Professor of New Testament, Emeritus
On Faculty from 1980 to 2002
John McRay completed his Ph.D. in New Testament at the University of Chicago in 1967 and went on to teach at Middle Tennessee State University, David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University), and Harding Graduate School. He joined Wheaton’s faculty in 1980 and became one of the earliest New Testament scholars who introduced countless Wheaton students to the importance of historical context in every exegetical effort.
The basis of John’s commitment to context came from his intimate knowledge of the Holy Land. He was an expert in the languages, cultures, geography, and history of Israel-Palestine and brought these to Wheaton’s curriculum. As one of Wheaton’s first New Testament archaeologists, he supervised excavating teams in Caesarea, Sepphoris, and Herodium. In 2006 he co-authored with his colleague Al Hoerth The Bible Archaeology: An Exploration of the History and Culture of Early Civilizations and he published is own thorough study titled Archaeology and the New Testament in 2008. John was also known for his work in Pauline studies and this led to the publication of his comprehensive text, Paul: His Life and Teaching in 2007.
Above all John’s legacy has been the passion with which he taught the Bible. He not only taught students how to interpret the Bible with skill, but he instilled in them his infectious enthusiasm for the scriptures. He found great joy in introducing students to the lands of the Bible and the contemporary realities faced by the peoples of Israel and Palestine.
Today John lives with his wife Annette in Nashville, Tennessee. He has three children: Rob, David, and Barrett who is now on Wheaton’s faculty. He also has eight grand children and two great-grandchildren.