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Dr. Daniel Napier

Daniel Napier (Ph.D., Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam) is an Associate Professor of Theology at Austin Graduate School of Theology. He is also the preaching minister for the Holland Street Church of Christ in San Marcos. Prior to joining the faculty, Daniel served as a foreign missionary in Greece, Bulgaria and Croatia, and as a preaching minister in Texas, California and Toronto, Ontario. In tandem with his ministerial calling, Daniel has pursued advanced degrees in Biblical Studies, Theology, and the History of Philosophy. Since 1997, Daniel has been married to Karly.

Recent Posts

What is "the Way"? Part 2: Rediscovering the "Ancient Way" of Hebrew Hope

Posted by Dr. Daniel Napier on July 18, 2018 at 2:20 PM

In order to grasp the deep roots of "the Way" in Israel’s past, I will ask you to sequentially follow a series of clues in Scripture. By following these hints and allusions, we will peel back the temporal onion to reveal the core significance of the early Christian’s self-description as "the Way." So, returning to Paul’s words in Acts 24:14–16, we find the language of ancient philosophic practice overlapping with unmistakably Hebraic emphases.

 

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Topics: Teaching Moment, Discipleship, The Way

What is "the Way"? Part 1: Fulfillment of Philosophical Aspirations

Posted by Dr. Daniel Napier on April 26, 2018 at 10:04 AM

Three hundred years before Christianity was a religion, Jesus taught his disciples to walk in “the Way.” Alongside the simple term “students,” his earliest followers most common self-description was "the Way.” But what's that?

Categories can help us narrow in on the target. When asked by their Greco-Roman contemporaries to plug themselves into an existing category, early Christians had only one answer.

“Although we gather to worship, we are not a religion – much less a mere superstition.” (Superstition was the derisive term the Romans’ used to designate various religions of foreign extraction.)

“Although we provide, from our own pocket, decent burials for our members and others, we are not a burial society.”

“Though we are called Christians, and this follows the linguistic form for naming a political party (like Caesarians for those of Caesar’s party), we are not a political group.”

“Nor are we a guild – indeed we welcome people from every trade and every stratum of society.”

If you were to press this person, the Jesus follower would eventually offer a category. According to the early Christians, only one category comes near to working. “We are a philosophy. We follow the Way – the philosophy of Jesus.”

This self-categorization is full of significance. “If you want to understand our life and teachings,” the early Christians said, “you must compare us to your schools of philosophy.” Thus, they asked their neighbors and critics to form a judgment with one eye fixed on Christian behavior and the other eye fixed on the life and teachings of the Stoics, the Epicureans, the Cynics and the Academy, new and old.

May I ask you to take this testimony seriously?

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Topics: Teaching Moment, Discipleship, The Way

Got Milk? Finding Words to Nourish a Seeker

Posted by Dr. Daniel Napier on May 23, 2017 at 9:30 AM

Where does one begin in sharing the faith with a seeker? We’ve all asked the question. Perhaps it flashed through your mind as you sat across a coffee table from a friend. He unexpectedly expressed curiosity about our devotion. “Where do I start? What should I say?” It’s an important question.

Fortunately, we don’t have to make up our own answer. There is biblical guidance. Early Jesus-followers employed a particularly telling metaphor complex to name the first instruction offered to seekers. Multiple authors of the New Testament (Paul, Hebrews, Peter) use the teaching as milk metaphor. In this post I unpack it in search of wisdom for addressing seekers.

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Topics: How To, Scripture Passage, Evangelism

Join Me for Lunch or Dinner Monday at Austin Grad

Posted by Dr. Daniel Napier on April 20, 2017 at 9:30 AM

If you are considering church planting as a vocation, then you're invited to visit with Charles Kiser about a new apprenticeship program in church planting. Charles is director of training for Mission Alive -- a premier, discipleship-based, church planting organization. 

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Topics: About Austin Grad, Ministry Opportunities

Dare to know God

Posted by Dr. Daniel Napier on April 6, 2017 at 9:29 AM


Jesus redefines reality for us. God is still at work in our world, Jesus says, and he invites us to walk with God. (‘The kingdom of God is near you’ and all are invited to ‘enter into the kingdom’.) Since we’re not accustomed to seeing God all around us, it’s natural to feel a little skeptical. So I want to ask the obvious, but crucial question. How can I know God? 

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Topics: How To, Relationships

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