Lord and Lady Coggan Professor of New Testament
PhD in New Testament (University of Glasgow), BD (University of Glasgow)
BA (University of York)
Stephen has taught New Testament at Wycliffe College since 2019. He was previously a member of faculty at North Park Theological Seminary, Chicago (2006-2019) and International Christian College, Glasgow (1999-2006). Originally from Liverpool, England, he also lived for significant periods in both Wales and Scotland before moving to the United States. Stephen’s research interests focus on Pauline theology, especially the history of reception of Paul’s texts in the Reformation era. They also include conversion in the ancient world and the theological interpretation of Scripture. Stephen is married to Betsy and they have two adult sons, Iain and Mark. Stephen enjoys reading both detective fiction, especially if set in Scotland, and historical studies, mainly of the medieval period. He also enjoys following his favorite sports teams: Liverpool and Partick Thistle (football) and Lancashire (cricket). He has a long-standing interest in urban ministry and mission and has been formed by having been a long-term member of two small city churches: Ruchazie Parish Church, Glasgow (Church of Scotland) and Immanuel Evangelical Covenant Church, Chicago.
Areas of Expertise
- Pauline Epistles and Theology
- History of Reception (especially the era of the Reformation)
- Theological Interpretation of Scripture
- Conversion in the Ancient World
- Reading Paul with the Reformers: Reconciling Old and New Perspectives (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2017)
- Perspectives on our Struggle with Sin: Three Views of Romans 7 (with Grant R. Osborne, Mark A. Seifrid, and Chad O. Brand; Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2011)
- Conversion at Corinth: Perspectives on Conversion in Paul’s Theology and the Corinthian Church (London & New York: T&T Clark International, 2003)
- ‘“Works Themselves are a Part of Grace”: John Calvin’s Interpretation of Ephesians 2:8-10’ in The New Perspective on Grace: Paul and the Gospel after Paul and the Gift, ed. E Adams, D.H. Bertschmann, S.J. Chester, J. Linebaugh & T. Still (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2023), 236-50.
- ‘Faith and Family: Calvin, the Figure of Abraham, and the New Perspective on Paul,’ in Reformatorische Paulusauslegungen – Reformation Readings of Paul, ed. S. Krauter and M. Nägele, volume of conference proceedings (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2023), 479-502.
- Articles on ‘Conversion and Call of Paul’ and ‘Interpretation: Martin Luther’ in the revised edition of Dictionary of Paul and his Letters (Downer’s Grove, IL: IVP, 2023)
- ‘“Consider Yourselves Dead” (Rom. 6:11): Biographical Reconstruction, Conversion, and the Death of the Self in Romans,’ in Religious and Philosophical Conversion in the Ancient Mediterranean Traditions, ed. Athanasios Despotis and Helmut Löhr (Leiden: Brill, 2022), 342-68.
- “Salvation, the Church, and Social Teaching: The Epistle of James in Exegesis of the Reformation Era,” in Reading the Epistle of James: A Resource for Students, ed. Eric F. Mason and Darian R. Lockett (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2019), 273-90.
- “‘Abba! Father!’ (Gal. 4:6): Justification and Assurance in Martin Luther’s Lectures on Galatians (1531/1535),” in Biblical Research63 (2018), 15-22.
- On Script Podcast (an hour long interview recorded in 2018 about Reading Paul with the Reformers): https://onscript.study/podcast/stephen-chester-reading-paul-with-the-reformers/
- “Interpreting the Bible and Changing the World: The Phenomenon of Martin Luther,” in The Expository Times 129.1 (2017), 3-13.
- “Conversion” in Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Theology Vol. 1 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 148-51.
- “Apocalyptic Union: Martin Luther’s Account of Faith in Christ,” in In Christ in Paul (ed. M. J. Thate, K. Vanhoozer, and C. Campbell; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014), 375-98.
- “Faith Working through Love (Gal. 5:6): The Role of Human Deeds in Salvation in Luther and Calvin’s Exegesis,” in Doing Theology for the Church: Essays in Honor of Klyne Snodgrass (ed. R.A. Eklund and J.E. Phelan; Eugene, Ore.: Wipf & Stock, 2014), 41-54.
- “Paul and the Galatian Believers,” in The Blackwell Companion to Paul (ed. S. Westerholm; Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 2011).
- “Romans 7 and Conversion in the Protestant Tradition,” in Ex Auditu Vol. 25 (2010), 135-71.
- “It is no longer I who live: Justification by Faith and Participation in Christ in Martin Luther’s Exegesis of Galatians,” in New Testament Studies 55.3 (2009), 315-37.
- “Who is Freedom for? Martin Luther and Alain Badiou on Paul and Politics” in Paul, Grace and Freedom: Essays in Honor of J.K. Riches (ed. P. Middleton, A. Paddison, and K. Wennell; London and New York: T&T Clark International, 2009), 95-118.
- ”When the Old Was New: Reformation Perspectives on Galatians 2:16” in The Expository Times 119.7 (2008), 320-29.
- “Paul and the Introspective Conscience of Martin Luther: The Impact of Luther’s Anfechtungen on his Interpretation of Paul” in Biblical Interpretation 14.5 (2006), 508-36.
- “Paul: Archetypal Convert and Disputed Convert” in Finding and Losing Faith: Studies in Conversion (ed. C. Partridge and H. Reid; Carlisle: Paternoster Press, Religion and Culture Series, 2006), 123-49.
- “Divine Madness? Speaking in Tongues in 1 Cor. 14:23” in Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 27.4 (2005), 417-46.