Gary Burge, Ph.D.


Biblical and Theological Studies Department

Professor of New Testament
On Faculty since 1992

Office: BGC 554
Phone: (630)752-5932


Ph.D., New Testament, King's College, The University of Aberdeen, Scotland, 1983

M.Div., Theological Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1978

B.A., Political Science, University of California, Riverside, 1974

About Gary Burge

As I teach New Testament at Wheaton, I want my students to grasp how knowing the unique world of the Middle East in antiquity shapes how we read the New Testament today. Jesus' cultural reflexes were different than ours and unless we understand him in his world, we risk misrepresenting his story. The setting of first century Judea and the Roman world must be the lens through which we read the New Testament. This has been the passion of my career since the 1970s and I want my students to inherit it.

When Lebanon's tragic civil war broke out in the early 1970s, I was a student at the American University of Beirut studying international relations and Islam. I never realized what an indelible mark this year would put on me as this dangerous national tragedy unfolded before our eyes. Since the university witnessed sporadic closures, I began studying at Beirut's Near East School of Theology (an Arab-Armenian seminary) and for the first time I was exposed to the technical study of the New Testament (under Dr. Kenneth E. Bailey). It seemed that from here my life found its twin navigational markers: the New Testament and the world of the Middle East.

Following graduation from Fuller Seminary in 1978, I completed a Ph.D. in New Testament at King's College, Aberdeen University, Scotland, under Professor I. Howard Marshall. In 1987 my research was published as The Anointed Community, The Holy Spirit in the Johannine Tradition and this launched a longstanding interest in the literature of John which continues to this day. I have also explored how the culture of ancient Judea in the Roman period has shaped the stories we read in the gospels (see bibliography).

But in addition, I have also retained my passion for the modern Middle East. I have had the good fortune of being befriended by many Palestinian Christian pastors and learning with dismay about the suffering of the Palestinian church in modern Israel. But these relationships led to still other friendships in the Arabic-speaking church that have led me to Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt in recent years. In 2003 I wrote Whose Land? Whose Promise? What Christians Are Not Being Told About Israel and the Palestinians (fully revised 2013). And in 2010 I wrote Jesus and the Land. The New Testament Challenge to "Holy Land" Theology in order to study how the New Testament explores the land promises of the Hebrew Bible.

The New Testament in its Middle East context continues to interest me deeply and many of our students at Wheaton are invested in this study.  Awareness of the Middle East is at an all-time high at Wheaton.  We have a Middle East Club, we bring films and speakers to campus regularly, each spring we send students to Israel and the West Bank, and a long list of our graduates have devoted their lives to service and work in the area.

For more information, go to:

Courses Taught

  • New Testament Literature, BiTh 213
  • Christian Thought, BiTh 315
  • Jesus of Nazareth, BiTh 351
  • The Gospel of John, BiTh 457
  • New Testament Criticism, BiTh 452 & 543
  • Paul's Letter to the Romans, BiTh 461
  • Theology of the Promised Land, BiTh 469

Membership in Professional Societies

  • Institute for Biblical Research
  • Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical Research [Cambridge, England]
  • The Society of Biblical Literature
  • Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding
  • Holy Land Ecumenical Fellowship


  • The Gospel and Letters of John
  • The history of New Testament criticism
  • The history and significance of Galilee for New Testament study
  • 'Life of Jesus' research
  • The political history of the Arab-Israeli conflict
  • Evangelicals, Biblical theology and modern Israel
  • The history of the Arabic and Syriac-speaking churches of the Middle East
  • The "Holy Land" and theology in early Judaism and Christianity



The New Testament in Seven Sentences (Downer’s Grove: IVP, forthcoming 2017)

The New Testament in Antiquity [second edition, fully revised], (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, forthcoming 2017)

Mapping Our Academic Careers: The Three Cohorts of a College Professor’s Life (Downer’s Grove: IVP, 2015) 

A Week in the Life of a Roman Centurion (Downer’s Grove: IVP, 2015)

Theology Questions Everyone Asks.  Christian Faith in Plain Language, edited with D. Lauber (Downer’s Grove: IVP, 2014)

Interpreting the Gospel of John. A Guidebook for Students.  [second edition, fully revised] (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2013)

Whose Land?  Whose Promise? What Christians Are Not Being Told About Israel and the Palestinians  [second edition, fully revised] (Cleveland/London: Pilgrim Press/Paternoster, 2013)

General Editor with A. Hill: The Evangelical One Volume Commentary on the Bible, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012), Award: ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Assoc.) Book Award Finalist, 2013

