Reverend Doctor Shively T. J. Smith is a sought-after teacher, preacher, and writer. She completed her Ph.D. in New Testament Studies at Emory University as the first African American female degreed in that specialization. Furthermore, she recently published her first book, called Strangers to Family: Diaspora and First Peter's Invention of God's Household with Baylor University Press and is completing a commentary on Second Peter for SBL Press. Smith is an ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church where she proudly serves as member and resident scholar at the historic Cathedral of the AME Church, Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, D.C.
As a scholar of New Testament, Smith writes and teaches on all 27 books of the New Testament, but her particular focus is on the traditions of Peter, diaspora studies, African-American and womanist approaches to the Bible, and biblical ethics and theology about the treatment of historically marginalized and vulnerable populations and hospitality to strangers, locally and globally. She has contributed to multiple writing projects and series, including Feasting on the Gospels: Reading and Writing Theologically, and the forthcoming series, Connections: A Lectionary Commentary for Preaching and Worship. She is a regular contributor to the online Working Preacher Lectionary series and the Odyssey Network's "On Scripture" online series. Smith has taught and preached in a variety of venues such as Princeton Theological Seminary's Engle Institute of Preachers (Princeton, NJ), Foundry UMC (Washington, D.C.), the Academy of Preachers, the National Capital Presbytery, the Black Methodists for Church Renewal, and others
Smith has studied at a variety of institutions, including Fisk University, Candler School of Theology, Columbia Theological Seminary, and even for a short time at Oxford Unversity as an English-Speaking Union Luard Fellow. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Academy of Religion, and the Society for the Study of Black Religion. Smith's work has been supported by organizations such as the Louisville Institute, the Ford Foundation, the Fund for Theological Education, Black Women in Church and Society Program, the Social Science Research Council, and the Mellon Mays Fellowship Program.
In terms of service, she has served in academic and ministerial capacities. Smith has been actively working in ministry for 20 years, entering the ministry at the age of 16 and working with a range of church organizatiions and denominations including Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Presbyterian, and non-denominational. She has served as one of the members of the Status of Women in the Profession for the Society of Biblical Literature. Currently, she serves on SBL's Women in the Bible Steering Committee and the Emory Studies in Early Christianity editorial board for SBL Press. She has served as a national mentor for the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers and has been recognized as an outstanding alumna and mentor by IRT's Maryland Alumni Chapter and the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program.