Dr Oh-Young Kwon

Dr Oh-Young Kwon

Dean of Korean Language Programs

I received my Bachelor of Arts in theology from the Baptist Theological University in Korea, MDiv from the Asian Theological Seminary in the Philippines, Master of Theology and Doctor of Theology from the University of Divinity in Australia.  


DTh (The University of Divinity)
Dissertation Title 1 Corinthians 1-4: A Rhetorical and Social Analysis and its Evaluation from a Korean Confucian Christian Context 2009

MTh (the University of Divinity)
Dissertation Title Works of Law (Erga Nomou): Interpretation from the New Perspective on Paul and its Evaluation in a Korean Confucian Context 2004

MDiv in Biblical Studies (Asian Theological Seminary, Philippines) 2001

BA (Korea Baptist Theological University) 1994

Current Research

A rhetorical reading of the Pauline account of suffering in 1 Corinthians 4.13: the apostle as ὡς περικάθαρμα τοῦ κόσμου and πάντων περίψημα

This paper explores the Pauline rhetorical use of the words περικάθαρμα (‘rubbish’) and περίψημα (‘refuse’) in his account of suffering in 1 Corinthians (1 Cor 4.10). These words explicitly represent and characterize the sufferings and difficulties of him and his colleagues in their mission fields. This paper further argues that his suffering for the sake of Christ is an underlying theme throughout 1 Corinthians (e.g. 7.26; 9.24-27; 15.30-32).

The words περικάθαρμα and περίψημα are found nowhere else in the entire New Testament. The apostle Paul deliberately employed the words in 1 Corinthians 4.13 in order to seemingly humble himself but rhetorically praise his commitment to the ministry of God (cf. 1 Cor 4.1-3) and to defend his apostleship (cf. 1 Cor 9.1-3). By using the words περικάθαρμα and περίψημα, he cleverly distinguished and differentiated the characteristics of his dedication to the sharing and proclamation of the gospel of Christ (cf. 1 Cor 9.12) from those of all other teachers/guardians’ (παιδαγωγοί) (4.15).  

Rhetorical and Inter-Cultural Readings of 1 Cor 9:24-27 in the Context of AFL

Paul rhetorically uses the language of sports and athletics in 1 Corinthian 9.24-27 – “race,” “running,” “runners,” “prize,” “athletes” and “boxing”. These words appear to reflect on the sporting environment of the Roman Empire and Roman Corinth in the first century CE. Sporting and athletic contests such as Isthmian Games played an important role in shaping the civic life of people in Roman Corinth. These games attracted a great number of tourists, participants, and dignitaries like the emperor Nero who himself, in later years, actually participated in the contests. 

Moreover, these games and especially the Isthmian games would have played a significant factor in bringing together people of different socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds. It would be imaginable that Paul took advantage of the opportunity to share with his neighboring spectators in the crowd the gospel of Christ who broke through hierarchical social structures and ethnic boundaries and welcomed all people (cf. 1 Cor 1.18-29). 

This observation will be re-examined and re-evaluated through the lens of Australian Football League (AFL, afterwards) in Australian sports context. Affordable ticket prices are arranged for most of its games. Hence, people of any level of socio-economic status and of any ethnic background are welcome to spectate the games. An AFL stadium is a place where Christ, who welcomes all people of different socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds, is invited and seated. This paper further acknowledges and appreciates Christian chaplains in Australia who are involved in the AFL and their remarkable contributions to introducing and enhancing the Christian and biblical perception of justice in sport and competition.

Rhetorical and imperial readings of the Gospel of Matthew

This paper interprets Matthew 11:12 from rhetorical and imperial-critical perspectives. In the verse the author appears to have employed an allusion of Roman imperialism and military violence that is implicitly manifested in the words βιάζω and βιαστής. These two words further demonstrate his use of rhetorical device – conjugate (Latin, coniugata) that is to use “words of the same family” (Cicero, Topic, III.12). 

Moreover, these words represent Roman imperialism and the military violence that the Roman empire used to persecute the Christ-believing communities and particularly the Matthean community in the first century CE (cf. 5:10-11). 

This paper purposely translates ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν as the empire of heaven(s) and puts this phrase in contrary and opposition to the Roman empire that is, to some extent, characterised by the words βιάζω and βιαστής. The Christ-believers and Matthean community who belonged to the empire of heaven(s) suffered persecution for they refused to participate in Roman imperial cults where the deceased and living emperors and the imperial family were honoured and venerated (cf. 4:10). People all over the empire were mandatory and required by law to do this for it was the ruling system of the Roman empire. 

