Dr. David deSilva, Trustees’ Distinguished Professor at Ashland Theological Seminary, has been on the seminary faculty for nearly 25 years. But in his classroom, every day is full of fresh discoveries.
Author of 23 books—15 on the New Testament alone—Dr. deSilva never stops listening to God’s voice in the texts, passing that formative discipline onto his students as well: “We so often come to the New Testament, most of which is familiar to us from years or even decades of moving in Christian circles,” deSilva says, “as if we know exactly what it is saying—but we've never really learned to listen to it. We've only listened to what we thought it was saying, or what our particular church's tradition said it was saying. I appreciate the time my job gives me to learn how to listen to the New Testament texts more closely and precisely—and to share what I discover with wider circles in Christ's church than will ever enter my classroom.”
Those circles reach wide, from Sri Lanka, where Dr. deSilva served as a Visiting Professor of New Testament, creating resources believers there continue to use, to China, Korea, and the Middle East, where several of his books have been translated into native languages. It’s that kingdom impact, from local students to the global church that “gets [him] up in the morning (and often keeps [him] working late into the night).”
Dr. deSilva values the rich tradition of historical Christian texts as well, such as the Book of Common Prayer, Thomas a Kempis's Imitation of Christ, Philip Spener's Pia Desideria, Jeremy Taylor's Rule and Exercises of Holy Living, and John Wesley's Prayers for Daily Use. As a mentor, he “enjoyed facilitating students' discovery of texts, traditions, and practices that were new—perhaps even uncomfortable—and watching them connect and derive strength and wisdom from these legacies of our Christian forebears.”
Adding to the legacy of rich Christian texts is Dr. deSilva’s newest book, In Season and Out: Sermons for the Christian Year, which grew out of his appointment as an interim pastor at Port Charlotte United Methodist Church in Florida. Through an all-consuming but “energizing and deeply fulfilling experience” over nine months, deSilva wrote dozens of sermons spanning the liturgical year. Believing these sermons would provide insight and encouragement to believers beyond the congregation, he compiled thirty-nine of them in a book with Lexham Press. “The book represents something important about my own calling and Ashland Seminary's ethos in general: our faculty are all servants of the church and are committed to putting our respective disciplines to work—and into practice—to see her flourish.”
When not reading, teaching, or writing, deSilva finds other ways to engage with Scripture, whether visiting the “lands that loom large” in the texts by exploring archeological sites and museums or participating in the liturgy through his role as an organist and choir director. Whatever the task, Dr. deSilva approaches it with a listening mind and heart in anticipation of how God will speak next.
Ashland Theological Seminary integrates theological education with Christ-centered transformation as it equips men and women for ministry in the church and the world. The seminary offers certificate, master’s and doctoral level programs in Ashland, Cleveland, Columbus, and Detroit. Learn more at seminary.ashland.edu.