Jesus and the Festivals of Judaism [Ancient Context, Ancient Faith Series, vol 4] (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012) 

Series Editor: Images of God in the Old Testament by Tim Laniak [Ancient Context, Ancient Faith Series, vol 6] (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012) 

Series Editor: The Way of the Desert: Monastery Life After Jesus by Brad Nassif [Ancient Context, Ancient Faith Series, vol 5] (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012) 

Encounters with Jesus [Ancient Context, Ancient Faith Series, vol 3] (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010)

Jesus and the Land.  The New Testament Challenge to Holy Land Theology (London/Grand Rapids: SPCK/Baker Academic, 2010)

Jesus the Middle Eastern Story Teller [Ancient Context, Ancient Faith Series, vol 2] (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009)

The Bible and the Land [Ancient Context, Ancient Faith Series, vol 1] (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009)

The New Testament in Antiquity.  A Survey of the New Testament within Its Cultural Contexts  [coauthored with Green, G., and Cohick, L., and serving as general editor], (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009)

John: The Gospel of Life (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008)

The Background Commentary to the New Testament:  John, Evans, C., editor (Colorado Springs: Cook/Victor, 2005)

Whose Land?  Whose Promise? What Christians Are Not Being Told About Israel and the Palestinians (Cleveland/London: Pilgrim Press/Paternoster, 2003)
Publication Awards:
Christianity Today Book Award: Honorable Mention, May 2004
Christian Century “Best Seller-Recommended List,” May 2004
Forward Magazine, Book of the Year Finalist, May 2004

Commentary on the Gospel of John.  The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000)

Commentary on the Johannine Epistles.  The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996) 

Who Are God’s People in the Middle East? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993) 

Interpreting the Gospel of John.  [Guides to New Testament Exegesis] (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1992, revised 1998)

The Anointed Community.  The Holy Spirit in the Johannine Tradition.  (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987)


”Kenneth E. Bailey: The Legacy of a Global Scholar,” International Bulletin of Missions Research (forthcoming, 2016)

“Siloam, Bethesda, and the Johannine Water Motif,” Anderson, P., Just. F., and Thatcher, T., eds., John, Jesus and History v.3 (Atlanta: SBL, 2016)259-270

“Sin in the Gospel of John,” T&T Clark Companion to the Doctrine of Sin, Lauber, D. and Johnson, K., eds. (London: Bloomsbury/T&TClark, 2016)79-96

“Armageddon,” “Day of the Lord/Christ,” “Realized Eschatology,” and “Zionism,” in Treier, D., ed., The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Revised (forthcoming 2017)

“Foreword,” The Pericope of the Adulteress in Modern Research,” Black, D.A., and Cerone, J., eds. (London: T&T Clark, 2015)xiii-xv

“Reading Luke Through Latin American Eyes:  Interview with Justo Gonzalez,” Christianity Today, April, 2015.

“Biblical Authority,” in Ateek, N., Duaybis, C., and Whitehead, T., eds., The Bible and the Israel-Palestine Conflict (Jerusalem: Sabeel, 2014)39-43

“Have Evangelicals Abandoned Israel?” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (October, 2014)50-51

“Abraham in New Testament Theology,” Christ at the Checkpoint: Bethlehem (forthcoming 2016)

“Land, New Testament,” in Allison, D.C. et al, Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, forthcoming online and print 2016)

“Evangelicals and Christian Zionism,” in Wagner, D., Davis, W., eds., Zionism and the Quest for Peace in the Holy Land (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2014)175-190

“The Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John,” in Burke, T., and Warrington, K, eds., A Biblical Theology of the Holy Spirit (London: SPCK, 2014)104-115

“Biblical Authority,” in Ateek, N., Duaybis, C., and Whitehead, T., eds., The Bible and the Palestine Israel Conflict (Jerusalem: Sabeel, 2014) 39-43

“Prophets and Custodians,” Christianity Today Online, May 05, 2014

“The New Testament and the Land,” in Rowe, P.S., Dyck, J.H.A., and Zimmerman, J., Christians and the Middle East Conflict,” (London/New York: Routledge, 2014)26-43

“Commentary on the Gospel of John,” Burge, G., and Hill, A., editors, The Evangelical One Volume Commentary on the Bible (Baker, 2012)

“Romans 5:1,” and “Perfectionism in 1John,” Zondervan Greek Grammar Devotionals (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012)

