The Trial Narratives: Conflict, Power, and Identity in the New Testament (2010)


In this book I explore the four accounts of Jesus’ trial (in the Gospels) and the numerous trials of his followers in The Acts of the Apostles. The focus is less on “What really happened?” and more on “How do these trials describe conflicts over authority within the world of the Roman Empire?” I wrote the book to help Bible readers better understand the sociopolitical struggles that were a part of the world in which Christianity emerged.

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“The clashing narratives, social worlds, and claims to authority in our own courtrooms are all too familiar. In this engaging study, Matthew Skinner takes us into the same drama in the Gospels and Acts.”—Beverly Roberts Gaventa, Princeton Theological Seminary

“Skinner deftly explores early Christian interactions with the sociopolitical structures of the Roman Empire.”—Warren Carter, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University

“Skinner demonstrates the pivotal role played by stories of judgment and political power in the formation of Christian identity.”—Gail R. O’Day, Wake Forest University, School of Divinity

The Unrelenting God: God’s Action in Scripture: Essays in Honor of Beverly Roberts Gaventa (2013)

I co-edited and contributed an essay to this book. It is a collection of academic essays, focusing on how the Bible speaks about God’s activity in the world. The essays examine what it means for scripture (especially Luke, Acts, and the writings of Paul) to describe God acting decisively on behalf of human beings and all creation.

Beverly Roberts Gaventa is one of my teachers. She was my dissertation director at Princeton Theological Seminary, and in fall 2013 she became Distinguished Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Baylor University. My co-editor, David J. Downs, and I join with 14 other biblical scholars and theologians to create a collection of essays inspired by Gaventa’s relentlessly theological approach to understanding the Bible.

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Shaping the Scriptural Imagination: Truth, Meaning, and the Theological Interpretation of the Bible (2011)


By Donald H. Juel

I co-edited and wrote an introduction for the book. It consists of writings and sermons by one of my teachers, the late great Don Juel. Don was pivotal in my education, teaching me that the only things more interesting than the Bible are its interpreters, who usually will do whatever they can to make it behave.

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“An inspiring read for those whose passion, like Juel’s, is for God and for the Bible as God’s living, unsettling address.”—Janet Soskice, University of Cambridge

“This collection shows Juel at his very best. Here you will find a humble and very much real Christian.”—Alan F. Segal, Barnard College

Locating Paul: Places of Custody as Narrative Settings in Acts 21–28 (2003)


This a revised version of my PhD dissertation, which means it’s rather technical and includes lots of laborious footnotes. The book tries to do a couple of things: (1) make sense of the final quarter of The Acts of the Apostles, in which the extended account of Paul’s incarceration, judicial contests, and transfers makes for much less interesting reading than the rest of the book, and (2) explore the importance of settings in biblical storytelling. Maybe the most valuable aspect of the book is its argument that Paul’s status as a prisoner does not prevent him from continuing his missionary activity. Acts thus suggests that Paul continues to live out his calling as a witness to Jesus even despite official attempts to keep him quarantined, out of wider circulation.

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A “very competent, innovative study”—Robert C. Tannehill, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly

“This is a fine study which is essential reading for anyone working on Acts, particularly Paul in Acts or Acts 21–28”—Steve Walton, Journal for the Study of the New Testament

New Proclamation, Year B, 2006: Easter through Pentecost (2005)


I am a co-author of this book, a collection of short essays commenting on biblical texts assigned for preaching by the Revised Common Lectionary.

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