David L. Matson, Ph.D.

Photo - David L. MatsonProfessor, Pacific Christian College of Ministry & Biblical Studies

Phone: (714) 879-3901 x1287
Email: dlmatson@hiu.edu
Office: Nutwood Rm 216


  • Ph.D., Baylor University
  • M.A., Pepperdine University
  • B.A., Pacific Christian College of Hope International University


David Lertis Matson is a native southern Californian who joined the faculty of Hope International University (formerly Pacific Christian College) in August 2004. Prior to this appointment, he served as Minister of the Westwood Hills Christian Church in Los Angeles (1999-2003) and as Assistant Professor of Bible at Milligan College in Johnson City, Tennessee (1995-1999). He has a deep and abiding passion for teaching the scriptures and for injecting biblical scholarship into the life and ministry of the church.

Dr. Matson holds the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Religion (Biblical Studies-New Testament) from Baylor University, the Master of Arts degree in Religion (Biblical Studies) from Pepperdine University, and the Bachelor of Arts degree in Church Growth/Preaching from Pacific Christian College. He has also studied at the University of California at Los Angeles and at Fuller Theological Seminary. The author of numerous articles and book reviews, his Household Conversion Narratives in Acts: Pattern and Interpretation was published by Sheffield Academic Press in 1996 as part of its prestigious Journal for the Study of the New Testament dissertation series. In addition to his duties at Hope, Dr. Matson has taught regularly at Fuller Theological Seminary and Pepperdine University as an adjunct professor of New Testament.

Dr. Matson has strong and historic ties to HIU. In addition to having three sisters who are also graduates of HIU, his great-grandfather, Earl G. Harris, grandfather, Lertis R. Ellett, and father, Donald L. Matson, each served terms on HIU’s Board of Trustees. His grandmother, Kathryn (Harris) Ellett, attended HIU (PBS) in the 1930’s. He truly considers them his legacy.

Dr. Matson's classroom style can be aptly summarized by a placard he often brings to the first day of class: "I am subject to bursts of enthusiasm!"


  • Hebrew History and Literature
  • Early Christian History and Literature
  • Greek I and II
  • Tools for Literary Exegesis and Analysis
  • Upper Division New Testament courses (Gospels, Pauline Epistles)


  • Rose B. and Edgar B. McReynolds Faculty Excellence Award, Hope International University (2006, 2009)
  • Faculty Appreciation Award, presented by the Student Government Association, Milligan College (1999)
  • International Society of Theta Phi, Emmanuel School of Religion Chapter (1996)
  • E. L. Dwyer Academic Scholarship, Baylor University (1992-93)
  • University Scholarship, Baylor University (1990-91)
  • Graduate Fellowship, Baylor University (1988-90)
  • Kenneth Stewart Academic Scholarship, Pepperdine University (1982)
  • Pi Beta Sigma Honor Society, Pacific Christian College (1981)


  • Integration of biblical faith and critical scholarship in life of the church
  • Relationship of exegesis to theological method and hermeneutics
  • Atonement and Justification Theory
  • Relationship of Ethics and Eschatology
  • Jesus’ Political Context


