Stephen is native of Australia and was born and raised in Sydney. Having studied initially at Macquarie University (BA Hons., Dip. Ed.), he came to England for postgraduate studies, first at Lancaster University (MA in Religious Studies), then at King’s College London (PhD in New Testament). Stephen's first full-time appointment was as Tutor in Biblical Studies at Salisbury and Wells Theological College (1984-88). In 1988, he was appointed to a lectureship in New Testament in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University. In 2002, he was made Reader in New Testament. In 2006, he was awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Doctoral Supervision. While lecturing in the Department, Stephen trained part-time for ordination at Cranmer Hall, and was ordained priest in 1994, serving subsequently as a non-stipendiary minister at St John’s Church Neville’s Cross. Having taught in the university for twenty-two years, he took early retirement in September 2010. Stephen now lives in Widdrington, Northumberland, where his wife Helen is the Vicar of the Parishes of Ulgham and Widdrington.
Stephen's teaching and research interests have focused in an interdisciplinary way on the New Testament in its originating context and in the life of the Church today. His teaching has included the following subjects: New Testament Theology, New Testament Ethics, Marriage and Family in Christian Social Teaching, Theological Hermeneutics, and The New Testament and the Social Sciences. His books are: The Spirituality of the Gospels (London: SPCK, 1992); Discipleship and Family Ties in Mark and Matthew (SNTSMS 80, Cambridge: CUP, 1994); People of the Passion (London: SPCK/Triangle, 1994); Invitation to the Bible (London: SPCK, 1997); and Life Together: Essays on Family, Sexuality and Community in the New Testament and Today (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2001). Stephen has also written the commentary on 1 Corinthians in J.D.G. Dunn and J.W. Rogerson, eds., Eerdmans Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004), 1314-1352; and was editor of the Cambridge Companion to the Gospels (Cambridge: CUP, 2006).
Over the past decade, Stephen has directed a sequence of interdisciplinary theological research projects. These have resulted in his editing (or co-editing) the following volumes of multi-authored essays: The Family in Theological Perspective (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1996); Where Shall Wisdom Be Found? (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1999); Holiness Past and Present (London: T & T Clark, 2003); Idolatry. False Worship in the Bible, Early Judaism and Christianity (London: T&T Clark, 2007); (with L.T. Stuckenbruck and B.G. Wold), Memory and Remembrance in the Bible and Antiquity (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007); and (with David Wilkinson), Reading Genesis After Darwin (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009).