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Dr. Matthew Arbo

Assistant Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies


Dr. Matthew Arbo joined the Hobbs College faculty as the Jewell and Joe L. Huitt Assistant Professor of Theological Studies in 2014. Prior to his arrival at OBU, Arbo served for three years as Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri.

Arbo is the author of Political Vanity: Adam Ferguson on the Moral Tensions of Early Capitalism (Fortress Press, 2014). In addition to this monograph, his essays and articles on wide-ranging subjects appear in several edited volumes and top-tier journals, including Political Theology, Studies in Christian Ethics, and the Evangelical Review of Society and Politics. Arbo is likewise and active participant in the scholarly community, contributing as an invited conference panelist or presenter at Princeton University, University of Notre Dame, and Tyndale House (Cambridge), among others.

Arbo's main interests are in the history of moral and political theology. He is currently working on a project exploring the theological backdrop to early modern consitutionalism and on an independent study examining the history of natural rights. He also maintains interest in the ethics of political economy.

Arbo's wife, Ashli, is an attorney, and they have one son, Henry, with a second on the way.


  • Ph.D., University of Edinburgh
    Dissertation: Antinomies of a Commercial Age: Adam Ferguson on the Moral and Political Tensions of Early Capitalism
  • M.Th., University of Edinburgh
  • M.A., Liberty University
  • B.A., Liberty University

Courses Taught

  • REL 3073: Biblical Ethics
  • PHIL 1043: Introduction to Philosophy
  • PHIL 3533: Moral Philosophy
  • PHIL 2363: Philosophy of Religion


  • Society of Christian Ethics
  • American Academy of Religion
  • Evangelical Theological Society

Selected Publications


Political Vanity. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014. ISBN 9781451482751.


On the Idea of Commerce as a Natural Means of Human Improvement: Adam Smith’s Theory of Progress,” in Bringing Theology and Economics Together: a Christian Vision of the Common Good, Jeremy Kidwell and Sean Doherty, eds. (Palgrave, 2014).

Theodicy and Commerce,” Studies in Christian Ethics. Vol. 27.2, May 2014.

More than Fairness: The Shape of Justice in the New Testament,” Justice as Unfairness: John Rawls and Christian Social Engagement. Anthony Bradley and Greg Forester, eds.. New York: Lexington Books, 2014 (forthcoming).

Recovering Political Apologies,” Midwestern Journal of Theology. Vol. 11, No. 1 (2012), pp.103-114. “Blessed Insurance: How can Healthcare be Healed?” Coffee Table Conversations: Perspectives on Current Issues. Edited by Russell L. Meek and N. Blake Hearson. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2013).

Adam Ferguson’s Sermon on Ersh Language: A Word from 2 Samuel on Martial Responsibility and Political Order,” Political Theology. Vol. 12, No. 6 (2011), pp.870-893.

Mourning” and “Snare,” separate entries in The Dictionary of the Bible and Western Culture. Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2012.

The Meaning of ‘Universal Benevolence,” Evangelical Review of Society and Politics. Vol. 4, No. 1 (2010), pp.26-44.