1Marks Interview Series

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At this year’s very enjoyable BJU Seminary retreat at the Wilds, Dr. Robert Bell kindly agreed to sit for the first interview in what I hope to make a series, the 1Marks Interview Series. (While other ministries can afford to hire multiple Marks, βλογάπη has only one, and he actually pays to work here.)

I apologize for the somewhat low audio quality; I made the mistake of adjusting the laptop (on loan from Grace & Knowledge) on two or three occasions, and loud, unpleasant sounds on the recording were the result! I have since purchased a nicer microphone to help with other work I do, so future sessions should be greatly improved!

Here are some of the questions I asked Dr. Bell:

  • How far along are you in your OTT? What does your beard have to do with it?
  • How would you summarize your approach to biblical theology, especially as it relates to systematic theology?
  • Whose approach has been most influential for you in this area?
  • What do you think of Bruce Waltke’s OTT?
  • Do you think fundamentalism needs more scholars?
  • Do you think Bible software has overall increased your productivity or decreased it?
  • I recently read David Gordon’s Why Johnny Can’t Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers.* His thesis is that media have shaped incoming seminary students by vastly decreasing their ability to interpret texts. Have you personally noticed such a decrease over your decades teaching?

*The questions I asked Dr. Bell actually contained no hyperlinks.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

6 thoughts on “1Marks Interview Series”

  1. Hey, Mark, thanks for that. Dr. Bell was my absolute favorite in grad school, among many very good teachers. I had him for one semester of Hebrew, at least one of Systematic, and OTI. I can’t remember if I had him for any other classes, but I loved every class I had with him.

    I really appreciate his take on ‘scholarship.’

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  2. Its been a long time since I have heard Dr. Bell’s voice (I guess at least 20 years). He is an interesting character. The first class I took in grad school was OT Intro. in the summer of 81. I had no idea that it was one of the more difficult classes before I signed up. Having all of that work condensed into a 4 week session was a nightmare. Everything was downhill after that. On technology, I remember discussing the relative merits of a PC vs. a Mac with him in the early 80’s. I bragged that my machine had a 10 meg hard drive. He said he had a 5 meg external drive and he couldn’t imagine ever filling it up.

  3. Ken, I also took OTI in the summer, was I in your class? I might have had it in 81 or maybe it was 82. I had already had at least a year and a half of grad school by that point and really enjoyed it. But I was in the swing of things by that point, not starting out!

    I also had a semester of Systematic with Dr Bell in the summer the same year.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  4. Don,

    You may have been in the class. I was new to the school and did not know anyone. I finished by undergrad in 1981 at another school and moved to Greenville in the middle of May. Originally I was not going to take summer classes but due to some influx of money, I decided to go ahead and get started. I signed up for two classes in the first summer term–OTI and NT Theology with Dr. Custer. I was overwhelmed and thought perhaps I was not cut out for grad school. However, I made it and in 86 I earned by Ph.D. there. Dr. Bell and the OT faculty were definitely more demanding and their courses usually required more work. I can’t believe Dr. Bell is only 68. He seemed old when I was there. Maybe it was the bald head 🙂

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