Reta Finger

Reta Finger

Office Phone: (540) 432-4276

Cell Phone: (540) 746-1900


Main Campus, Harrisonburg

Office Location: SB 231

Adjunct Faculty

Bible & Religion Dept

Reta Halteman Finger taught Bible at Messiah College from 1995 to 2009. After previous careers teaching elementary school, working in college student services, co-raising two sons, and editing Daughters of Sarah, a Christian feminist magazine, Reta never lost her passion to understand the biblical writings. This was especially true during her years of writing, editing, and wrestling with what Jesus’ gospel means for women and men today.

Reta focused her research on the letters of the apostle Paul, although she’s taught and enjoyed every document in the New Testament (and many in the Hebrew Bible). She is especially captivated by the literary skill of the biblical writers, and has a thirst to understand the cultural and political environments from which they emerged. The early Christians lived in the shadow of the world’s greatest superpower then, just as we do today.

Besides enjoying learning to know students, she swims three miles a week, hikes, reads, and visits her three wonderful bi-racial grandchildren in Wisconsin every Fall, Spring, Christmas, and summer break!


Ph. D. New Testament. Joint Program of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, 1997
M.T.S. in Biblical Studies (New Testament), Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, IL, 1989.
M.A.T.S. in Biblical Studies (New Testament), Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Lombard, IL, 1987.
M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling, Boston University, Boston, MA, 1967.
B.S. in Elementary Education, Eastern Mennonite College, Harrisonburg, VA, 1962.


  • 2012-2016 Eleven Bible study articles in Sojourners magazine:
    #1. Not a Needy Person among Them: Acts 2-6. March 2016
    #2. Jonah at Sea: The prophet who got everything wrong. July 2015
    #3. Testing Jesus: A Foreign Woman Creates as Scene in Tyre. June 2015
    #4. Living the Word lectionary readings. December 2014; January, February 2015
    #5. "What is to Prevent Me from Being Baptized? A Bible study about a trans-gender eunuch. April 2014.
    #6. Can Paul Be Redeemed? February 2014
    #7. A River Runs through It: Water in the New Testament. November 2013
    #8. Jesus and the Top-Secret Empire: in Matthew’s Gospel. August 2013
    #9. Mother Jesus: Jesus’ Roles in the Gospel of John. June 2013
    #10. To Comfort the Afflicted: First Peter’s Message to Immigrants. March 2013
    #11. Occupy Corinth: Paul’s Letter to the 1%. June 2012
  • 2013 Creating a Scene in Corinth: A Simulation, with George D. McClain. MennoMedia.
  • 2010 “Matthew’s Post-War Lament: “We Made the Wrong Choice.” In Peace Be With You: Christ’s Benediction Amid Violent Empires, Sharon L. Baker and Michael Hardin (eds.). Telford, Pa.: Cascadia Publishing House, 243-262.
  • 2007 Roman House Churches for Today: A Practical Guide for Small Groups. 2nd edition. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.
  • 2007 Of Widows and Meals: Communal Meals in the Book of Acts. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.
  • 2001The Wisdom of Daughters of Sarah: Two Decades of the Voice of Christian Feminism. Coedited with Kari Sandhaas. Philadelphia, Pa.:Innisfree Press.
  • 1993 Paul and the Roman House Churches: A Simulation. Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press. Textbook and curriculum on Romans, using simulation of house church groups in Rome.

Church, Community and Professional Service

Sunday school teacher
Volunteer at Skyline literacy
Member of Valley Justice Coalition (incarceration issues)