“Rejoinder to Boyd Luter: Jesus and the Land,” Criswell Theological Review 9.2 (2012)76-78

“Spirit-Inspired Theology and Ecclesial Correction:  Charting One Shift in the Development of Johannine Ecclesiology and Pneumatology” Communities in Dispute:  Current Scholarship on the Johannine Epistles.McAfee Symposium on the Johannine Epistles (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2014)179-186

“Revisiting the Johannine Water Motif: Jesus, Ritual Purification and Two Great Pools in Jerusalem,” in Laansma, J.C., Osborne, G., and Van Neste, R., eds., New Testament Theology in Light of the Church’s Mission.  Festschrift for I. Howard Marshall (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2011)123-134

“Jesus and the Land,” in Munayer, S., ed., The Land Cries Out: Theology of the Land in the Israeli-Palestinian Context (Cascade: 2012)316-334

“Tackling Intolerance: Muslims and the West,” Christian Century, October 19, 2010, 10-11. 

“Johannine Spirituality,” Dictionary of Christian Spirituality (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Academic, 2011)544-545

“Dialogue at the Demonstration: Risking Conversation with the Face of Occupation,” Sojourners Online.

The Common English Bible (United Methodist Church):  Translator: John’s Letters, 2011.

The New Living Study Bible [John’s Gospel: translation & study notes] (Carol Stream: Tyndale: 2010)

“A Third Uprising?”, 03August 2009

“The View from the Mastaba:  Contextual Exegesis and the Gospels,” Books and Culture (March/April, 2009)10-11

The Revised Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (Nashville: Abingdon, 2008) [entries: “Life,” “Land,”]

“The Church of the Holy Sepulcher:  Battles Over Christ’s Tomb,” Christian History, Fall, 2008

“Why I’m Not a Christian Zionist – Academically Speaking,”, posted January 2008

“Coffins on their Shoulders,” [On Arab life inside Israel], Books and Culture (January/February 2007)34-35

The Dictionary of Historical Jesus, C. Evans, ed., (NY: Rutledge Press:, 2007) [entry: “John”]

“Revelation and Discipleship in St. John’s Gospel,” in Lierman, J., ed., Challenging Perspectives on the Gospel of John (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006)235-54

“The Gospel of John and the Stone-Campbell Movement,” in W. Baker, ed., Evangelicalism and the Stone-Campbell Movement: Engaging Basic Christian Doctrine (Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian Univ. Press, 2006)143-150

“The Da Vinci Code and the New Testament Apocrypha,”  Christianity Today [cover story] (June 2006)

“What I Learned from the Arab Church,” Evangelical Missions Quarterly (January 2006)98-104

“Theological and Biblical Assumptions in Christian Zionism,” N. Ateek, C. Duaybis, M. Tobin, eds., Challenging Christian Zionism: Theology, Politics and the Israel-Palestine Conflict (London: Melisende, 2005)

“Missing God at Church,” in Dearborn, T. and Coil, S. eds., Worship at the Next Level (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004)147-55

The IVP Dictionary of the New Testament, (Downer’s Grove: IVP: 2004) [entry: “The Epistles of John”]

“More Lessons Learned from Middle East Churches,” The Cresset (Advent, 2003)43-46

“Israel’s Anti-Family Values” [On the new Knesset law and Arab marriages.]  Christianity Today Online, August 4, 2003

“Who Owns the Holy Land?,”  Books and Culture (July/August 2003)40-41

“A Jesus Quest Without a Compass:  Bruce Chilton’s Rabbi Jesus,” Evangelical Quarterly 74.1(January 2002)59-66

“Situating John’s Gospel in History,” Fortna, R. and Thatcher, T., eds., Jesus in Johannine Tradition: New Directions (Louisville:  Westminster/John Knox, 2001)35-46

“Lessons from the Middle East Churches,” Christian Century (May 16, 2001)16-18

“Seven Greek Words You Wish You Knew,” Christianity Today (October, 2001)73-75

“Interpreting the Gospel of John,” in Black, D.A. and Dockery, D.S., Interpreting the New Testament, Essays on Methods and Issues (Nashville: Broadman, 2001)357-390

“Geschieden – was nun?  Was die Bibel zu Scheidung und Wiederheirat sagt,” Neues Leben, Juni 2000, 16-18  [ET: “Divorced - now what? What the Bible says on divorce and remarriage”]

“John 21 and Fishing,”, October 1999

“Divorce and Remarriage,” Christianity Today, 43(October 04, 1999)82-83

“The Greatest Story Never Read.  Recovering Biblical Literacy in the Church,” Christianity Today, 43(August 9, 1999)45-50 [reprinted in numerous other church magazines]