2013 Review of Killing Enmity: Violence and the New Testament, by Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld, in Stone-Campbell Journal 16 (2013): 264-66.
2012 “Personalized vs. Parallel Eating: Luke’s Challenge for the Twenty-First Century Church,” Leaven 20 (2012):  6-11.
2011 “‘I Have Brothers and Sisters in Those Parties’: More on the ‘Conscientious Sister’ of the Lunenburg Letter,” Stone-Campbell Journal 14 (2011):  165-88.
2011 Review of Christ and Caesar: The Gospel and the Roman Empire in the Writings of Paul and Luke, by Seyoon Kim, in Stone-Campbell Journal 14 (2011): 144-42
2010 Review of The First Paul: Reclaiming the Radical Visionary behind the Church’s Conservative Icon, by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan, in Stone-Campbell Journal 13 (2011): 308-10
2010 Review of The Bible and Contemporary Culture, by Gerd Theissen, in Stone-Campbell Journal 13 (2010): 128-30
2009 Contributor, Contexticon of New Testament Language, New Testament Language Project, Cambridge, MA
2009 Review of Beyond Reasonable Doubt: 95 Theses Which Dispute the Church’s Conviction Against Women, by T. Scott Womble, in Stone-Campbell Journal 12 (2009): 142-44
2008 "Who Wrote the Lunenburg Letter? The Untold Story of the 'Conscientious Sister' of Lunenburg," Stone-Campbell Journal 11 (2008): 3-28
2006 “Tuning the Faith: The Cornelius Story in Resonance Perspective,” Perspectives in Religious Studies 33 (2006): 449-465.
2006 “Apostolic Church: The Significance of the Sent Community in the Gospel of John,” Leaven 14 (2006): 9-15.
2003 Outside Reviewer for The Custom of Hospitality in Antiquity and Its Importance for Interpreting Acts 9:43-11:18, by Andrew E. Arterbury (Society of Biblical Literature Academia Biblica series).
2001 “What Does Church Have to Do with God? A Case for Historic Christian Worship” The Christian Standard (June 10, 2001): 10-13.
2001 Review of Preaching the Gospel of Luke: Proclaiming God’s Royal Rule, by Keith F. Nickle, in Interpretation 55 (2001): 199-200.
2000 “Freedom or Fortune: Discerning Paul’s Basis for Ethics,” Leaven 8 (2000): 180-82.
2000 Review of Conversion in the New Testament: Paul and the Twelve, by Richard V. Peace, in Interpretation 54 (2000): 326.
2000 “Cornelius,” Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, ed. David Noel Freedman. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
2000 “Zacchaeus,” Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible.
2000 “Revelation in Perspective,” Leaven 8 (2000), editor.
“‘Outside Are the Dogs’: Interpreting Revelation’s Hate Language,” Leaven 8 (2000): 40-47.
1999 Review of “Through Many Tribulations”: The Theology of Persecution in Luke-Acts, by Scott Cunningham, in Religious Studies Review 25 (1999): 303.
1998 Review of Luke1:1-9:50 and Luke 9:51-24:53, by Darrel L. Bock, in Religious Studies Review 24 (1998): 85.
1997 Review of The Davidic Messiah in Luke-Acts, by Mark L. Strauss, in Religious Studies Review 23 (1997): 184.
1997 “Ministry in Luke-Acts,” Leaven (Summer Quarter), editor.
1996 Household Conversion Narratives in Acts: Pattern and Interpretation. JSNT Supplement Series 123. Sheffield Academic Press.
1995 “Breaking the Bread, Breaking the Veil: Recognition of Jesus at Emmaus,” Leaven 3 (1995): 8-12.
1995 Review of The Ongoing Feast: Table Fellowship and Eschatology at Emmaus, by Arthur A. Just, Jr., in Interpretation 46 (1995): 208.
1995 Review of Leadership and Discipleship: A Study of Luke 22:24-30, by Peter K. Nelson, Religious Studies Review 21 (1995): 235.
1995 Review of New Views on Luke and Acts, by Earl Richard, ed., in Religious Studies Review 21 (1995): 235.
1992 Review of Luke, by Fred B. Craddock, in Interpretation 46 (1992): 91.


2013 “Pacifist Jesus? The (Mis)Translation of eate heos toutou in Luke 22:51,” Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MA; Stone-Campbell Journal Conference, Nashville, TN.
2012 “Translating Ioudaios as ‘Judean’: The Special Case of 1 Thessalonians 2:14,” Society of Biblical Literature Pacific Coast Region, Santa Clara, CA; Stone-Campbell Journal National Conference, Lincoln, IL
2011 “‘Eating and Drinking Whatever They Provide’: Jew-Gentile Table Relations in Luke-Acts,” Christian Scholars’ Conference, Malibu, CA
2011 “‘I Have Brothers and Sisters in Those Parties’: The Fascinating Family of the Author of the Lunenburg Letter,” Stone-Campbell Journal National Conference, Cincinnati, OH
2011 “Introduction to Paul,” “Revealing the Book of Revelation,” Roman Catholic Archdiocese Diaconate Training, Los Angeles, CA
2010 “Introduction to Paul,” Men’s Retreat, Northern California-Nevada Region, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
2010 “Sacred Conversation: A Study of Theological Consensus in Acts 15,” Ministers’ Special Event, Pacific Southwest Region, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
2010 “The Road to Cannamaugh: A Study of Luke 24:13-35,” Regional Gathering, Pacific Southwest Region, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
2009 "Paul: the Man, the Message, the Myth," California State University Northridge (CSUN), Visiting Distinguished Speakers Program, Northridge, CA
2009 "Introduction to 1 Corinthians," Roman Catholic Archdiocese Diaconate Training, Sylmar, CA
2009 "Introduction to Paul," Men's Retreat, Pacific Southwest Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
2008 Bible Lecturer, Regional Assembly, Pacific Southwest Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
2008 "'Repairing the World': A Metaphor for Resurrection," Forest Lawn Monthly Employees Meeting, Glendale, CA
2008 "Who Wrote the Lunenburg Letter? The Untold Story of the 'Conscientious Sister' of Lunenburg," Stone Campbell Journal National Conference, Cincinnati, OH
2008 "Introduction to 1 Thessalonians," "Introduction to Ephesians," Roman Catholic Archdiocese Diaconate Training, Sylmar, CA
2006 Bible Lecturer, Regional Assembly, Pacific Southwest Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
2006 “‘It Has Seemed Good to the Holy Spirit and to Us’: Encouraging the Church to Think Theologically,” Theological Presentation to the Pacific Southwest Regional Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
2005 Panel Member—Leaven Symposium on the Gospel of John, 62nd Annual Bible Lectures, Pepperdine University
2005 “I Wish You Happiness,” Baccalaureate Address, Pepperdine University
2003 “Resonance: A New Approach to the Wesleyan Quadrilateral and a Biblical Case Study” (with Warren S. Brown), Society for the Study of Psychology and Wesleyan Theology
2002 “Permanence and Change: Toward a Biblical Understanding of God” (Stone- Campbell Journal National Conference)
2001 Panel Member—“God and Politics,” University of Judaism, Los Angeles, CA (Jan. 25, 2001).
2001 Panel Member—“God and Animal Rights,” University of Judaism, Los Angeles, CA (Jan. 18, 2001).
1991 “Parousia or Temple Judgment: The Meaning and Function of Mark 13:24-27 in the Olivet Discourse” (Society of Biblical Literature, Southwest Region).


