to be vibrantly engaged scholars by participating in scholarship through their research, publishing, paper presentations, and in engagement with the guild and church. This interview highlights the first of what I hope to be a handful of interviews with McMaster Divinity College students/scholars.
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Josh Walker is in the PhD program at MacDiv and is an all around good guy. He blogs at www.bringthebooks.org.
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AR: You’re originally from California. What degrees have you previously undertaken, whereabouts, and what brought you to MacDiv?
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JW: It is true I spent time as a young boy in California, but I would consider Arizona to be my home. It was in Arizona that I went to college at Grand Canyon University, where I studied philosophy there under David Reiter. From there, my wife and I moved to Mississippi where I attended Reformed Theological Seminary. At RTS I found a passion for the biblical languages, mainly Greek, so I spent much of my time reading the New Testament in the original language and reading books about the Greek language. When we decided to pursue a Ph.D., MacDiv seemed like a good fit because one of the worlds leading Greek scholars, Stanley E. Porter, taught there. Now that we have been at MacDiv for about two years, we find that our choice to study under Dr. Porter was a good one. He is a great supervisor and a scholar worth modeling.
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AR: What are your research interests?
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JW: As noted above, my primary research interest is Greek. I am currently working on applying a linguistic method to one of Paul’s letters and seeing the wonderful fruit it bears. In addition to Greek, I enjoy Pauline studies, both exegetical and theological, as well as canon formation and early Christian origins.
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AR: What do you believe is the role of Christian higher education?
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JW: I reflected on this question in a paper I wrote this semester. Without going into all the detail I did there, fundamentally I view Christian higher education as serving the local Church. All the work I do in the academy is done with the aim of edifying the body of Christ, in some respect. Now, this does not mean that everything I do needs to be written is such a way that the average Christian could understand it, but it does mean that I have in mind work that will, in some way, edify all believers.
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AR: Are there any books outside of the Bible that have been especially formative in your Christian walk?
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JW: One book that was formative for me as a new Christian was Desiring God by John Piper. I found as a new Christian that Piper’s book helped me to see that Christianity was not first and foremost about me, but that it was about God. It took my focus off of myself and placed it on God. This may seem pretty simple and straightforward, but at the time, this was revolutionary. To think that everything was ultimately about God and his glory was a novel thought that changed the way I thought about everything.
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AR: Do you have any notable experiences with the Gospel of John you could share?
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JW: I have spent a lot of time studying the very first verse of John and how it relates to the prologue of John and the rest of John’s Gospel in general. Of particular interest for me is the third clause of John 1:1, which teaches that the Word (who was made flesh in John 1:14) is the one true God of the universe. The implications of this are startling. From the very first words of his Gospel, John declares the unique and utter divinity of Jesus the Christ. This is a truth that is repeated throughout his Gospel, but it is so important that John links it with Genesis 1:1 (“In the beginning”) right from the start of his book.
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2 comments

  1. Mike Aubrey

    Josh, would you be willing to share a little more detail on this?

    “I am currently working on applying a linguistic method to one of Paul’s letters and seeing the wonderful fruit it bears.”

    Thanks.

    • Josh Walker

      Mike,

      Thanks for the question, but I am afraid you must wait for my dissertation for much more on that topic. I will say that I am applying a particular school of linguistics known as Systemic-Functional Linguistics to the Pauline corpus. Beyond that, I cannot say much more. As I get closer to finishing by dissertation, I might be able to say more, but for now, I am going to hold my cards close. Again, thanks for the question and interest.

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