Adam and I: An Interview

April 14th, 2012| Topic: aBeLOG, Interviews | 2

Adam and I: An Interview

Abe’s Editorial Note: The other day I had the privilege of being interviewed by one of my former students, Adam Cavalier. This young man (and his wife Magan), after graduating from DTS, headed out to parts Far East to be a light for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What a pleasure it is, to see the Cavaliers diligently doing the Lord’s work! Though I had only a small role to play in Adam’s life, it is a delight to see any student thrive and prosper under the hand of God, doing his will.

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.
3 John 4

I reproduce the interview, with minimal editing, from the original post on Adam’s blog here.

The following is an interview with one of my favorite professors at DTS, Dr. Abraham Kuruvilla. Specifically, it is with regards to his recently published work – Mark: A Theological Commentary for Preachers. I think you will find Dr. Kuruvilla intriguing and passionate about preaching God’s Word. Enjoy!

Me [Adam Cavalier]:
Dr. Kuruvilla thank you for taking the time today and letting my readers hear a little bit you, your ministry, and your new book. I greatly appreciate the great impact you have made on my life and preaching.

Dr. Kuruvilla:
Thanks, Adam. Good to have had you in my preaching classes a couple of semesters. And I’m even more thrilled to see you in action on the mission field! All God’s blessings on your undertakings for his glory, there in the Far East.

Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself? Maybe a little bit about your background, where you grew up, and how the Lord brought you to DTS as a professor.

I was born in Kuwait. Grew up for a while in India. Came to the US for school. And I’ve been here ever since. Oh, and I did a brief stint of a few years in Scotland. Yes, for more school. Some of us take longer to learn, you know.

What sort of preaching did you sit under as a child/new believer?

My brother led me to the Lord in India, but I didn’t really grow much there. Where I came from, in the South, there weren’t many solid churches that preached Scripture faithfully. So you could say that I was pretty malnourished. Coming to the US, I began attending a church pastored by a Dallas Seminary grad, who inspired my love for the Word. And then, even before any theological training, I was thrown into a leadership situation in a church plant. That’s when I decided I wanted to do nothing more than preach the Bible. Of course, I had to go to DTS ….

How do you think this shaped your understanding of preaching?

DTS and its ethos (and motto) of Preaching the Word, and the Pastoral Ministries department there, laid the foundations of my homiletics. The stress on application was immense. When God speaks, there has to be a response. And that led me on a trail to investigate what exactly constitutes valid application from a slice of the biblical text.

As I mentioned you have made such a great influence on my life and preaching. Who do you think has had the greatest influence on your preaching ministry?

Thanks for the compliment, Adam. My teachers (and now my colleagues) at DTS, for sure; my advisor in the University of Aberdeen who guided my studies in hermeneutics and language philosophy; the church folk who have patiently sat through my preaching endeavors and been encouraging all throughout.

And stories. Yes, stories. I love stories. And I became captivated by the stories of the Bible. Which might explain my work on Mark (and my work-in-progress on Genesis)!

And words. Or, language, really. I don’t know, but I’ve always been enthralled by the way language works, how we use words to accomplish things. There is even a whole subset of language philosophy that studies this, called “Speech Act Theory.” Fascinating stuff.

What led you to want to write this new book – Mark: A Theological Commentary for Preachers?

I firmly believe that biblical writers are not only giving us information, but are exhorting us to change our lives in particular ways for the glory of God. My goal in life is to grapple with the text to discover not only what is written, but how. Because the what + how combo invariably points us to the life-change intended by the author. And since I had taught Mark for several semesters and been intrigued by his style, I thought I’d give this Gospel a shot. It also helped that it was the shortest!

So what is it about this book that makes it unique? What do you think the preacher-pastor could best take away from this book?

I think that, unlike most commentaries, this one dissects out the how of the text—how the text is structured, how it says what it says. All to the goal of figuring out what Mark (with some help from the Holy Spirit!) is doing with what he is saying. Readers of the Gospel will note that it is a unique piece of writing, structured as a journey: Jesus and his company begin in Galilee and end in Jerusalem. It’s just one straight movement, all the way to the cross. Mark, then, is essentially a handbook of discipleship, teaching believers what it means to follow Jesus. Bit by bit, passage by passage, Mark unfolds facets of discipleship. And I’ve tried to track with Mark in the same fashion in my commentary, moving from one text to the next (or, to be technical, from one pericope to the next).

As we can see from the title, this is a book that is a theological commentary for preachers. What about for the layman or non-preacher? What sort of insights or perspectives could that person get from this work?

Yes, it is primarily geared for preachers. But for any layperson interested in how valid application can be derived from the various portions of Mark’s Gospel—this includes Bible teachers, Sunday School teachers, and everyone keen on applying the biblical text—I think this book will prove to be helpful. Yes, it is somewhat technical, with Greek (and some Hebrew), but every foreign word is translated and transliterated, so even those without Greek/Hebrew can engage the work.

Hey, I’d love to get readers’ feedback on it. Feel free to go to my website and comment, or shoot me an email.

Adam, thanks for the opportunity to chat about my book. Great to connect with you again. My regards to Magan, too. And … keep preachin’!


  1. Scout July 22, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Hope lots of people read and use the book.


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