In the verse the author rhetorically attacked and deliberately challenged the imperial power and military violence of the Roman empire that took the empire of heaven and the Matthean community by force.

All these findings serve and provide an alternative to the interpretation of the Matthean verse and contribute to current Matthean scholarship. 

Research Interests

Paul and the first-century Greco-Roman world, Bible reading in multicultral contexts, intercultural dialogue between the first century Christians and 21st century Christians, women and sexuality in Roman Corinth and comfort women issues in Asain counturies today...

• Member of Society of Biblical Literature
• Member Fellowship for Biblical Studies (Vic)
• Member Korean Evangelical Theological Society
• Member Society of Asian Biblical Studies


  • 2010
    • Kwon, O.Y.(2010). 1 Corinthians 14 Reconstructing Its Social and Rhetorical Situation and Re-Reading It Cross-Culturally for Korean Confucian Christians Today. Wipf and Stocks Publishers, Eugene, Oregon. | External link

Book Chapter

  • 2009
    • Kwon. O.Y.(2009). 1 Corinthians 12:12-13: An Ethnic Analysis and its Evaluation from a Korean-Ethnocentric (danil minjok) Christian Context In Lee Yeong Mee and Yoo Yoon Jong, Mapping and Engaging the Bible in Asian Cultures (pp. 123-139). the Christian Literature Society of Korea, Seoul, Korea.

Journal Article

  • 2021
    • Kwon, O.Y.(2021). PRhetorical and Postcolonial Readings of John 4 and 8: its Hermeneutical application in Korea. Asian Journal of Theology, 35 (1) 38-57.
  • 2017
    • KWON, O.Y.(2017). 1 Corinthians 8.4-6: An Inter-cultural Reading from the Political Context of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). US-China Foreign Language, 15 43-55.
  • 2015
    • Kwon O.Y.(2015). A Rhetorical Analysis of Paul’s Contrasting Use of προλαμβάνω and ἐκδέχομαι in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34,. Journal of Biblical Text Research, 37 255-272.
  • 2010
    • Kwon. O.Y.(2010). Discovering the Characteristics of Collegia - Collegia Sodalicia and Collegia Tenuiorum in 1 Corinthians 8, 10 and 15. Horizons in Biblical Theology, 2010 166-182.
    • Kwon, O.Y.(2010). A Critical Review of Recent Scholarship on the Pauline Opposition and the Nature of its Wisdom (sophia) in 1 Corinthians 1-4. Currents in Biblical Research, 8.3 386-427.

