Maybe it's being stuck at home with a really unbelievably heavy cold, maybe it is because Bob seems to be officiating at the local Crem. an awful lot lately, but this blog does seem to have taken on a somewhat funereal tone! I promise I will be brighter next week.
Prof Donald Wiseman, the gifted biblical scholar, and influence on countless generations of theological students and preachers has just died at the age of 92. I have had the IVP New Bible Dictionary on my bookshelf since the early 70s - and I couldn't begin to count all the books on our shelves now to which this intelligent man contributed in some way.
He was editor for the superb Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, and the inspiration for much of the work published by IVP.
I should have loved to have met him in person, he was, by all accounts, utterly fascinating. Having studied Hebrew and Assyriology, he did archaeological work with his friend Max Mallowan [husband of Agatha Christie] Pictured below [DW on left next to AC]
He had a distinguished War Record, a Wing Commander in the RAF, he was awarded the USA Bronze Star, and involved in secret work for Churchill involving Enigma.
But above all, his burning desire was to make Jesus known, and help others understand the Scriptures better.
I am reminded of the passage in Acts 8...
Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked. "How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. [He]was reading this passage of Scripture:
"He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth." The man asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?" Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus...
Donald Wiseman was a man like Philip.