Lisa Marie Bowens - Princeton Theological Seminary
Lisa Marie Bowens PhD

Lisa Bowens

Associate Professor of New Testament


110 Tennent Hall

[email protected]



Lisa Marie Bowens, PhD ’14, associate professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, earned a BS (cum laude), MSBE, and MLIS from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, an MTS and ThM from Duke Divinity School, and a PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary. She is the first African American woman to earn tenure in Princeton Seminary’s Bible department. Her first book, An Apostle in Battle: Paul and Spiritual Warfare in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 (Mohr Siebeck), is a revision of her dissertation and examines Paul’s ascent to the third heaven through a cosmic/apocalyptic lens. It traces martial imagery in the letter and explores how this imagery facilitates understanding Paul’s journey as an example of spiritual warfare. Her second book, African American Readings of Paul: Reception, Resistance, and Transformation (Eerdmans), is the first book to investigate a historical trajectory of how African Americans have understood Paul and utilized his work to resist and protest injustice and racism in their own writings from the 1700s to the mid-twentieth century. Her current projects include working as a contributor and co-editor with Scot McKnight and Joseph Modica on Preaching Romans From Here: Diverse Voices Engage Paul’s Most Famous Letter (forthcoming), contributor and co-editor with Dennis Edwards on Do Black Lives Matter?: How Christian Scriptures Speak to Black Empowerment, and two commentaries, one on 2 Corinthians and one on 1-2 Thessalonians.

Her research interests include Paul and apocalyptic literature, Pauline anthropology, Pauline epistemology, discipleship in the gospels, African American Pauline Hermeneutics, and New Testament exegesis and interpretation. She is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Society of Pentecostal Studies, Society for the Study of Black Religion, American Academy of Religion, and a past Fund for Theological Education fellow. She is also a member of the following editorial teams: Bulletin for Biblical Research Journal, Horizons in Biblical Theology, New Testament Studies, and Journal for the Study of Paul and His Letters; and a member of the following Steering Committees: Ethics and Biblical Interpretation (co-chair SBL), African American Biblical Hermeneutics Group (SBL), Pauline Theology Group (SBL), and Forum on Missional Hermeneutics (SBL). She is a recipient of the Wabash Early Career Teaching Fellowship and the Louisville Institute First Book Grant for Scholars of Color. Some of her current courses are Paul and Apocalyptic Thought, Greek Exegesis of 2 Corinthians, African American Pauline Hermeneutics, Introduction to New Testament Greek, and Introduction to New Testament Exegesis.

Dr. Bowens discusses her book An Apostle in Battle on The Distillery podcast.

Dr. Bowens discusses her book, African American Readings of Paul on the OnScript podcast.

Select Publications

  • African American Readings of Paul: Reception, Resistance, and Transformation (Eerdmans, 2020)
  • “God and Time: Exploring Black Notions of Prophetic and Apocalyptic Eschatology” in T&T Clark Handbook of African American Theology, eds. Antonia Michelle Daymond, Frederick L. Ware, and Eric Lewis Williams (New York: T & T Clark, 2019)
  • “Ephesians,” “Philippians,” “Colossians” in The Preacher’s Bible Handbook, ed. O. Wesley Allen (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2019)
  • “Spirit-Shift: Paul, the Poor, and The Holy Spirit’s Ethic of Love and Impartiality in the Eucharist Celebration,” in The Holy Spirit and Social Justice Interdisciplinary Global Perspectives: Scripture and Theology, eds. Antipas Harris and Michael Palmer (Lanham, MD: Seymour Press, 2019)
  • “Liberating Paul: African Americans’ Use of Paul in Resistance and Protest,” in Practicing with Paul: Reflections on Paul and the Practices of Ministry in Honor of Susan G. Eastman, ed. Presian Burroughs (Oregon: Cascade Books, 2018)
  • “Painting Hope: Formational Hues of Paul’s Spiritual Warfare Language in 2 Corinthians 10-13,” in Practicing with Paul: Reflections on Paul and the Practices of Ministry in Honor of Susan G. Eastman, ed. Presian Burroughs (Oregon: Cascade Books, 2018)
  • “Divine Desire: Paul’s Apocalyptic God of Rescue,” Theology Today 75 no 1 (2018): 9-21
  • An Apostle in Battle: Paul and Spiritual Warfare in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 (Mohr Siebeck, 2017)
  • “Investigating the Apocalyptic Texture of Paul’s Martial Imagery in 2 Corinthians 4–6,” JSNT 39 (2016): 3–15
  • “The Role of John the Baptist in Matthew’s Gospel,” Word and World 30 (2010): 311–18