Meet Walter Elwell

Although his education and background are rooted in technical theology and New Testament studies, Walter Elwell makes a concerted effort to focus on "popular theology." By that, he means breaking the traditional mold of scholars writing just for scholars. Walter wants to make the results of technical research available to average laypeople, combining rigorous scholarship, readable style, and pedagogical soundness to meet a desperate need in today’s church.

In the introduction to the Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, he points out that "In these increasingly post-Christian and post-modern days there is a virtual illiteracy not only about the historical or factual content of the Bible but also about what the Bible teaches theologically." And in the preface to the Encountering the New Testament Package, he explains that "The strength of the church and the vitality of the individual Christian’s life are directly related to the role Scripture plays in them. Early believers knew the importance of this and spent their time in fellowship, prayer, and the study of God’s Word. The passing of two thousand years has not changed the need, but it has changed the accessibility of many of the Bible’s ideas. Time has distanced us from those days, and we often need guidance back into the world of the Old and New Testaments."

Born April 29, 1937, in Miami, Florida, to Walter and Marta Elwell, this noted writer and editor went on to earn a B.A. (magna cum laude) and M.A. (cum laude) from Wheaton College. He then attended the University of Chicago and University of Tubingen before earning his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh. He’s been an instructor in Greek at North Park College in Chicago, Illinois, and a professor of Bible at Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi; and currently serves as professor of biblical studies and dean of the graduate school at his alma mater, Wheaton College. He’s also a consultant to both the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association and the Evangelical Book Club, and a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, Institute for Biblical Research, Evangelical Theological Society, Midwest Association of Graduate Deans, and Chicago Society of Biblical Research.

Elwell’s strong writing and editing skills have produced such significant reference works as Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Encountering the New Testament, Readings from the First-Century World, Topical Analysis of the Bible, Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, The Concise Dictionary of the Christian Tradition, Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, and Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible.

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