“Liturgical Worship:  Using Ritual to Inspire True Worship,” Vital Worship for the Future: 8 Worship Models, M.D. Warden, ed. (Loveland, CO: Group Publishing, November, 1999)

“Fishers of Men:  The Maritime Life of Galilee’s North Shore,” Christian History 59(1998)36-37

“Are Evangelicals Missing God at Church?” Christianity Today, October 07, 1997

Eerdman’s Dictionary of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997) [articles contributor]

“Indiana Jones and the Gospel Parchments,” Christianity Today, October 28, 1996, 26-27

The Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996) [entry: “John, Theology of”]

“Spirituality and Ongoing Academic Study,” The Navy Chaplain (October, 1996)

Dictionary of the Epistles and Later Developments  (Downer’s Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1996) [entry:  “John, Letters of”]

The New Living Bible: Translation Team: The Gospel of John, (Tyndale Publishers, 1996)

“The Real Writer of Romans,” Christian History 47:3(1995)29

“Whose Land?  The Holy Land in Biblical Theology,” Touchstone Journal (Fall, 1994)21-24

“Territorial Religion, Johannine Christology, and the Vineyard of John 15,”  Jesus of Nazareth, Lord and Christ. Festschrift for I. Howard  Marshall (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1994)384-396

Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (Downer's Grove:  InterVarsity Press, 1993) [multiple entries]

“Rachel Weeping for Her Children.  Evangelicals, Eschatology and the  Dilemma of Israel,” Inaugural Lecture, The Karl A. Olsson Chair in  Religious Studies, November 11, 1991  The Covenant Quarterly,  Winter, 1992

Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (Downer's Grove:  InterVarsity Press, 1992) [multiple entries]

"Does History Not Echo?" The Reformed Journal (December, 1990)3-6

"The Literary Seams in the Fourth Gospel," The Covenant Quarterly (August 1990) 15-25

"The Anointed Community: Review and Response [with M.M.B. Turner]," The  Evangelical Quarterly  (July, 1990) 

"Commentary on the Fourth Gospel," in The Evangelical One- Volume Commentary on the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989)840-880

The Evangelical Dictionary of the Bible (Grand Rapids:   Baker, 1989) [articles contributor]

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised Edition, vol 4 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988) [article contributor]

Freelance Editor, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987)

"John 7:53 - 8:11.  The Woman Caught in Adultery," JETS  27(1984)141-148

The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Grand Rapids  Baker, 1984) [contributor]

"'And Threw Them Thus on Paper,' Recovering the Poetic Form of James 2:14-26,"  Studia Biblica et Theologica [Fuller Theological Seminary] 7(1977)31-45

Book Reviews

W. Bruggemann, Chosen? Reading the Bible Amid the Israeli-Palestine Conflict (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 2015), Themelios 41.1 (Winter 2015/2016) April 2016 [online:

N. Kadman, Erased from Space and Consciousness.  Israel and the Depopulated Palestinian Villages of 1948 (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana Univ. Press, 2015), Christian Research Journal (Spring 2016)52-53

T. Hatina, New Testament Theology and its Quest for Relevance (New York: Bloomsbury/T&T Clark, 2013), Review of Biblical Literature, March 2015 (online:

U. C. von Wahlde, The Gospel and Letters of John, 3 vols, Eerdmans Critical Commentary (2010), Theological Studies 74 (2013)241

A. Wedderburn, Jesus and the Historians (2010), Bulletin of Biblical Research, forthcoming 2015)

C. Carenen, The Fervent Embrace: Liberal Protestants, Evangelicals, and Israel (2012), Christianity Today Online, 2012

C. Evans, Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence (2011), Evangelical Quarterly 85.1 (January 2013)81-83

C. Keener, The Historical Jesus of the Gospels (2009), Bulletin of Biblical Research, forthcoming 2011

M. Bockmuehl and G. Stroumsa, ed., Paradise in Antiquity.  Jewish and Christian Views (2010), Bulletin of Biblical Research, forthcoming 2011

K. Bailey, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes (2007), Evangelical Quarterly 81.3(2009)270-272

J. Charlesworth, Jesus and Archaeology (2006), Christianity Today  2007

M. Bockmuehl, Seeing the Word.  Refocusing New Testament Study (2006), Christianity Today 2007

C. Evans, Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies.  A Guide to the Background Literature (2005), The Evangelical Quarterly, 2007

