David Balch

  • Professor of New Testament
  • GTU Core Doctoral Faculty – Biblical Studies
  • (510) 559-2725

I was not born into a Lutheran family, but became Lutheran theologically when studying with Ernst Käsemann in Tübingen, Germany. I heard Käsemann’s critique of law as a correction of my own Christian upbringing. As God justified the impious Abraham, so God counts our faith as righteousness, whatever our race, gender, class, or orientation. We, as individuals and as God’s people, are baptized into Christ’s suffering and death, and as God raised our Lord, so God also gives us new life and calls each one of us, giving us gifts to fulfill our calling.


BA and MA, Abilene Christian University; MDiv, Union Theological Seminary, New York City; Fulbright Grants to Tübingen, Germany (1968-70 and 1987-88); Ecumenical Institute (Tantur/Bethlehem/Jerusalem, 1972-73); PhD, Yale University (1975)

Brief Professional History

Assistant Professor, Franklin & Marshall College (PA); Associate Professor, Linfield College (OR); Adjunct Professor, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg (1979, 1980); Associate Pastor, Irving, Interim Pastor, Abilene, TX; Professor, Brite Divinity School/TCU (1983–2006); PLTS (2006–)

Select Special Service

Associate Pastor, Irving, Interim Pastor, Abilene, Texas; Organizer of conference at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, on Matthew, published as Social History of the Matthean Community (1991); Organizer of conference at Brite Divinity School on homosexuality and the Bible (1996), a response to Lutheran colleagues who requested discussion after the ELCA’s proposed statement on “The Church and Human Sexuality: A Lutheran Perspective. First Draft of a Social Statement” (1993). See Currents in Theology and Mission 25/6 (1998).

Select Publications


  • Text, Image, and Christians in the Graeco-Roman World: A Festschrift in Honor of David Lee Balch, eds. Aliou Cissé Niang and Carolyn Osiek (Princeton Theological Monograph Series; Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2012)


  • The Domestic Code in 1 Peter (1981, 1988)
  • Co-author: The NT in its Social Environment (1986)
  • Editor: Greeks, Romans, and Christians: Essays in Honor of Abraham J. Malherbe (Fortress, 1990)
  • Editor: Social History of the Matthean Community (Fortress, 1991)
  • Co-author: Families in the NT World (1997)
  • Editor: Homosexuality, Science, and the ’Plain Sense’ of Scripture (2000; republished Wipf and Stock, 2007)
  • Co-editor: Early Christian Families in Context (2003)
  • Author: Roman Domestic Art and Early House Churches (Mohr-Siebeck, 2008), with a CD that has nearly 400 color images from the first century.


  • “Backgrounds of 1 Cor 7,” NTS 18 (1972);
  • “Two Apologetic Encomia: Dionysius on Rome and Josephus on the Jews,” Journal for the Study of Judaism 13/1-2 (1982);
  • “Rich and Poor, Proud and Humble in Luke-Acts,” The Social World of the First Christians: Festschrift for Wayne A. Meeks, eds. White and Yarbrough (Fortress, 1995);
  • co-author: “Bible,” Brill’s New Pauly (1997) 2;
  • author: “Gospels,” Brill’s New Pauly (2004) 5;
  • “Apostelgeschichte,” Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (1998) 1;
  • “Rom 1:24-27, Science, and Homosexuality,” Currents in Theology and Mission 25/6 (Dec. 1998);
  • “To Write the Full Story of God’s Receiving All Nations, ” in Jesus and the Heritage of Israel: Luke the Interpreter of Israel, ed. Moessner (1999);
  • “The Suffering of Isis / Io and Paul’s Portrait of Christ Crucified (Gal 3:1): Frescoes in Pompeian and Roman Houses and in the Temple of Isis in Pompeii,” Journal of Religion 83/1 (January 2003);
  • “The Cultural Origin of ‘Receiving All Nations’ in Luke-Acts: Alexander the Great or Roman Social Policy?” Early Christianity and Classical Culture: Comparative Studies in Honor of Abraham J. Malherbe, ed. Fitzgerald, Olbricht, and White (SuppNT 110; 2003);
  • “Paul and Families,” Paul in the Greco-Roman World, ed. Sampley (2003);
  • “Commentary on Luke,” Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible, ed. Dunn (2003) 1082-1139;
  • “Jesus as Founder of the Church in Luke-Acts: Form and Function,” Contextualizing Acts: Lukan Narrative and Greco-Roman Discourse, ed. Penner and Vander Stichele (2003);
  • “Philodemus, ‘On Wealth, ’ and ‘On Household Management’: Naturally Wealthy Epicureans against Poor Cynics,” in Philodemus and the NT World, ed. Fitzgerald (SuppNT 111; 2003);
  • “Rich Pompeian Houses, Shops for Rent, and the Huge Apartment Building in Herculaneum as Typical Spaces for Pauline House Churches,” Journal for the Study of the NT 27.1 (2004);
  • “Zeus, Vengeful Protector of the Political and Domestic Order: Frescoes in Dining Rooms N and P of the House of the Vettii in Pompeii, Mark 13:12-13, and 1 Clement 6.2,” in Picturing the NT: Studies in Ancient Visual Images, ed. Weisssenrieder (WUNT 2.193; 2005)
  • “Paul (Saint),” in Sex from Plato to Paglia: A Philosophical Encyclopedia, ed. Soble (2006) 2.748-54
  • “’A Woman Clothed with the Sun’ and the ’Great Red Dragon’ Seeking to ’Devour Her Child’ (Rev 12:1, 4) in Roman Domestic Art,” in The New Testament and Early Christian Literature: Studies in Honor of David E. Aune, ed. Fotopoulos (SuppNT 122; 2006)
  • “From Endymion in Roman Domus to Jonah in Christian Catacombs: From Houses of the Living to Houses for the Dead. Iconography and Religion in Transition,” in Roman Burials: Commemorating the Dead in Texts and Artifacts, ed. Brink and Green (de Gruyter, 2008)