Institute for Biblical Research 1973-1993 Prologue and Prospects -- By: E. Earle Ellis

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 04:1 (NA 1994)
Article: Institute for Biblical Research 1973-1993 Prologue and Prospects
Author: E. Earle Ellis


Institute for Biblical Research 1973-1993 Prologue and Prospects

E. Earle Ellis

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

An address at the twentieth anniversary meeting of IBR at Washington D.C., 19 November 1993.

Tyndale House, Cambridge, is the seedbed out of which the Institute for Biblical Research was born. It crossed my path first, I believe, in the Christmas vacation of 1953 when I was a doctoral student at Edinburgh. It was then about nine years old, had a library of 1,500 or so books of mixed vintage and was being used during that holiday period by the warden, Andrew Walls, and his family and by one lone American doctoral student. After I finished my studies and returned to the States, it continued to be a summer resort for me, both for the New Testament Study Group, for its gradually growing library, and for the nearby University library.

In the late sixties I was impressed with the idea of a Tyndale House for evangelical scholars in the United States but dismissed it as an impractical dream. When the gentle urgings continued, I at length recognized them to be from the Holy Spirit and proceeded for a year or more to resist the idea in my prayers. “Lord, you’ve already given me a ministry of teaching. Lord, it’s really not practical, and anyway I would not know how to go about such a project.” Finally, I prayed, “All right, Lord, I’ll call together some colleagues, and we will talk about it.”

A letter to colleagues (see Appendix), which initiated our Institute, expressed the hope

that a residential library for biblical research can be established . . . in the United States . . . as a center for research and conferences, and as a catalyst to encourage students toward a ministry of biblical scholarship. It would be organized along evangelical confessional lines and work in cooperation with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship but . . . be governed by its own board.

In response, on 26 October 1970 some ten of us discussed the matter over lunch in a small cafe during the SBL meeting in New York City and established “The Tyndale Committee” to implement these goals. Two of the participants had young daughters who are now Fellows of the Institute, Marianne Meye Thompson and Judith Gundry Volt reminding us of how far we have come since that day.

Several colleagues rightly pointed out that to build a library one needed a permanent organization. After meeting annually for three years as The Tyndale Committee, and encouraged by British Tyndale Fellowship members at an international meeting in Los Angeles, the Committee asked me to write a constitution, which was adopted at Chicago in 197...

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