Alumni | Give to BC | Athletics | Fine Arts | Thresher Connect | Search


Bible lecturer to look at cross-cultural interaction in Exodus, Genesis

November 1st, 2018

Safwat Marzouk

An Old Testament scholar makes a return to Bethel College after three years to deliver two talks in the Bible Lecture Series.

Safwat Marzouk, Ph.D., is associate professor of Old Testament at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind., where he has taught since 2011.

He will speak Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 5 at 11 a.m., both in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center. His lectures are free and open to the public.

Marzouk was invited to give the lectures particularly because of his scholarship on the book of Exodus, one of the common texts for this school year’s capstone course for Bethel seniors, Basic Issues of Faith and Life (BIFL).

“Dr. Marzouk reads Exodus not only as a scholar, but from his cultural location as an Egyptian Christian,” said Patricia Shelly, Ph.D., Bethel professor of Bible and religion.

“He can help us think about the cross-cultural interaction between ancient Israelites and Egyptians in a new way. He will also do a lecture on the Joseph story in the book of Genesis, another narrative with an Egyptian setting.”

Marzouk grew up where interfaith dialogue among Christians, Jews and Muslims influences daily life. As a Christian in Egypt, he focused on studying the Old Testament to better understand God’s vision of shalom.

He is an ordained member of the Synod of the Nile (a counterpart to the Presbyterian Church) and was a pastor in Egypt, as well as while completing his doctoral program at Princeton Theological Seminary. He also has degrees from Union Theological Seminary in New York and Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo.

His dissertation was published as Egypt as a Monster in the Book of Ezekiel in 2015.

His most recent publication is his contribution to The Arabic Contemporary Commentary of the Bible, just released in October and the first of its kind that was written by 48 Arab authors from six Arab nationalities. Marzouk wrote the commentaries on the books of Exodus, Joshua and Ezekiel.

Marzouk’s Sunday lecture is entitled “Migration in the Joseph Narrative: Integration, Separation and Transnationality,” while Monday’s (a Bethel convocation) is “Ethnic Boundary Crossing as a Way of Resisting Tyranny and Oppression in Exodus 1-2.”

His presentations are part of the occasional Bible Lecture Series that have been given at Bethel College since 1914.

Since 1951, the series has been endowed by the Hartzler Foundation, established by Dr. and Mrs. John Ellsworth Hartzler. J.E. Hartzler was president of Bethel College from 1920-21 and was himself a Bible Lecturer in 1961. The lectures relate to subjects of general biblical, historical, theological and philosophical interest.

In addition, Marzouk will speak to the two sections of BIFL that are currently in progress and will meet with any interested local pastors Nov. 5 for an informal lunch discussion, noon-1:30 p.m. at the KIPCOR office located at 2515 College Ave. in North Newton.

The lunch is being sponsored by Western District Conference of Mennonite Church USA. Anyone interested should call the WDC office, with questions or to RSVP, at 316-283-6300.

Bethel College is the only Kansas private college listed in the Washington Monthly National Universities-Liberal Arts section and the National Liberal Arts College category of U.S. News & World Report, both for 2018-19. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

Bethel College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, age, gender, sexual orientation, parental or marital status, gender identity, gender expression, medical or genetic information, ethnic or national origins, citizenship status, veteran or military status or disability. E-mail questions to

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.