Pennsylvania State University, B.S.
Reformed Theological Seminary, MDiv
Westminster Theological Seminary, Ph.D.

About Dr. Cara

Dr. Robert J. Cara is the Hugh and Sallie Reaves Professor of New Testament at RTS Charlotte and Provost and Chief Academic Officer for the RTS institution. He has been a professor at RTS since 1993. Dr. Cara was an engineer for seven years before the Lord re-directed him toward seminary. As a former college basketball player for Penn State-Capitol, he has developed a reputation as an energetic and challenging classroom teacher, and he is a personable scholar who is very student oriented.

In addition to the traditional New Testament topics, Dr. Cara’s academic interests include relating the New Testament to Reformed Theology, creeds, hermeneutics, Second Temple Judaism documents, and narrative criticism. In addition to numerous book reviews and articles, he has written a commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians and a book critiquing the New Perspective on Paul. Currently, Dr. Cara is working on a commentary for the book of Hebrews in the Mentor Commentary series.  Dr. Cara has several courses available on the RTS Mobile app, which can be listened to for free.

As an ordained minister in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, Dr. Cara has been very involved at both the presbytery and synod levels. He is a former vice-moderator of the denomination and for several years was the chairman of the denominational Inter-Church Relations Committee. He preaches regularly in the Charlotte area.


