Joshua Caleb Hutchens


occasional observations from Joshua Hutchens on life, faith, and mission

monthly stories about how God is working for his glory


Joshua Caleb Hutchens, Ph.D.

President | Gospel Life and Shepherds Academy

B.A., Boyce College
Adv. M.Div., Th.M., Ph.D., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Dr. Joshua Caleb Hutchens serves as President of Gospel Life and Shepherds Academy. Dr. Hutchens and his wife Stacy Leigh founded Gospel Life in 2016 and were appointed missionaries to Malawi. His academic research and writing focuses on the theology of New Testament letters.

Dr. and Mrs. Hutchens are members of Hardin Baptist Church in Hardin, Kentucky. They have five children.

Previously, Dr. Hutchens pastored two churches in Kentucky and served for two years as a missionary in Moldova. He holds a Ph.D. in biblical theology from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also earned his Advanced M.Div and Th.M. Dr. Hutchens received his B.A. in biblical and theological studies with a minor in missions from Boyce College.



The Bible Guidebook

The Gospel Life Guidebook Series

When you set out on a new adventure, it’s essential to pack a guidebook that will help you along your way.

In The Bible Guidebook, biblical scholar and missionary Dr. Joshua Caleb Hutchens helps you to set out on the journey of studying the Bible. The Bible Guidebook introduces you to this book we call the Bible and helps you learn how to study it for yourself. He also gives you the basic historical and theological information you need to make sense of God’s word including information about ancient world history, each book of the Bible, and special topics like the tabernacle and the apocrypha.

Whether you are starting out on the journey yourself or guiding others along the way, The Bible Guidebook is the resource you need to understand the basics in a simple yet challenging way.


Persecution and Cosmic Conflict in Galatians

Ph.D. Dissertation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Persecution in Galatians manifests the cosmic conflict between God and the present evil age. Chapter 1 introduces the reader to the topic of persecution in Galatians and the history of research. Chapter 2 demonstrates that Paul uses the theme of cosmic conflict to place the crisis in Galatia within a broader context of a conflict between God who has inaugurated the new creation within the present time and this present evil age.

Chapters 3–4 examine Paul’s theological context. Chapter 3 investigates a theme of cosmic conflict in Genesis, Psalms, Isaiah, and Habakkuk. Chapter 4 examines the theme in other early Jewish texts (Daniel; 1 Enoch; 4 Ezra; 2 Baruch; Jubilees; 1 Maccabees; 2 Maccabees; 4 Maccabees; 1QS; CD; 1QM). This survey reveals that Paul’s iteration of the theme possesses continuity and discontinuity with other authors.

Chapter 5 offers a historical reconstruction of the instances of persecution mentioned in Galatians. Four instances of persecution in Galatians are examined: (1) Paul the Persecutor (1:13, 23). (2) Paul the Persecuted (3:1; 4:13, 19; 5:11; 6:17) (3) The Opponents as Potential Targets (6:12) (4) The Persecution of the Galatians (3:4; 4:17–18, 29). Paul uses the theme of persecution to reshape the perception of the Galatian believers and to reveal the danger of the false gospel preached by his opponents.

Chapter 6 identifies persecution as a specific manifestation of the cosmic conflict between God and this present evil age. Galatians 4:29 directly connects the phenomenon of persecution with the broader cosmic conflict. Paul does so by identifying typology in Genesis 21:9. In light of this understanding of Paul’s use of Genesis, other significant passages on persecution in Galatians are reexamined to see how they fit within a cosmic conflict reading: 1:13, 23; 3:4; 5:11; 6:12, 17.

In conclusion, chapter 7 offers three possible results of Paul’s understanding of persecution as cosmic conflict. It then examines the significance of the thesis for global Christianity today.


Reforming Theological Education: Past Lessons for Africa Today

Kērussōmen: A Journal of Theology for the African Church 5.1 (2019): 79–98

Those of us who are called to train pastors have been given a deposit of sound doctrine to guard as well as to entrust to faithful men (2 Tim 1:14; 2:2). The burden upon our shoulders is to pass on this deposit both faithfully and fruitfully. But those of us who train pastors in Africa bear an even greater responsibility. This continent will be the center of global Christianity for the foreseeable future, and the institutions we lead, the methodologies we employ, and the curricula we develop will create standards and expectations that will far outlive us. What will theological education in Africa look like? What kind of pastors will our centers for theological education— whether formal seminaries, informal seminars, or church-based programs—produce? This article offers lessons for Africa today based on six reform movements or reformers of theological education from Christian history—monasticism, the Brethren of the Common Life, the Reformation, Pietism, James P. Boyce, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. By becoming students of the past, we can prepare the institutions we lead for the future.

How to protect your mission trip from abusers

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (, April 23, 2018

In 2014, Matthew Durham arrived in Kenya from Oklahoma to serve as a summer missionary in a Nairobi orphanage. Today, he is serving a 40-year prison sentence. Why? Matthew Durham sexually abused four children multiple times in the month he spent in that Kenyan orphanage.

But Matthew Durham is an exception, right? Isn’t he just one evil individual among the 2 million American Christians who participate in short-term mission trips annually? Unfortunately, Matthew Durham probably isn’t an exception. In fact, evidence suggests that not only does sexual abuse happen during international mission trips, but that pedophiles are targeting your church’s mission trip as an opportunity to access children.

Christian Worship in Hebrews 12:28 as Ethical and Exclusive

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 59.3 (2016): 507–522

In the final warning passage of Hebrews, the command to give thanks by offering acceptable worship in 12:28–29 connects the ethical instructions of chapter 13 with the theological argument of chapters 1–12. Consistent with the rest of the letter, worship in Hebrews 12:28 is based on the cultic accomplishment of Christ. Consequently, Christian worship consists of ethical living rather than sacrifice. On this basis, chapter 13 utilizes cultic language to describe an ethical life. Finally, by citing Deuteronomy 4:24 in 12:29, Hebrews establishes Christian worship as the exclusive way to worship the God of Israel in the new covenant era.

Book Reviews

Review of John Anthony Dunne, Persecution and Participation in Galatians

The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 22.4 (2018): 131–133

Review of William A. Dyrness and Oscar García-Johnson, Theology without Borders: An Introduction to Global Conversation

Journal of Global Christianity 3.1 (2017): 104–106

Editorial Work

The Grace and Truth Study Bible

Theological Review Editor of the New Testament

R. Albert Mohler, Jr., General Editor. Zondervan, 2021.

The NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible paints a stunning canvas of the goodness of God’s redemptive plan revealed in the gospel of Jesus. Warmhearted and practical study notes guide your reading as you learn and relearn the good news of Jesus on every page. Whether you are just starting your walk with God or have been studying the Bible for years, you’ll gain fresh insights of grace and truth while you learn to love him more deeply.

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