Rev. John Y. H. Yieh, Ph.D.

Professor of New Testament, Virginia Theological Seminary

3737 Seminary Road, Alexandria, VA 22304  


The Gospel of Matthew reports Jesus’ great commission to make disciples of all nations in all corners of the world. Indeed, Matthew’s church in Antioch became the first “migrant” church, outside of Jerusalem, where Jewish and Gentile believers joined together to worship God, testify to Christ, and obey the Holy Spirit to support Paul’s missionary works to bring the gospel to Asia Minor and Europe. How could Matthew’s church establish itself as a Christian community in a hostile city and accomplish Jesus’ final bidding? As a way to help his ethnically-mixed and multi-cultural church survive and thrive as God’s new people, Matthew compiledselect stories and major teachings of Jesus into an inspiring biography. His purpose was to show the readers in the church who their Lord Jesus is and what they might learn from him in order to overcome the challenges of Roman occupation, Pharisaic opposition, and internal contentions. Matthew was convinced that the best way to strengthen the church and testify to the gospel is to train all believers to become true disciples of Jesus. Readers today will find insightful guidance for their journeys to discipleship and their efforts to fulfill the church’s mission, too, if they are willing to emulate Jesus their Lord as the model of faithfulness, obey his commandments, and answer his call to follow him.

In this study, we will enter the narrative world and the social contexts of the gospel to meet with Jesus again from the viewpoints of Matthew the narrator, Jesus’ opponents, and Jesus’ followers. Besides engaging in a historical-exegetical reading of key texts, we will survey a few influential interpretations (Chrysostom, Augustine, Calvin) to learn about the recently-developed “history-of-effects” approach, which is an important step to a contextualized interpretation of the scripture for contemporary needs, which is faithful, relevant, and ethical.

The five lectures are entitled:

1. A New Gospel: Why did Matthew write it and how do we interpret it?

2. The Teachings of Jesus: What did Jesus teach and how do we obey them?

3. The Opponents of Jesus: What was wrong with the leaders and how do we serve?

4. The Followers of Jesus: Why did people believe in Jesus and how do we follow him?

5. The Church of Jesus: What did Jesus expect of the church and how can we make it?

The Rev. Dr. John Y. H. Yieh is an ordained minister of word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and is Professor of New Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, VA.

Prof. Yieh earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies specializing in New Testament from Yale University. He teaches a variety of courses in NT studies, including Biblical Greek, NT Interpretation, and seminars on special books (Matthew, John, Revelation, etc.) and special topics (Parables of Jesus, Christology, and Ecclesiology, etc.). His research focuses on Matthew’s Gospel and Johannine literature from sociological and history-of-effects points of view. He is also interested in the history and hermeneutics of Chinese biblical interpretation.              

Prof. Yieh received the prestigious George A. Barton Fellowship (1989-1990) to investigate the Dead Sea Scrolls at the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem and participate in the excavation of Sepphoris near Nazareth. In 2007-2008, he was awarded a Lily Theological Scholars grant (2007-08) for his project on “Lives of the Bible in Modern China.” In 2009, he received the Suzanne Thomas Faculty Research Award. He was a visiting scholar at Cambridge University (2004) and Princeton Theological Seminary (2012), and a visiting professor at Chung Chi College Divinity School of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (2008, 2012). He is a former President of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Society of Biblical Literature (2002-03) and is currently President of the Ethnic Chinese Biblical Colloquium (2009-12).  

Major publications: A Concise Greek-Chinese Dictionary of the New Testament (Singapore: UBS, 1989). One Teacher: Jesus’ Teaching Role in Matthew’s Gospel Report (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2004). Making Sense of the Sermon on the Mount (Cambridge UK: Grove, 2007). Immersion Bible Studies: Revelation (co-author; Nashville: Abingdon, 2011). Conversations with Scripture: The Gospel of Matthew (New York: Morehouse Publishing, 2012). He has also published several essays on Chinese biblical interpretation.