  • Hebrews: A Mentor Commentary. Ross-shire: Mentor, forthcoming.
  • “First and Second Thessalonians, Books of.” In Dictionary of the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Edited by Gregory K. Beale, D. A. Carson, Benjamin D. Gladd, and Andrew D. Naselli. Grand Rapids: Baker, forthcoming.
  • Book review of Jamie Davies’ The Apocalyptic Paul: Retrospect and Prospect. Eugene, OR: Cascade Library of Pauline Studies, 2022. RF&P: JRTS 7.2 (2022): 86–87. The Apocalyptic Paul: Retrospect and Prospect – Reformed Faith & Practice (
  • Book review of Lynn H. Cohick’s The Letter to the Ephesians. NICNT. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2020. WTJ 84 (2022): 301–4.
  • Book review of N. T. Wright’s Galatians. Commentaries for Christian Formation. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2021. WTJ 84 (2022): 126–29.
  • “Jewish Response to Greco-Roman Rule: Jewish Parties and Movements.” Tabletalk (February 2022): 7–9.
  • Book review of Gabriele Boccaccini’s Paul’s Three Paths to Salvation. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2020. WTJ 83 (2021): 401–4.
  • Book review of David R. Bauer’s The Book of Acts as Story: A Narrative-Critical Study. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2021. RF&P: JRTS 6:2 (2021): 43–45. The Book of Acts as Story: A Narrative-Critical Study – Reformed Faith & Practice (
  • Book review of William R. Osborne’s Divine Blessing and the Fullness of Life in the Presence of God. Short Studies in Biblical Theology. Wheaton: Crossway, 2020. RF&P: JRTS 6:1 (2021): 51–53. Divine Blessing and the Fullness of Life in the Presence of God | Reformed Faith & Practice (
  • “Justification of Ordained Office of Deacon Restricted to Qualified Males,” RF&P: JRTS 5:3 (2020): 20–39. Justification of Ordained Office of Deacon Restricted to Qualified Males | Reformed Faith & Practice (
  • Book review of Matthew J. Thomas’ Paul’s “Works of the Law” in the Perspective of Second-Century Reception. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2020. Credo Magazine 10:4 (November 2020). A “New Perspective” on Second Century Christianity? – Credo Magazine
  • “Covenant in Hebrews.” Pages 247–66 in An Introduction to Covenant Theology. Edited by Guy P. Waters. Wheaton: Crossway, 2020.
  • “The Person of Christ: John 17:1–8.”  Tabletalk (December 2020): 11–19.
  • Book review of Frank Thielman’s Romans. ZECNT 6. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2018. WTJ 82 (2020): 178–81.
  • Book review of Nijay K. Grupta’s 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Zondervan Critical Introductions to the New Testament 13. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2019. RF&P: JRTS 5:1 (2020): 69–71.
  • Justification and the New Perspective on Paul.” Concise Theology Series. The Gospel Coalition, (2020).
  • “Justification: Paul vs. James?” Tabletalk (November 2019): 72-75.
  • Book review of Craig A. Carter’s Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition: Recovering the Genius of Premodern Exegesis. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2018. RF&P: JRTS 4:2 (2019): 57-60.
  • “Setting the Record Straight: Second Temple Judaism and Works-Righteousness.” Pages 147-78 in The Doctrine of Which the Church Stands or Falls. Edited by Matthew Barrett. Wheaton: Crossway, 2019.
  • “The Messianic King: Psalm 2.” Tabletalk (December 2018): 16-17.
  • Book review of Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. 2d ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2017. RF&P: JRTS 3:2 (2018): 67-70.
  • “Jill Loves Me: Galatians 2:20b.” Devotional booklet produced by RTS. March 2018.
  • Book review of Andy Johnson’s 1 & 2 Thessalonians.  Two Horizons New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016. JETS 60 (2017): 874-77.
  • Book review of Brandon D. Crowe’s The Last Adam: A Theology of the Obedient Life of Jesus in the Gospels. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2017. RF&P: JRTS 2:3 (2017): 83-84.
  • “Psalms Applied to Both Christ and Christians: Psalms 8, 22, 34, 118 and Romans 15:3 // Psalm 69:9.” Pages 97-111 in Redeeming the Life of the Mind: Essays in Honor of Vern Poythress. Edited by Wayne Grudem, John Frame, John Hughes. Wheaton: Crossway, 2017.
  • “The Good Soil ‘Hears.'” The Associate Reformed Presbyterian (July/August 2017): 4-5.
  • Book review of Richard B. Hays’ Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels. Waco: Baylor University Press. RF&P:JRTS 2:1 (2017): 83-87.
  • Book review of Matthew Barrett’s God’s Word Alone: The Authority of Scripture: What the Reformers Taught…and Why It Still Matters. Five Solas. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016. RF&P:JRTS 2:1 (2017): 88-92.
  • Cracking the Foundation of the New Perspective on Paul: Covenantal Nomism versus Reformed Covenantal Theology. Reformed Exegetical Doctrinal Studies. Ross-shire: Mentor, 2017.
  • Book review of Craig G. Bartholomew’s Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics: A Comprehensive Framework for Hearing God in Scripture. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015. RF&P: JRTS 1:2 (2016): 99-103.
  • Book review of Jeffrey A. D. Weima’s 1-2 Thessalonians. BECNT. JETS 59 (2016): 641-44.
  • Book review of Richard N. Longenecker’s The Epistle to the Romans: A Commentary on the Greek Text. NIGNT. Reformation 21 (September 2016).
  • Book-review article of Charles Lee Irons’ The Righteousness of God: A Lexical Examination of the Covenant-Faithfulness Interpretation. WUNT II/386. RF&P: JRTS 1:1 (2016): 81-96. Online:
  • “Luke.” Pages 93-113 in Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized. Edited by Michael J. Kruger. Wheaton: Crossway, 2016.
  • “Acts.” Pages 137-68 in Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized. Edited by Michael J. Kruger. Wheaton: Crossway, 2016.
  • “First Thessalonians.” Pages 321-35 in Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized. Edited by Michael J. Kruger. Wheaton: Crossway, 2016.
  • “Second Thessalonians.” Pages 337-47 in Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized. Edited by Michael J. Kruger. Wheaton: Crossway, 2016.
  • “Old Testament in the New Testament: Trusting the New Testament’s Hermeneutics.” Pages 593-602 in Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized. Edited by Michael J. Kruger. Wheaton: Crossway, 2016.
  • “The Traveler’s Psalm.” Devotional booklet produced by RTS. March 2016.
  • Book review of Stephen Westerholm’s Justification Reconsidered: Rethinking a Pauline ThemeReformation 21 (January 2014). Online:
  • “Word-Study Fallacies: Words of Caution.” Tabletalk (January 2014): 12-15.
  • Book review of David E. Garland’s Luke. ZECNT 3. JETS 55 (2012): 857-60.
  • “The Manger and the Christmas Play.” Ministry & Leadership(Winter 2012): 4-5.
  • “Reformed Theological Seminary: Compliance Certification to SACS-COC.” September 2011. Co-authored with Pauline M. Stone.
  • “Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church: History of Psalm Singing.” Pages vii-x in The ARP Psalter with Bible Songs. Pittsburgh: Crown & Covenant, 2011. Co-authored with C. Earl Linderman.
  • “The Word Powerful in the Training of Ministers.” The Associate Reformed Presbyterian (Jan/Feb 2010): 4-5.
  • A Study Commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians. EP Study Commentary. Webster, NY: Evangelical Press, 2009.
  • “Redemptive-Historical Themes in the Westminster Larger Catechism.” Pages 55-76 in The Westminster Confession of Faith in the 21st Century. Vol. 3. Edited by Ligon Duncan. Fearn, Ross-shire: Christian Focus, Mentor, 2009.
  • “The Witness of John.” Tabletalk 33, no. 2 (February 2009): 18-21.
  • Book review of Dwayne H. Adams’ The Sinner in Luke. The Evangelical Theological Society Monograph Series. JETS 51 (2008): 845-47.
  • Book review of Chris VanLandingham’s Judgment & Justification in Early Judaism and the Apostle PaulWTJ 70(2008): 388-92.
  •  “I Will Build My Church: Through Biblical Leadership.” The Associate Reformed Presbyterian (June  2007): 4-5.
  • Book Review of Jaroslav Pelikan’s Acts: Brazos Theological Commentary of the BibleReformation 21 (May 2006). Online: http//www.reformation21.jorg/Shelf_Live/Shelf_Live/181/?vobId=2934&pm=434http//www.reformation21.jorg/Shelf_Live/Shelf_Live/181/?vobId=2934&pm=434
  • Book Review of I. Howard Marshall’s New Testament Theology: Many Witnesses, One Gospel.  Reformation 21 (January 2006). Online: http//www.reformation21.jorg/Shelf_Live/Shelf_Live/148/?vobId=2030&pm=338http//www.reformation21.jorg/Shelf_Live/Shelf_Live/148/?vobId=2030&pm=338
  • Book Review of Colin R. Nicholl’s From Hope to Despair in Thessalonica: Situating 1 and 2 ThessaloniansThemelios 30 (2005): 93.
  • Book Review of Greg Beale’s 1-2 Thessalonians, IVPNTC. JETS 48 (2005): 394-96.
  • “Worshiping All Aspects of God, Part 1 and 2.” The Associate Reformed Presbyterian (April-May, 2005): 5, 7; 4, 22.
  • Book Review of John McRay’s Paul: His Life and TeachingThemelios 30 (2004): 62-63.
  • Book Review of Gene L. Green’s The Letters to the Thessalonians. PNTC. JETS 46 (2003): 561-62.
  • “Should Christians Please Men? Yes & No.” The Reformed Quarterly (Fall 2002): 18-19.
  • “NAPARC: ARP Self-Description.” Minutes of General Synod of the Associate Presbyterian Reformed Church: 2001. 23-25. Co-authored with John Dawson and Jack Whytock.
  • “The Ambiguous Characterization of Barnabas in Acts 15:36-41.” Ph.D. diss., Westminster Theological Seminary, 2001.
  • “Praying before Meals: The Reason and the Advantages.” The Southern Charity Ledger (Spring 1999): 28-29.
  • “Implicit and Explicit Messages.” Faith and Practice 2 (1996): 15-21.
  • “Descended into Hell.” First Presbytery ARP Minutes. March 12, 1996.
  • “In Acts: Baptism Signifies Ministry Gifts.” Faith and Practice 1 (1996): 27-32.
  • “Communion With God: Our Patterns For Prayer.” The Associate Reformed Presbyterian (January 1996): 6-7.
  • “What? Imitate Me?” RTS Ministry (Spring 1995): 12-13, 18.
  • “Did You Not Vow to Help the Youth?” The Associate Reformed Presbyterian(April 1995): 6-7.
  • “Luke Bible Study.” 13 Lessons. Christian Observer. November 25, 1988- February 17, 1989.


