Dr. Thomas B. Slater

Professor Emeritus

Thomas SlaterDr. Thomas B. Slater served as professor of New Testament Language and Literature at McAfee for 13 years before being named professor emeritus at the occasion of his retirement. Slater received his bachelor’s degree from Arkansas Tech University (in journalism with honors) and his Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry (Christian Education) degrees from Perkins School of Theology and Southern Methodist University, respectively. King’s College London, University of London, awarded him the Doctor of Philosophy in Biblical Studies (New Testament emphasis), where he studied with Professor Graham Stanton.

Before coming to McAfee, Slater worked at Jackson Theological Seminary in North Little Rock, Arkansas, Birkbeck College in London and the University of Georgia. At Jackson, he served as academic dean for two years and then dean for a year. Under his leadership, Jackson received certification from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education to award its Master of Ecclesiastical Studies (a two-year degree), its Bachelor of Theological Studies and its Certificate in Theology. This was Jackson’s historic first certification. At the University of Georgia, he held dual appointments in Religion and African American Studies, teaching courses in New Testament studies and African American biblical interpretation. He also served as undergraduate adviser, graduate coordinator and chair of the departmental Academic Affairs committee.

Dr. Slater has published and continues to publish in scholarly journals and venues around the world (e.g, Journal of Biblical Literature, New Testament Studies, Biblica) and serves on the editorial board of Review & Expositor. He has also published numerous articles in the New Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible and the Eerdman’s Dictionary of the Bible. His major areas of interest are Jewish and Christian apocalypticism written between 220 BCE and 200 CE, the various roles of Jesus in the Gospels and the “captivity letters” in the Pauline tradition (Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians and Philemon). Dr. Slater has written two books and edited a third. Christ and Community (Bloombury T&T Clark) is a revision of his University of London Ph.D. thesis, and it examines the images of Christ in the book of Revelation. His second book is a commentary on the book of Ephesians in the Smyth & Helwys Commentary Series. He argues that Ephesians was written to help a community in transition move smoothly from being predominantly Jewish Christian to predominantly Gentile Christian. Afrocentric Interpretations of Jesus and the Gospel Tradition (Edwin Mellen) is a collection of 10 essays by African American New Testament scholars using several different perspectives and working from different social locations. He has also published the “Son of Man” article in the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Theology, the culmination of two decades of work on this topic. Dr. Slater is also a member of the following professional groups: the Society of Biblical Literature, the Catholic Biblical Association and the elite learned society Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas.

An ordained elder in full connection in the Georgia North Region of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Dr. Slater has pastored five congregations in Arkansas, Virginia and Georgia and been an associate pastor in four other congregations. He serves as chair of the Georgia North Committee on Ministerial Examinations & Conference Relations and is a member of his denomination’s Task Force for the Revision of the Articles of Religion. Dr. Slater is the first African American to receive a Ph.D in biblical studies in the United Kingdom.


  • Ph.D., Biblical Studies, King’s College London, University of London
  • D.Min., Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University
  • Th.M., Master of Theology, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University
  • B.A., Arkansas Tech University

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