G. Stassen, Living the Sermon on the Mount, Practical Hope for Grace and Deliverance (2006), Christianity Today 51.3 (March, 2007)80

B. Witherington, What Have They Done With Jesus?  Beyond Strange Theories and Bad History – Why We Can Trust the Bible (2006) Christianity Today 51.2 (February 2007)123-124

T. Stafford, Surprised by Jesus:  His Agenda for Changing Everything in A.D. 30 and Today (2006).  Christianity Today, 50.10 (November 2006)100

S. McKnight, The Story of Christ (2005).  Christianity Today, 50.9(September, 2006)126

L. Scott Kellum, The Unity of the Farewell Discourse.  The Literary Integrity of John 13:31-16:39 (JNSTSS 256).  (London/New York, T&T Clark International, 2004) Biblica (Rome) 87.2(2006)284-286

R.E. Brown, Introduction to the Gospel of John (2003), Biblical Theology Bulletin 2003

P. Walker, Land of Promise (2000), forthcoming, Evangelical Quarterly

B. Bryant and M. Kraus, The College Press NIV Commentary, John (1998), The Stone Campbell Journal, summer, 2002

W.J. Larkin and J.F. Williams, ed., Mission in the New Testament (1998), Evangelical Missions Quarterly, 35.4(October, 1999)480-81;

P.W.L. Walker, Jesus and the Holy City.  New Testament Perspectives on Jerusalem (1996), Themelios 23.3(1998)84-87;

J.B. Green, S. McKnight, and I.H. Marshall (eds.), Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (1992), JETS 39(1996)482-484;

P.S. Kaufmann, The Beloved Disciple.  Witness Against Anti-Semitism (1991), Critical Review of Books and Religion (1992)227-228;

K. Grayston, The Gospel of John (1990), Critical Review of Books and Religion (1992)205-07; 

R. Fortna, The Fourth Gospel and Its Predecessors.  From Narrative source to Present Gospel (1988), , Themelios 17(October/November 1991)27; 

D. Rensberger, Johannine Faith and Liberating Community (1988), The Reformed Journal 40(1990)30;

G. Theissen, The Shadow of the Galilean, The Covenant Quarterly (February 1989) 41-44; 

R. Gruenler, The Trinity in the Gospel of John (1986), JETS 30(1987)371-372; 

R. Stronstad, The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke (1984), Pneuma 8.1 (1986)65-67; 

B. Lindars, Jesus--The Son of Man.  A Fresh Examination of the Son of Man Sayings in the Gospels (1984), JETS 28(1985)474-76;

D. Moody-Smith, Johannine Christianity: Essays on Its Setting, Sources, and Theology (1984), Interpretation 40(1986)210-11;

K. Grayston, The Johannine Epistles (1974), TSF Buletin (Apr/Mar 1986)25; 

J. Jervell, Jesus in the  Gospel of John (1984), JETS 28(1985)249-50; 

F.E. Gaebelein, ed., The Evangelical Expositor's Bible Commentary. Vol. 9 (1981), The Evangelical Quarterly (EvQ) 55(1983)185-86; 

I. Howard Marshall, Biblical Inspiration (1983), TSF Bulletin 6.5(May/June 1983)23-24; 

B. Gerhardsson, The Ethos of the Bible (1981), Theological Student's Fellowship [TSF] Bulletin 7.2(Nov/Dec 1983)20-21;

K.E. Bailey, Through Peasant Eyes: More Lucan Parables (1980), Journal of Biblical Literature [JBL] 102(1983)341-42; 

H. Cattan, Jerusalem (1981), Churchman 95(1981)366-67; 

L. Grollenberg,Palestine Comes First (1980), Churchman [U.K.] 95(1981)181-182;

S. Smalley, John, Evangelist & Interpreter (1980), JETS 23(1980)165-67; 

R.E. Brown, The Community of the Beloved Disciple (1979), JETS 23(1980)167-68; 

Popular Books, Children’s Books

Daily Dose of Knowledge: Bible (2008)

God’s Answers to Tough Questions (2004)

The Bible: A to Z (1998)

Children’s Book of the Bible (1997)

The Bible Almanac. People, Places and Events in the Bible (1997)

Fascinating Bible Facts for Children (1996)

Treasury of Bible Stories (1995)

Journey to the Land of Jesus (1992)

The Big Book of Questions and Answers. The Bible as Told in the Old Testament (1992)

Fascinating Bible Facts. People, Places and Events (1992)

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