  • “Amen.” First Reformed PCA (Penn Hills, PA) Reformation Conference. October 2019.
  • “Justification by Faith.” Faith PCA (Morganton, NC) Conference. October 2017.
  • “Good Soils ‘Hear.'” ARP Synod. June 2017.
  • “Exhortations from Hebrews.” Trinity PCA (Van Wyck, SC) Spiritual Life Conference. September 2016.
  • Psalm 133: Christian Unity and Non-Christian Neighbors.” RTS Houston Graduation. May 2016.
  • “Happy House: Happy Spouse.” First Presbyterian Church (ARP) Columbia, Marriage Retreat. February 2014.
  • “Man: Image of God.” ARP Catawba Presbytery Adult Retreat. May 2013.
  • “Hebrews: Old Meets New.” Thornwell Lecture Series, First Presbyterian Church (ARP)  Columbia. July 2012.
  • “Epithets Have Emphases: Philemon 1-2—Hugh and Sallie Reaves Chair Lecture.” August 2010.
  • “Synopsis of Paul’s Thought.” ARP Family Bible Conference. July 2008.
  • “Amazing Insights of WLC 151.” Pre-conference of the General Assembly of the PCA. June 2006.
  • “Worshipping God as Creator: Practical Implications.” Spiritual Life Conference of Florida Presbytery, ARP. September 2005.
  • “The ‘Means of Grace’: Nuances of the Westminster Standards and Implications for Pastoral Theology.” Pre-conference of the General Assembly of the PCA. June 2005.
  • “Book of James.” Spiritual Life Conference of First Presbytery, ARP. August 2004.
  • “Magnificent English Bibles: A History and Explanation.” Thornwell Lectures at First Presbyterian Church, Columbia. September 2003.
  • “What is the Reformed Faith?” Seniors Conference of First Presbytery ARP. March 2003.
  • “First Peter: Theological Emphases.” Spiritual Life Conference of First Presbytery, ARP. September 2002.
  • “New Perspective: Sanders, Dunn, and Wright.” Reformed University Fellowship—Ministers’ Retreat. November 2001.
  • “Psalms: Learning and Singing.” Reformed University Fellowship—Texas schools. May 1999.
  • “Holy Spirit.” Conference at Cleveland St. ARP Church. July 1995.