Gordon Price as soon as informed his college students on the primary day of a New Testomony class at Wheaton Faculty that they might—sometime—come throughout a headline saying “Gordon Price Is Useless.”
“Don’t imagine it!” he said, standing atop a desk. “He’s singing along with his Lord and his king.”
Then, as a substitute of handing out the syllabus like a standard professor, he led the category in Charles Wesley’s hymn, “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing.”
Price, a extensively influential New Testomony trainer who believed that studying the Bible, educating the Bible, and decoding the Bible ought to carry individuals into an encounter with a dwelling God, described himself as a “scholar on hearth.” He died on Tuesday on the age of 88—though, as those that encountered him within the classroom or in his many books know, that’s not how he would have described it.
Price co-wrote How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth with Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary colleague Douglas Stuart within the early Eighties. The guide is now in its fourth version and has offered round 1 million copies, turning into for a lot of the usual textual content on one of the simplest ways to strategy Scripture. Price additionally wrote a extensively used handbook on biblical interpretation, a number of well-regarded commentaries on New Testomony epistles, and groundbreaking educational analysis on the place of the Holy Spirit within the life and work of the Apostle Paul.
“If you happen to had requested Paul to outline what a Christian is,” Price as soon as told CT, “he wouldn’t have stated, ‘A Christian is an individual who believes X and Y doctrines about Christ,’ however ‘A Christian is an individual who walks within the Spirit, who is aware of Christ.’”
In the identical manner, Price argued that finding out the shape, historical past, and context of Scripture is worth it as a result of it isn’t “mere historical past.” Finished appropriately, biblical interpretation is a contact of lightening.
“We carry our exegesis to fruition after we ourselves sit with unspeakable surprise within the presence of God,” he wrote. “We should hear the phrases with our hearts, we should indulge in God’s personal glory, we have to be moved to a way of overwhelming awe at God’s riches in glory, we should assume once more on the unimaginable surprise that these riches are ours in Christ Jesus, and we should then worship the dwelling God by singing praises to His glory.”
As information of his demise unfold on social media, ministers and seminary professors from throughout the evangelical spectrum shared which of Price’s books meant essentially the most to them. Western Seminary New Testomony professor Wesley Hill said God’s Empowering Presence was one of the vital influential texts he had learn. Greg Salazar, a Presbyterian Church in American pastor, wrote that he’s utilizing Price’s commentary on Philippians for a sermon sequence. Peter Englert, a minister at a nondenominational church in New York, praised Price’s commentary on 1 Corinthians.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary professor Denny Burk, who disagreed sharply with Price on the problem of girls in ministry, said Price was “one of the vital influential New Testomony students who has ever lived.”
Price was not a family title for many evangelical churchgoers, however which will solely underscore the importance of his contribution.
“None of my church members might inform you who Gordon Price is,” wrote Griffin Gulledge, pastor of Madison Baptist Church in Madison, Georgia. “However each one in all them has benefitted from his work. I guess that’s true in tens of hundreds of church buildings.”
Dealing with Scripture with care
Price was born to Donald and Gracy Jacobson Price in Ashland, Oregon, on Might 23, 1934.
His father Donald was a talented carpenter and an expository preacher within the Assemblies of God. Price grew up noting the distinction between his father’s cautious sermons, unpacking the that means of the Bible, and a number of the extra wild and free-form approaches taken by different Assemblies of God ministers.
Many Pentecostals appeared to assume that planning and examine would inhibit the Holy Spirit, Price later stated. They might seize one phrase of Scripture after which converse off the highest of their heads, trusting God might information their phrases in the event that they have been versatile and spontaneous. Some wouldn’t even select their sermon textual content forward of time, flipping open the Bible and asking God to steer them within the second.
The outcomes didn’t all the time testify to the ability of the Holy Spirit.
Price’s father, then again, believed God honored preparation and the Scripture, similar to a effective piece of wooden, ought to be handled with talent and care.
“My father was the primary scholar I had ever met,” Price wrote, “though in these early years I didn’t acknowledge it. Nonetheless, his ardour for reality and willpower to dig down deep into the Scriptures … rubbed off on me.”
Price determined to observe his father into ministry. He went to Seattle Pacific Faculty (now College), the place he met and married Maudine Lofdhal, who was additionally the kid of an Assemblies of God pastor. After graduating with a masters, Price took a pastorate within the rising suburbs south of the Seattle-Tacoma airport and, to make ends meet, additionally began educating English at Northwest Faculty (now College), the Assemblies of God-affiliated faculty in Kirkland, Washington.
Price found he cherished educating. He cherished it a lot, he stated, that it made his enamel ache.
He struggled for a number of years with a battle between a calling to ministry—he and Maudine mentioned turning into missionaries to Japan—and a calling to academia. The turning level got here, Price later recalled, when a colleague stated, “Gordon, simply since you wish to do it doesn’t imply God is towards it.”
