David F. Watson

Academic Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs; Associate Professor of New Testament


Teaching in a seminary offers me the opportunity to contribute to the renewal of the church that is so deeply needed within the mainline denominations.

As a United Methodist minister I care very much about the life of the church, and I’ve seen the ways in which clergy, given the proper training and tools, can energize congregations and help to transform lives in the name of Jesus Christ.

I believe that the New Testament is the definitive revelation of the love of God made present in Jesus Christ. As such it is deeply relevant for our lives in the twenty-first century. Yet the works of the New Testament have been influenced by the social and historical situations of the communities that produced them. They therefore bear the marks of first-century composition. Striking a balance between understanding these works as ancient texts and as present-day sacred scripture is a difficult but important process. To the greatest extent possible, we must hear the texts on their own terms while being open to the ways in which God works through these texts to lead us in the Christian life.

– David F. Watson

Teaching and Research
Dr. Watson teaches New Testament, Greek, courses in church renewal, and courses in Bible and disability. His interests include theological (and especially Wesleyan) readings of Scripture and the Bible and disabilities. He participates both in the Society of Biblical Literature and the Wesleyan Theological Society.
As Academic Dean, Dr. Watson oversees the academic program of the school and is a member of United’s Executive Staff.
B.A., Texas Tech University (1993)

M.Div., Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University (1997)

Ph.D., Southern Methodist University (2005)

Dr. Watson is an ordained elder in the West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church. Before beginning his academic career he served in the local church and a United Methodist campus ministry. He currently serves on the University Senate of The United Methodist Church. His most recent book is Scripture and the Life of God: Why the Bible Matters Today More than Ever (Seedbed, 2017). Dr. Watson blogs at www.davidfwatson.me, and he is one of the hosts of “Plain Truth: A Holy-Spirited Podcast,” available on iTunesPlayer F.M. and other podcast providers.
Scripture and the Life of God: Why the Bible Matters Today More than Ever, Seedbed, 2017.

With William J. Abraham, Key United Methodist Beliefs, Abingdon, 2013.

With Joel B. Green, ed., Wesley, Wesleyans, and Reading Bible as Scripture, Baylor University Press, 2012.

Honor Among Christians: The Cultural Key to the Messianic Secret, Fortress, 2010.

Article(s), Chapter(s), and Review(s):
“Taking Theological Liberalism Seriously,” review of The Rise of Theological Liberalism and the Decline of American Methodism, by James V. Heidinger II, Good News, November/December 2017: 18-22.

“Sorting through Scripture,” review of What is the Bible? How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel about Everything, by Rob Bell, Good News, September/October 2017: 29-31.

“Luke and Acts,” in Disability and the Bible: A Commentary, ed. Sarah J. Melcher, Mikeal C. Parsons, and Amos Yong, Baylor, 2017.

“God is on the Move in Cuba, but Trump Isn’t Helping,” The Christian Post, June 16, 2017.

“Theology, Bible, and Disability: An Overview,” Catalyst: Contemporary Evangelical Perspectives for United Methodist Seminarians, February 8, 2017.

“What Christians Should Know about the Sad State of American Public Discourse,” The Christian Post, November 25, 2016.

Introduction to Romans, The John Wesley Collection, ed. Andrew C. Thompson, Seedbed, 2015.

“Embodiment, Vulnerability, and Relationships: A Father’s Perspective,” Weavings 31.2, Feb/Mar/Apr 2016.

“Methodism and Millennials,” Good News, July/August 2015: 6.

“Honor and Shame,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Bible and Theology, executive ed. Samuel E. Balentine, Oxford University Press, 2015.

“Cuba’s Methodism,” Good News, March/April 2015, 6.

“The Holy Spirit Fuels Renewal,” Good News, January/February 2015: 14-15.

With William J. Abraham, “A Creedal Faith,” Circuit Rider, November/December/January 2014/15.

With Harriet S. Watson, “God’s Faithfulness and the Challenge of Parenthood,” Good News, September/October 2014: 32-35.

“The Importance of Aldersgate,” Good News, September/October 2014: 6.

“Wrestling with Inspiration,” review of Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today, by Adam Hamilton, Good News, July/August 2014.

Exegesis Essays for Lectionary Homiletics, February 17 and 24, 2013.

“Scripture as Canon,” in Wesley, Wesleyans, and Reading Bible as Scripture, ed. Joel B. Green and David F. Watson, Baylor University Press, 2012.

Review of Disability Studies and Biblical Literature, ed. Candida R. Moss and Jeremy Schipper, Religious Studies Review 38 no. 3 (2012): 150.

Review of Mark: Texts @ Contexts, ed. Nicole Wilkinson Duran, Teresa Okure, and Daniel Patte, Catholic Biblical Quarterly 74 (2012): 420-22.

Response to Joseph H. Hellerman’s review of Honor Among Christians: The Cultural Key to the Messianic Secret, in Conversations in Religion and Theology, 9:2 (2011)

Exegesis Essays for Lectionary Homiletics, October 16 and 30, 2011.

“Spiritual Sobriety in 1 Peter,” Expository Times, 122 (11): 539-42.

Exegesis Essays for Lectionary Homiletics, October 16 and 30, 2011.

Review of Psalms: God Cares How I Feel, curriculum for people with intellectual disabilities by Friendship Ministries, Journal of Religion, Disability, and Health, 15.3 (2011).

“Canonical Theism and Scripture: Reflections on a Scholarly Movement Ten Years After Its Birth,” Wesleyan Theological Journal 46:1, Spring 2011.

“The Life of Aesop and the Gospel of Mark: Two Ancient Approaches to Elite Values,” Journal of Biblical Literature 129.5 (2010): 697-714.

Introduction and notes for the Gospel of Mark, Wesley Study Bible, Abingdon, 2009.

Propers 20-29 in lectionary commentary, New Proclamation Series, Year B (2009), Fortress, 2008.

Exegesis Essays for Lectionary Homiletics, June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 2008.

“Jesus of History and Canon: Some Thoughts on Interdisciplinary Scholarship,” in Canonical Theism, ed. William J. Abraham, Jason E. Vickers, and Natalie Van Kirk, Eerdmans, 2008.

Review of Reading with Anthropology, by Louise J. Lawrence, Review of Biblical Literature, November 15, 2006.

“The ‘Messianic Secret’: Demythologizing a Non-Existent Markan Theme,” Journal of Theology, Summer 2006.

Personal Life
David is married to Harriet. They have two sons: Luke and Sean.