Dr. Smith specializes in the study of the social world of early Christianity and is a recognized authority on ancient Greco-Roman meal customs. A longtime student of Greek and Roman archaeology, he has recently participated in archaeological research seminars in Turkey, Italy, Israel, and Greece. In his teaching he emphasizes interpreting the New Testament in its ancient context and creatively and effectively applying that interpretation to the needs of the church in the twenty-first century. His recent course offerings include New Testament Greek, Introduction to the New Testament, Gospel of Mark, Gospel of John, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, and Social World of Early Christianity.
Major publications include: Meals in the Early Christian World: Social Formation, Experimentation, and Conflict at the Table, co-edited with Hal Taussig (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012); The Chalice Introduction to the New Testament (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2004); From Symposium to Eucharist: The Banquet in the Early Christian World (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003); five edited volumes of The Storyteller's Companion to the Bible (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996-2006), and articles in a variety of dictionaries, encyclopedias, and essay collections.
Dr. Smith is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Westar Institute. An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), he joined the PTS faculty in 1986.