Q&A with Tyler Wittman
Evan: For those who don’t know you, tell us about yourself?
Tyler: Well that’s a very open-ended question! I’ll just mention briefly how I came to do what I do. I was born in Texas, but lived all over – from Spain to Colorado. Growing up a pastor’s kid and spending a couple of years on the mission field, witnessing what “ministry” looked like firsthand, I never saw myself doing that – I wanted to do something more glamorous. That changed in college, as I sensed a need to devote my life to the church somehow. I didn’t know what that looked like, but my father counseled me to go to seminary first. I went to the first seminary he told me about and it wasn’t long before I took a deep interest in theology. At the encouragement of professors and friends, I pursued academics and eventually began teaching. After a few years at my alma mater, I began teaching systematic theology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where I’m starting my third year. I’m still a lay theologian for the moment, but with a deeply pastoral concern for how theology builds up the saints and equips them to suffer and witness faithfully. More importantly, though, I’ve been married to my lovely wife for eleven years and we have four beautiful children. We’re incredibly blessed.
Evan: What have you enjoyed in the writing process for Biblical Reasoning?
Tyler: What I enjoyed writing this book is similar to writing in general: the learning process. I learn about a subject at a deeper level when I’m forced to write about it. While I had been thinking about these topics for several years, I hadn’t thought about them at the depth I needed in order to write semi-coherently about them. So writing carried its own reward in the education I received. I also very much enjoyed the co-authoring process with my friend, Bobby Jamieson. We had talked about all sorts of things for a few years, but when we started talking about Christology we found a common interest in early exegetical tools like “partitive exegesis.” It wasn’t long before we hatched plans for this book. Bobby is very intelligent, and that’s the secret to writing a book with someone: find a co-author who’s smarter than you are! So I enjoyed seeing where Bobby would reign me in, disagree with a point here or there, or force me to sharpen and clarify my arguments. Bobby brought the sensitivity of a NT scholar and a pastor to the table, which balanced things very nicely. I was typically pushing in a more scholastic direction, and I benefited greatly from his constant provocations to write in a more accessible manner.
Evan: What do you hope that readers will get out of this work?
Tyler: We’re hoping folks come away with a better understanding of the purpose for which they should read Scripture (to behold the glory of Christ), a larger vision for what’s happening when they do (God is teaching and transforming us through his Word and by his Spirit), and then how they should go about pursuing that purpose (humbly and teachably receiving divine teaching, allowing it to sanctify us). Along the way, we want readers to be better equipped to understand the doctrines of the Trinity and the person of Christ, and why these are so central to the right reading of Scripture. At the heart of our book are a series of “rules” that focus our exegetical eyes on Christ’s glory. Each rule helps readers to see how Scripture teaches us about the Trinity and Christ, and how Scripture’s methods of teaching us also train us to read Scripture more deeply and faithfully. Hopefully, we can convince readers to apply these rules to their reading, teaching, and preaching. And if the Lord blesses the work, then this will bear fruit in the lives of the saints.