Ben Witherington III

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Ben Witherington III
Ben.Witherington III.jpg
Born (1951-12-30) December 30, 1951 (age 70)
High Point, North Carolina, U.S.
TitleProfessor of New Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary
Spouse(s)Ann Witherington
Children2 (1 deceased)
Academic background
EducationUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Alma materUniversity of Durham (PhD)
Academic work
DisciplineBiblical studies
Sub-disciplineNew Testament studies
InstitutionsAshland Theological Seminary
Vanderbilt University
Duke Divinity School
Asbury Theological Seminary
Notable worksThe Jesus Quest, The Paul Quest

Ben Witherington III (born December 30, 1951) is an American Wesleyan-Arminian New Testament scholar. Witherington is Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary, a Wesleyan-Holiness seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, and an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church.


Witherington was born on December 30, 1951, in High Point, North Carolina.[1] He is son of Ben, a banker and Joyce West, a piano teacher.[1] On June 1, 1977, Witherington married Ann E. Sears, an educator. He had two children, Christy Ann and David Benjamin.[1][2] On January 11, 2012 Witherington's daughter, died of a pulmonary embolism.[2]

Witherington attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English,[1][3] along with minors in Philosophy and Religious Studies.[3] He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (1977) and a Ph.D. from the Durham University in England (1981).[1][3]


From 1984 to 1995 he was professor of New Testament at Ashland Theological Seminary.[1][3] He is currently "Jean R. Amos" Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary (1995-)[1][3][4] Witherington has also taught at Vanderbilt University, and on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland.[3]

From 1982 to 1983 he had been a faculty member of the Duke Divinity School,[1][3] and the High Point College. In 1988, 1990, 1992, he was a visiting professor of the Gordon–Conwell Theological Seminary. He was a research fellow (1992), and member (1996) at the Robinson College from the Cambridge University.[1][3]

He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature,[1][3] Society for the Study of the New Testament[1][3][5] and the Institute for Biblical Research.[1][3]

In 1982, he was ordained as a Methodist elder.[1] Witherington has presented seminars for churches, colleges and biblical meetings in the United States, England, Estonia, Russia, Europe, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Australia.[6] He has also led tours to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt.[3] His books The Jesus Quest and The Paul Quest were selected as top biblical studies works by the Evangelical magazine Christianity Today.[1][3] Witherington has been seen on the History Channel, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, The Discovery Channel, A&E and PAX Network.[6] He was featured in the BBC and PBS special entitled The Story of Jesus.[3]


Witherington is a prominent evangelical scholar.[6] He is Wesleyan Armininan in his theology.[7][8][9][10] In The Problem with Evangelical Theology Witherington strongly challenges the exegetical foundation of Calvinism on each of its distinctive tenets.[11][12] He often insists on the possibility of apostasy of the believer and the related doctrine of Conditional preservation of the saints (conditional security).[11][13] He generally refers to the character of God, the nature of his grace and his love as a justification for his soteriology.[10][14] He is also a devout pacifist.[15]

Selected works[edit]


Witherington has written over sixty books.

