Wilbur M. Smith, D.D. Legacy Professor
Dr. Wilbur Smith is the former Professor of Biblical Studies for Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His initial biblical training was through a two-year program at the Moody Bible Institute. He received his B.A. from Wooster College and a D.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary (formerly Evangelical Theological College). He also received an honorary doctorate (Litt.D.) from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 1971.
Born at the end of the 19th century, Dr. Wilbur Smith was one of the most important biblical scholars of the 20th century. Raised in Chicago, Illinois, his exemplary teaching career included stints at three of the finest Christian institutions in the world. Following two decades of pastoral ministry, Dr. Smith’s career as a professor began at his alma matter, the Moody Bible Institute (1938–1947). He then resigned to join Charles Fuller and Harold Ockenga in founding Fuller Theological Seminary. As a full-time professor at Fuller, Dr. Smith taught various Bible and theology classes, mentored future preachers, and performed various administrative duties for 17 years (1947–1963). In 1963, his teaching career commenced at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he was Professor of English Bible until the early 1970s. Internationally, Dr. Smith was very active writing on and preaching in the United Kingdom on numerous occasions.
While often recognized for his academic accolades, Dr. Smith was a gifted preacher and passionate shepherd. Ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1922, he led congregations in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania in addition to serving various churches in California, Illinois, and Texas. Dr. Smith was passionate for the lost and a proponent of high scholarship, yet he possessed a keen ability to explain complex ideas in terms that everyone could grasp. He was an active member of several organizations including The American Society of Biblical Instructors, The Society of Bible Literacy and Exegesis, The Victorian Institute in London, England, and The Association of the American Schools of Oriental Research. For more than 40 years, he was the editor of the annual Sunday School volume Peloubet’s Select Notes on the International Bible Lessons for Christian Teaching, a collection of the most treasured thoughts and teachings of top-notch Bible scholars. Theologically astute, Dr. Smith was also a renowned bibliophile accumulating one of the largest and finest personal Christian libraries in the world.
A prolific writer of more than 60 volumes on various theological themes, Dr. Smith was a regular contributor to Bibliotheca Sacra, Moody Monthly, and the Sunday School Times. Among his publications are the books A Voice from God, A Watchman on the Wall, Egypt in Biblical Prophecy, and The Supernaturalness of Christ. His most enduring contribution remains Therefore Stand, a work on Christian apologetics that helped to spark an international revival of evangelical scholarship. The title Evangelical Roots: A Tribute to Wilbur Smith, edited by Dr. Kenneth Kantzer, was dedicated to Dr. Smith.