Research and Professional Grants

  • 2005
    • International student scholarship, $6000, University of Divinity


Academic Conference

  • 2020
    • Rhetorical and imperial-critical readings of Matthew 11:12: an allusion of Roman imperialism and military violence (2020), Society of Biblical Literature International, Adelaide, Australia, 05 Jul 2020
  • 2017
    • John 4.3-9; 8.48-58: a postcolonial and rhetorical reading and a re-evaluation through the lens of (re-)unification issues in the Korean Peninsula today (2017), Society of Biblical Literature International, Berlin, Germany, 08 Aug 2017
    • John 4.3-9; 8.48-58: a rhetorical and postcolonial reading (2017), Society of Biblical Literature International, Berlin, Germany, 07 Aug 2017
    • Jesus is seated at a stadium: A Cross-Cultural Reading of 1 Cor 9.24-27 from the Sporting Context of Australian Football League (2017), Home and Away Conference Sports and Christianity, Auckland, NZ, 11 Jul 2017
  • 2016
    • A Fresh Reading of the Agápe Account in 1 John through the Eyes of Paul in Rom 13:8-10 and 1 Corinthians 13 (2016), Society of Biblical Literature International, Seoul, South Korea, 03 Jul 2016
    • First Corinthians 8:4-6: An Intercultural and Inter-faith Reading from the Political and Ideological Context of North Korea Today (2016), Society of Asian Biblical Studies, Seoul, South Korea, 02 Jul 2016
  • 2014
    • A rhetorical analysis of Paul’s use of προλαμβάνω and ἐκδέχομαι (1 Cor 11.20, 33) (2014), Society of Biblical Literature Annual, San Diego, USA, 23 Nov 2014
  • 2011
    • A Glimpse of Greco-Roman Practice of Collegia Sodalicia in 1 Cor 8 and of Collegia Tenuiorum in 1 Cor 15 (2011), Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting, London, United Kingdom, 05 Jul 2011
    • 1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1: The Corinthian Practice of Greco-Roman Domestic Cults and Paul’s Response to it and its Evaluation from a Korean-Confucian Christian Context (2011), American Academy of Religion, Society of Biblical Literature Conference, Spokane, USA, 13 May 2011
  • 2010
    • Works of Law: An Evaluation of the Reformation and New Perspectives on Paul from a Korean-Confucian Christian Context (2010), Society of Asian Biblical Studies conference, Hong Kong, 14 Jun 2010
  • 2008
    • A Confucian Giant: A Contribution of the Legacy of Wisdom and its Social Consequences in 21st century Korea (2008), Asian Pacific Research Council – Asia Pacific Future Network Signature Event, the Globalising Religion and Culture in Asia-Pacific Conference, Adelaide, SA, 03 Dec 2008
    • A Contribution of Cicero's legacy to the Reconstruction of the rhetorical situation of 1 Corinthians (2008), Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting program unit Paul and Pauline Literature, Auckland, New Zealand, 11 Aug 2008
    • 1 Corinthians 12:12-13: An Ethnic Analysis and its Evaluation from a Korean Ethnocentric Christian Context (2008), Society of Asian Biblical Studies Conference, Seoul, Korea, 16 Jul 2008
  • 2007
    • 1 Corinthians 1-4: A Rhetorical and Social Analysis and its Evaluation from a Korean-Confucian Context (2007), MCD Research School, Melbourne, Australia, 01 Jul 2007
  • 2006
    • 1 Corinthians 1-4: A Rhetorical and Social Analysis and its Evaluation from a Korean-Confucian Context (2006), Whitely Postgraduate Research Seminar, Melbourne, Australia, 01 Aug 2006

Scholarship Publications

Book Chapter

  • 2021
    • Kwon, O.Y.(2021). Jesus is Christ of All Nations: Rhetorical and Postcolonial Readings of John 4.3-9; 8.48-58 In Kwon, O.Y., Text and Context (pp. 9-38). Yodan Chupansa, Seoul.

Journal Article

  • 2020
    • Kwon, O.Y.(2020). What is Truth?: Greco-Roman Philosophical Readings of John 18:33-38. Baptist, 167 135-144.
    • Kwon, O.Y.(2020). A Fresh Analysis of Karis in the New Testament. Baptist, 162 97-107.
    • Kwon, O.Y, (2020). A Fresh Reading of 1 Timothy 2:15b. Baptist, 165 97-103.
  • 2019
    • KWON, O.Y.(2019). A Fresh Reading of the New Testament: A History Book. Baptist, 160 65-75.
    • Kwon, O.Y.(2019). A Fresh Reading of the Apostle Thomas. Baptist, 156 15-23.
    • Kwon, O.Y.(2019). Romans 8:1-9: Multicultural and Intercultural Approaches. Baptist, 157 12-17.
    • Kwon, O.Y.(2019). Why the Holy Spirit?. Baptist, 158 22-28.
    • Kwon, O.Y.(2019). Does the Biblical Church Exist in this World?. Baptist, 159 15-27.

Professional Memberships

Baptist Union of Victoria (since 2003)

Korean Evangelical Theological Society (since 2007)

Society of Asian Biblical Studies (since 2008)

Society of Biblical Literature (since 2006)

Current Supervision

  • Current
    • Park, YS, A forensic-rhetorical and geographical-spacial interpretation of Pauline expression in Romans 11:25 (Doctoral Thesis)
    • Han, Y.C., Inter-religious dialogues between Oriental Christianity and Islam in the multicultural context of Melbourne Australia (Doctoral Thesis)
    • Chang H.J., a fresh study of Christian Discipleship focused on Anathema (Doctoral Thesis)
    • Jin, Y.H., Socio-scientific and Minjung theological readings of Luke 4 (Doctoral Thesis)

Completed Supervision

  • 2020
    • Park, Y.Sun, Addressing Goowonpa and Shincheonji heresy in Korean churches in Australia (Doctoral Thesis), 2020
  • 2018
    • Kim, C., Unknown (Masters Project/Thesis), 2018
    • Han, Y., Unknown (Masters Project/Thesis), 2018
  • 2017
    • Lan. S, Unknown (Doctoral Thesis), 2017
  • 2016
    • Han, Y., Unknown (Masters Project/Thesis), 2016

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