  • Witherington III, Ben (1984). Women in the ministry of Jesus : a study of Jesus' attitudes to women and their roles as reflected in his earthly life. Society for New Testament Studies, Monograph Series. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • ——— (1988). Women in the Earliest Churches. Society for New Testament Studies, Monograph Series. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • ——— (1988). Grace in Galatia : a commentary on St Paul's Letter to the Galatians. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
  • ———; Witherington, Ann (1990). Women and the Genesis of Christianity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • ——— (1990). The christology of Jesus. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.
  • ——— (1992). Jesus, Paul and the end of the world : a comparative study in New Testament eschatology. Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.
  • ——— (1993). Conflict and community in Corinth : a socio-rhethorical commentary on 1 & 2 Corinthians. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans.
  • ——— (1994). Friendship and finances in Philippi : the letter of Paul to the Philippians. Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International.
  • ——— (1994). Paul's narrative thought world : the tapestry of tragedy and triumph. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press.
  • ——— (1994). Jesus the Sage: The Pilgrimage of Wisdom. London: T & T Clark.
  • ——— (1995). The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  • ——— (1995). John's wisdom : a commentary on the fourth Gospel. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press.
  • ——— (1998). The Acts of the Apostles. A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
  • ——— (1998). The Paul Quest: The Renewed Search for the Jew of Tarsus. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  • ——— (1998). The many faces of the Christ : the Christologies of the New Testament and beyond. New York: Crossroad.
  • ——— (1999). Jesus the Seer: The Progress of Prophecy. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.
  • ——— (1999). The realm of the reign : reflections on the dominion of God. Nashville, TN: Discipleship Resources.
  • ——— (2000). The Gospel of Mark : a socio-rherorical commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
  • ——— (2001). New Testament History : A Narrative Account. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
  • ——— (2001). The shadow of the Almighty : father, son, and spirit in biblical perspectives. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub.
  • ——— (2002). The poetry of piety : an annotated anthology of Christian poetry. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
  • ——— (2003). The Brother of Jesus: the Dramatic Story & Meaning of the First Archaeological Link to Jesus & his Family. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.
  • ——— (2004). Paul's letter to the Romans : a socio-rhetorical commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans.
  • ——— (2004). The Gospel Code : Novel Claims About Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Da Vinci. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  • ——— (2006). Matthew. Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys Publishing.
  • ——— (2007). What Have They Done with Jesus?. New York: Harper Collins.
  • ——— (2007). Making a Meal of It — Rethinking the Theology of the Lord's Supper. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press.
  • ——— (2007). Troubled Waters — Rethinking the Theology of Baptism. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press.
  • ——— (2007a). The Problem with Evangelical Theology: Testing the Exegetical Foundations of Calvinism, Dispensationalism, and Wesleyanism. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press.
  • ——— (2010). Revelation and the end times : unraveling God's message of hope. Nashville: Abingdon Press.
  • ——— (2016). New Testament Theology and Ethics. Vol. 1. Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.
  • ——— (2016). New Testament Theology and Ethics. Vol. 2. Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.


Witherington has written articles in different journals as: Ashland Theological Journal, Bible Q & A, Beliefnet, Bible Review, Biblical Archaeology Review, Christian History, Christianity Today, Journal of Biblical Literature, New Testament Studies, North Carolina Christian Advocate, Quarterly Review, Tyndale Bulletin, UM Publishing House.[16]

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Sams 2008.
  2. ^ a b Halcomb 2013, p. 9.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n ATS 2020.
  4. ^ Bauer 2013, p. 3.
  5. ^ STNS 2016.
  6. ^ a b c BAS 2020.
  7. ^ Kirkpatrick 2018, p. 118.
  8. ^ Treier 2008. "Wesleyan Sholar"
  9. ^ Witherington III 2007a, I am referring to Arminianism, more commonly called Wesleyanism [...].
  10. ^ a b Witherington III 2013. The first and most important reason I'm a Wesleyan is because of the character of God [...] which is love freely given and freely received. [...] According to the Calvinistic message we are saved by grace through faith alone and our actions have nothing to do with it. [...] According to the Wesleyan approach to the gospel, it's not just about notional assent [...] it's about trusting the truth about God and that is an activity.
  11. ^ a b Treier 2008, ..
  12. ^ Witherington III 2012b. It is one of the most basic tenants (sic) of Wesleyan Arminian theology that salvation is not complete at the new birth (or justification). The Wesleyan Arminian stresses that in fact there are three tenses to salvation for the believer—"I have been saved (the new birth), I am being saved (sanctification), and I shall be saved to the uttermost (glorification)." The Arminian does not believe that a person who has only experienced the new birth has completed the salvation process, or that the rest of the process is inevitable and foreordained.
  13. ^ Hamilton 2010, p. 561.
  14. ^ Sider 2019, p. 217-218.
  15. ^ Witherington III 2018.


External links[edit]