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Richard E. Cornell, Ph.D.

Professor of Biblical Studies
Whiteman-Gibbs Science Center 21F
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I am the father of Nathanael Earnest and Autumn McKenzie, and the husband of Lorie whom I met and married while at Ohio University in Athens Ohio.  Lorie and I were active in Campus Crusade for Christ (now known as Cru) at OU and thought that God might call us to full time ministry in CCC.  As it turned out, His plans were different.

I became a Christian at age 17 in my little hometown United Methodist Church.  CCC was instrumental in my spiritual growth and the college years were very theologically and spiritually rich.  Lorie and I were married near the end of our college career and I began to discern a call to teach.  This call eventually led us to Asbury Theological Seminary, where I completed a Masters of Divinity Degree in 2002.

I served as a Teaching Fellow at ATS for two years (2002-2004), teaching Greek and Hebrew.  We then moved to Scotland in 2004 for me to pursue a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies at the University of Aberdeen.  In my dissertation, I examined how the Gospel of John was read by two groups of early 3rd century Christians in their attempts to work out their understanding of God’s nature (is God three, one, or both?).  If you want the longer (and more painful) explanation, I will be happy to afflict you with it! I completed my dissertation in December, 2010 and am very grateful to have that part of my life behind me!

We moved back to the States in November of 2006 and I was fortunate to be offered a teaching position at Spring Arbor University in the late Spring of 2007.  Our time at SAU has been a beautiful blessing. We bought a home in Concord, MI (6 miles from campus) and are thoroughly enjoying the “good life” out in the sticks!

My academic interests are varied.  I am a New Testament guy within the Department of Theology, so I get to teach a lot of the New Testament courses. I am particularly interested in the Gospel of John (on which I wrote my dissertation and a chapter of a recently published commentary) and The Revelation.  I teach a class every two years called “Revelation, Eschatology, and the End of the World” (BIB407). I also co-teach a class with Dr. Brewer (of the Department of Theology) called “War and Peace in the Christian Tradition” (PHI318), a historical, theological, and biblical survey of this important topic. I am a huge fan of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and have taught a class titled “Tolkien’s Theological Imagination” several times at SAU. I am currently working on a master’s degree in Language and Literature from Signum University. I have taken master’s level classes on Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Dystopian Literature, Old English, and Beowulf. I am currently doing some teaching in the English Department here at SAU, teaching World Literature and the Bible as Literature.

In my spare time, I enjoy hanging out with my wife, reading, landscaping and working out. I have recently developed a love for Strongman and have a goal of competing in my first Strongman competition by the time I’m 50 (in the old dude’s division!).  I have a personal gym in my garage and breezeway which I call “The Ox Farm.” I am a huge race fan — late model dirt track racing, not NASCAR (“asphalt is for getting there; dirt is for racing” is my motto).  Many Saturday nights in the summer you will find me at some small track in Michigan or Ohio.  I also love roller skating and you can find me making laps at Allskate in Jackson, MI. My wife and I love country music and playing board games (favorites includes Settlers of Catan, Rise of Augustus, & Ticket to Ride).


  • Ph.D.: (Divinity) University of Aberdeen 2010


I love SAU because it is a place that has mission, knows its mission, and strives to live out its mission every day. It’s not just etched in stone at center of campus. It’s etched into our hearts and mind. We are a community of learners distinguished by our lifelong involvement in the study and application of the liberal arts, total commitment to Jesus Christ as the perspective for learning, and critical participation in the contemporary world.


“John” in the Wesley One-Volume Commentary on the Bible. Abingdon Press, 2020.

Richard E. Cornell and Tom Holsinger-Friesen, “Reading the ‘Logic of Love’ in the Old Testament.” Journal of Theological Interpretation 8.2 (Fall 2014): 299-309.

Recent Research

I am currently working on a Masters in Language and Literature from Signum University, with an emphasis in Tolkien Studies.

Other Relevant Experience

Co-pastor & Youth Ministry Leader, Crown City United Methodist Church, 1996-1998

Greek and Hebrew Language Teaching Fellow, Asbury Theological Seminary, 2002-2004