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Melanie Howard, Ph.D.

School of Humanities, Religion and Social Sciences

Education history

  • Ph.D., New Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary
  • M.T.S., Biblical Studies, University of Notre Dame
  • B.A., Biblical Studies, Messiah College


God first called me to a ministry of teaching when I was 16 years old, and I am so grateful that this call led me to FPU! The centrality of Christ at FPU means that I have the opportunity to teach classes directly related to the understanding and interpretation of the Bible. The ability to teach classes so directly related to my discipline of New Testament studies and to spend my days immersed in the Word of God is truly a gift. Beyond that, I could not ask for a better place in which to carry out this work. FPU students, faculty, and staff make FPU a community that allows its members to flourish in every way: academically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I could not imagine a better place in which to live out my vocational calling.

Dr. Melanie Howard is Assistant Professor of Biblical & Theological Studies at Fresno Pacific University. She formerly taught at Valparaiso University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Messiah College. Having completed her PhD at Princeton Theological Seminary with a dissertation on mothers in the Gospel of Mark, she previously received a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree in biblical studies at the University of Notre Dame and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree with a major in Bible and minor in peace and conflict studies at Messiah College. 

Dr. Howard has taught several courses including Introduction to the New Testament, the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Matthew, 1-2 Corinthians, the General Epistles, Koine Greek, Biblical Theology, and Non-Traditional Hermeneutics. Her research interests include the Synoptic Gospels, literary approaches to biblical interpretation, and non-traditional biblical hermeneutics, including feminist and disability approaches.

Dr. Howard has published several articles and has presented papers at annual meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature. Additionally, she was a winner of the 2013 Word & World essay prize for doctoral candidates for her essay, “Jesus Loves the Little Children: A Theological Reading of Mark 9:14-29 for Children with Serious Illnesses or Disabilities.” She has also published numerous book reviews in the Review of Biblical Literature, Princeton Theological Review, Biblical Interpretation, and Biblical Theology Bulletin. 

A Mennonite (a member of both MCUSA and MB), Dr. Howard serves on a planning committee for the annual Mennonite Scholars and Friends Forum held at annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. She is also serving in her second term as an elected member of the Board of Directors for the Society for Values in Higher Education.

A Pennsylvania native, Dr. Howard has enjoyed acclimating to the warm, beautiful weather in Fresno where she resides with her husband and family dog. When not teaching or researching, Dr. Howard enjoys serving her local church congregation as the chair of the church’s Worship Commission and as a member of the Church Council.

External links

Selected works

  • “Hospitality, Pedagogy, and Mission: A Model for Christian Higher Education from Acts 8:26-40, 15:1-35, and 17:16-34,” Pacific Journal (2018): forthcoming.
  • “A Game of Faith: Role-Playing Games as an Active Learning Strategy for Value Formation and Faith Integration in the Theological Classroom,” Teaching Theology and Religion 21, no. 4 (October 2018): forthcoming.
  • Review of Nyasha Junior, An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation, Biblical Theology Bulletin, 48, no. 2 (May 2018): 106-107.
  • “Paradigm of Peace, Silly Satire, Text of Terror: Perspectives on Matthew 5:38-48 for Immigrant Populations,” Soundings 101, no. 2 (2018): 110-146.
  • “Gentle Resilience: A Reflection on Acts 16:6-10,” The Mennonite, March 2018, pp. 23-24.
  • “Best Practices for Integrating First-Generation Latino Students: Theoretical Framework, Lessons Learned, and Theological Foundations” (panel presentation), CCCU International Forum, Dallas, TX, February 1, 2018.
  • “Cheeks and Checkpoints: Matthew 5:38-48 as a Text of Terror and Hope for Healing for Immigrant Populations,” Annual Meeting of the SBL in the Bible and Practical Theology section, San Antonio, TX, November 19, 2016.
  • Review of How Repentance Became Biblical: Judaism, Christianity, and the Interpretation of Scripture, David A. Lambert, Biblical Interpretation 25 (2017): 259-261.
  • “‘Plays Well with Others’: Can Games Achieve Learning Outcomes?” in The Forum for Values in Higher Education, July 2017. Available at:
  • “Role-Playing Games as Pedagogical Tools in Teaching the New Testament to Undergraduate Students,” Annual Meeting of the SBL in the Academic Teaching and Biblical Studies section, Boston, MA, November 18, 2017.
  • “Professor as Person of Faith: Religious Transparency in Teaching,” in FEVER: A Forum Engaging Values, Education, and Responsibility, November 2016. Available at:
  • “A Miscarried Messiah: The Lukan Jesus as a Source for Liturgy When Coping with Miscarriage,” Annual Meeting of the SBL in the Bible and Practical Theology section, Atlanta, GA, November 21, 2015.
  • Review of Robert H. Stein, Jesus, the Temple, and the Coming Son of Man: A Commentary on Mark 13, Princeton Theological Review 18, no. 1 (2015).
  • “Jesus Loves the Little Children: A Theological Reading of Mark 9:14-29 for Children with Serious Illnesses or Disabilities,” Word & World 33, no. 3 (Summer 2013): 275-283.
  • “Life is in the Blood: Envisioning Atonement with Regards to Levitical Theology,” Princeton Theological Review 37 (Fall 2007): 61-71. (published under maiden name, “Bair”)

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