Paul Koptak

Paul Koptak

Paul and Bernice Brandel Professor of Communication and Biblical Interpretation

Classes taught: Introduction to Preaching; Biblical Preaching; Interpreting the Old Testament; From Hostility to Hospitality

At North Park since: 1989

Dr. Paul Koptak has always enjoyed helping his students discover and develop their gifts for preaching, building into their character and vocational call. “Studying at North Park Theological Seminary is more than reading and writing papers,” he says. “It is bringing heart, mind, and strength to the work of becoming a person who knows what it is to serve a community.”

At North Park, Dr. Koptak finds that students know their professors, and their professors know them. He appreciates being able to build relationships with his students as he helps put their ministry skills into practice. “In my spiritual formation classes, students look at the biblical texts, hear from local pastors and community leaders, and then work and learn at local ministries of hospitality.”

In his classroom assignments, Dr. Koptak aims to show students how to use biblical studies in their preaching. “My courses are designed on the premise that we learn to preach biblical texts by first learning how to read them,” he says.

Dr. Koptak is ordained by the Evangelical Covenant Church and advises students in the doctor of ministry in preaching program of the Association of Chicago Theological Schools. He participates in worship with the Seminary’s old-time country gospel band, the Lonesome Theologians.


  • PhD, Northwestern University and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
  • MDiv, North Park Theological Seminary
  • BA, Rutgers University

Recent Publications

  • Paul Koptak. Living Faith: Reflections on Covenant Affirmations by the Faculty of North Park Theological Seminary. Co-edited with James Brucker and Michelle Clifton-Soderstrom. Chicago: Covenant Publications, 2011.
  • Paul Koptak. “Application in Preaching.” The New Interpreter’s Bible Handbook of Preaching, ed. Paul Scott Wilson. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2008.
  • Paul Koptak. “Intertextuality.” The Dictionary for the Theological Interpretation of Scripture, ed. K. J. Vanhoozer. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2005.
  • Paul Koptak. “Proverbs.” The New International Version Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003.

“We learn to preach biblical texts by first learning how to read them.”