Dr. Jerry Johnston Interviews Dr. Craig Evans18 June 2019
Dr. Craig Evans is the John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins at HBU. He is a sought-after biblical scholar and New Testament expert. His books and teaching have encouraged many and led skeptics to faith in Jesus Christ.
Dr. Craig Evans has published hundreds of scholarly studies and more than 70 books. The Houston Baptist University John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins spoke with Dr. Jerry Johnston, VP of Innovation and Strategic Marketing for HBU, about the years of research, writing, teaching and contributing to the body of knowledge about the Bible.
Always a person of curiosity, a revival of interest in the historical Jesus set Evans on his career path. “In the 1980s there was the ‘Third Quest’ as people called it. People were weighing in and I realized we’re now talking in a way I better understand,” Evans says. “People were talking about archelogy, the culture of the time, what the Jewish people were like, how Jesus fit into that, and how he was similar and different. The Dead Sea scrolls became relevant, and there I was positioned. It took off. Pretty soon there was media. I never thought that would happen – archeologists and biblical scholars became TV personalities. Since then, I’ve been in more than 100 documentaries and news programs.”
Evans remembers, for example, standing before the blinding lights of 130 world reporters during a press conference regarding the “Gospel of Judas” manuscript restoration project. He recalls, in another instance, how an estimated one-quarter of North American adults watched the Dateline NBC two-hour special on “The Last Days of Jesus.”
“I never would have dreamed there would be all of the publicity,” Evans says. “The producers always underestimate the interest.”
In all of his studies, writings and projects, Evans thinks of how he can relate information that will be edifying. He teaches with HBU and its seminary, the Houston Theological Seminary. He speaks regularly at Second Baptist Church of Houston, and is a guest teacher in other settings as well.
When he considers the legacy of his life’s work, Evans thinks of how he has succeeded in encouraging Christians to understand the historical context and evidence of their faith. “Every single archeological discovery that’s of any relevance supports what the Gospels have to say. Fiction writers – fakers – just don’t get that lucky,” he said. “I hope I’m remembered as a Christian who tried to be faithful to Jesus and the Gospels – to His message.”