Price realized that “after all this too might be a calling of kinds.” He determined to go to the College of Southern California to pursue a doctorate in New Testomony research, specializing in textual criticism. He wrote his dissertation on Papyrus 66, an almost full copy of the Gospel of John that’s believed to be one of many oldest surviving New Testomony manuscripts.
At the same time as he launched into an instructional profession, although, he felt some stress between his identification as an instructional and a Pentecostal. He bought a educating place at Wheaton Faculty, and located he was the primary Pentecostal that a lot of his colleagues had ever met—and positively the primary who had a doctorate in biblical research.
Affect on the NIV
His fellow Pentecostals within the Assemblies of God, in the meantime, didn’t all the time have a good time his success in academia. He as soon as informed an older man about his educational analysis solely to obtain a warning in regards to the religious risks of scholarship.
“Higher a idiot on hearth,” the person stated, “than a scholar on ice.”
As he prayed about it, although, Price realized that was a false alternative. He might be “a scholar on hearth.”
He taught at Wheaton for 5 years after which took a place at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He was there for greater than a decade earlier than transferring to Regent Faculty in Vancouver, British Columbia, the place he taught New Testomony till he retired.
Price wrote educational and widespread commentaries on 1 and a pair of Corinthians, 1 and a pair of Timothy, 1 and a pair of Thessalonians, Philippians, and Revelation. He wrote in-depth research on the Apostle Paul’s Christology and pneumatology. He edited the influential New Worldwide Commentary sequence and in addition labored with the Committee on Bible Translation, the workforce of students liable for the New Worldwide Model of the Bible, for greater than 30 years. In response to Wheaton biblical research chair Douglas Moo, NIV readers “encounter his translation options on virtually each web page.”
Price’s most important contribution, nonetheless, could have come out of educating Sunday faculty. He discovered that many grownup Christians, a few of whom had spent their complete lives in church, didn’t know how one can learn the Bible. They understood chapters and verses, and will have even memorized some passages, however usually didn’t perceive important variations between completely different elements of Scripture.
“What’s the distinction between a brief story and a poem?” Price asked. “You don’t learn a poem the way in which you learn a brief story, or a brief story the way in which you learn a poem…. Why anybody would ever wish to degree that out as if it didn’t make any distinction…. It makes all of the distinction on the planet! God selected to do it this manner. This isn’t Gordon’s discovery. God did this.”
He and Previous Testomony professor Douglas Stuart printed The way to Learn the Bible for All Its Value in 1981. Price, barely exaggerating, stated his editor at Zondervan despatched it to each Bible trainer in North America. “I don’t know what number of tons of of copies he despatched,” he stated, “however inside a 12 months the gross sales went off the charts.” The fourth version was printed in 2014.
Presents of the Spirit
Price’s place as a number one Pentecostal Bible scholar at distinguished evangelical establishments meant he was often embroiled in theological controversies. Within the Nineteen Seventies and ’80s, he was drawn right into a Pentecostal argument over whether or not talking in tongues was the “preliminary proof” of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Some accused him of “throwing out” the founding doctrine of Pentecostalism.
“I don’t throw out preliminary proof,” he stated. “I throw out the language, as a result of it isn’t biblical, and subsequently irrelevant.”
Price additionally supported ladies in ministry, primarily based on his studying of the New Testomony. He supported the Council for Biblical Equality and was a contributing editor to the collected quantity, Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity with out Hierarchy, writing commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:2-6 and Galatians 3:26-29.
Price additionally wrote in regards to the function of the Holy Spirit within the New Testomony church: “The New Testomony proof is that the Holy Spirit is gender inclusive, gifting each women and men, and thus doubtlessly setting the entire physique free for all of the elements to minister and in varied methods to present management to the others. Thus my difficulty ultimately is just not a feminist agenda—an advocacy of girls in ministry. Reasonably, it’s a Spirit agenda.”
That place introduced him extra criticism than the rest he wrote. Price stated he was “blacklisted” in some evangelical circles.
“I’ve put up with a whole lot of balderdash,” he toldCharisma journal. “I simply can’t recover from that some individuals assume gender comes earlier than gifting.”
Price largely tried to keep away from controversies, although, specializing in his lessons and educating individuals to learn the Bible so it modified them.
“Gordon’s rigorous lessons have been much more singularly recognized for his or her encounters along with his Lord,” stated Regent New Testomony professor Rikk Watts. “He taught hundreds of scholars world wide that one might be a ‘scholar on hearth.’”
Price died at house in New York. He was predeceased by his spouse in 2014. He’s survived by his kids Mark, Cherith Nordling, Brian, and Craig. Memorials are being deliberate for New York and Vancouver.