Sarah Coleson-Derck

Dean of the Faculty, Professor of Biblical and Near Eastern Studies

Sarah Coleson-Derck

Dean of the Faculty, Professor of Biblical and Near Eastern Studies
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I joined the faculty of NTS from a lifetime shaped by theological education. Raised on a seminary campus in Oregon, I learned early to treasure the riches of Scripture. I’ve been teaching, preaching, researching, and writing about the Bible and its worlds since my own college days. As a crucial component of theological education, the discipline of biblical studies should prepare us to serve the people of God with faithful and incisive teaching, and with proclamation that attends to the fullness of the Bible in all its many contexts (historical, cultural, linguistic, literary, canonical, etc.). One of my great joys in life is to witness my students' delighted surprise when the God we meet in Scripture is revealed to be so much larger and closer than the God they thought they knew. As one student put it, “Reading the Bible directly has complicated my journey of faith.” Amen and amen! Studying the Bible reveals our assumptions and preconceptions, and this can be an intense journey. My approach in the classroom is therefore pastoral, dialogical, and interactive, while firm in the insistence that complex ideas and questions must be thoroughly probed, for the sake of the people and the God we serve.

I’ve written two volumes in the New Beacon Bible Commentary series (Ruth and Song of Songs), and served as associate editor for the Global Wesleyan Encyclopedia of the Biblical Theology. My current project builds on my doctoral research—on the uses of barrenness narratives and language/imagery in the Old Testament—to explore effective pastoral care and more nuanced preaching around infertility. I have also published and presented on the women of the ancestral narratives, the Megillot, wisdom literature, and preaching the Old Testament. I also have an abiding interest in the visual arts, and artists’ interpretations of the Biblical passages.
Ministry fuels my scholarship, and vice versa. I love to preach in local churches, to teach at camps and conferences, and to lead retreats. Ordained in the Church of the Nazarene, I've served as both a college chaplain and an associate pastor in a church plant. Before returning to NTS, I taught at Nazarene Theological College (Manchester), Indiana Wesleyan University, and Houghton University. I’m active in Wesleyan-Holiness Women Clergy, SBL, and WTS, am a member of several denominational committees, and supervise PhD students in Old Testament.

My husband Joshua and I take any chance we get to travel, walk in the woods, drink coffee, or browse antique shops and museums with our children, Joseph and Miriam. Joshua’s also an avid triathlete, which gives me time to knit, and to read mysteries (Lord Wimsey, Inspector Gamache, Mary Russell, and Brother Cadfael are my perennial companions, though I discover new gems regularly).


PhD, Nazarene Theological College/University of Manchester
MATS, Nazarene Theological Seminary
BA, Indiana Wesleyan University


Elder, Church of the Nazarene

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