Biking, golfing, traveling, spending time with family, discussing theology


The story is told of Frederick Douglas 's learning to read as a slave, though it was forbidden for slaves to read. His master's wife, however, taught him to read the Bible in hopes that he would come closer to God. When the master discovered the crime, he exploded: "It will unfit him to be a slave!" . . . . Education will unfit anyone to be a slave . . . education is for self-activating explorers of life, for those who would challenge fate, for doers and activists, for citizens. Training is for slaves, for loyal subjects, for tractable employees, for willing consumers, for obedient soldiers (from William Ayers, To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher).


“Paul understands the human instinctive drive for self-defense and self-justification, the effort always to be sure that one is “OK” in the eyes of others and oneself—Paul understands this drive as making us actual enemies of the God who loves, accepts, and justifies  us freely by his own grace. This asserting of ourselves, concern with our image and self-image, is the placing of a ‘graven image’—an idol—in the place God reserves for himself, an effort to be our own God. The acceptance of God’s grace is the end of all efforts at self-justification, ends the hostility, and opens up one’s life to God, others, and oneself.”                                         

Eugene M. Boring and Fred B. Craddock


Study Bibles
HarperCollins Study Bible (HarperCollins)
New Interpreter's Study Bible (Abingdon)
New Oxford Annotated Bible (3 rd. Edition) (Oxford)

Commentary Series
Abingdon New Testament Commentary (Abingdon)
Anchor Bible Commentary (Doubleday)
Baker Exegetical Commentary (Baker Books)
Black's New Testament Commentary (Hendrickson)
Brazos Theological Commentary (Brazos)
International Critical Commentary (T&T Clark)
Interpretation (Westminster/John Knox)
IVP New Testament Commentary (InterVarsity)
New American Commentary (Broadman)
New Century Bible Commentary (Eerdmans)
New International Biblical Commentary (Hendrickson)
New International Commentary (Eerdmans)
New International Greek Testament Commentary (Eerdmans)
New Interpreter's Bible Commentary (Abingdon)
New Testament Library (Westminster John Knox)
NIV Application Commentary (Zondervan)
Sacra Pagina (Liturgical Press)
Pillar New Testament Commentary (Eerdmans)
Tyndale New Testament Commentary (Eerdmans)
Word Biblical Commentary (Word Books)

Specialized Commentaries
IVP Bible Background Commentary (InterVarsity)
People's New Testament Commentary (One-Volume) (Westminster/John Knox)

Atlas of the Bible Lands (Hammond)
IVP Atlas of Bible History (InterVarsity)

Bible Dictionaries
Anchor Bible-6 Vols. (Doubleday)
Eerdmans Bible Dictionary-1 Vol. (Eerdmans)
New Bible Dictionary-1 Vol. (InterVarsity)

New Testament Introduction/Theology
An Introduction to the New Testament (R. Brown)
Introduction to the New Testament (W. Kummel)
New Testament Introduction (D. Guthrie)
New Testament Theology (D. Guthrie)
New Testament Theology (I. H. Marshall)

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