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Wilder finishes work of renowned New Testament scholar

Dr. Terry Wilder

By Emily Roberts, student news writer, Office of University Communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – For many years, a world-renowned New Testament scholar had worked on a commentary on 1 Corinthians.

However, before he could complete that commentary, E. Earle Ellis died in 2010 at the age of 83.

Dr. Terry Wilder, professor of New Testament and Greek at Campbellsville University, would instead step in to finish what Ellis started, recently having a book titled, “1 Corinthians: A Commentary,” published.

According to a synopsis of the book, “Because Ellis was unable to complete the volume before his passing and had left instructions that it should not be completed, Terry Wilder instead presents Ellis’ profound exegetical insights in the form of his completed commentary sections on 1 Corinthians, with minimal editorial intervention.”

Wilder took it upon himself to complete Ellis’ commentary on 1 Corinthians because he felt it was important to the people in Ellis’s life as well as around the world.

“Because Ellis’ work on 1 Corinthians was greatly anticipated by many people during his life and became even more so after his death, the Evangelical Foundation for Biblical Research, for which I serve as a board member, wanted to bring some closure to the commentary and sought to get it published,” Wilder said.

Wilder felt his work on the commentary of 1 Corinthians was beneficial to people today, due to the greatly anticipated publication of Ellis’ work.

When it comes to the message Wilder wanted to convey with the publication of Ellis’ work, he said, “I want readers to have access to the work of one of the world’s best New Testament scholars as he sought to be faithful to the meaning of the biblical text.”

Wilder noted Ellis was respected not only by evangelical scholars but also by those who did not share his theological views.

Wilder put together an epilogue that included his thoughts on any notes Ellis left regarding his unfinished chapters.

According to Wilder, if the commentary had never been published, few, if any, would have seen and known Ellis’ insight into the message of 1 Corinthians.

Wilder mentioned in his own books, he tries to push current research forward.

“Finishing Ellis’ commentary on his behalf has made me acutely aware of the brevity of life,” Wilder stated. “Here was a well-known scholar who had every intention of finishing his 1 Corinthians commentary but was unable to do so before his life ended.”

Wilder stated Ellis’ work merits publication because he was an “evangelical New Testament scholar of international renown.”

Wilder also mentioned the work of Ellis’ commentary has challenged the views he holds about 1 Corinthians.

“Ultimately, the biblical text dictates our faith and practice,” Wilder said. “So, when interpreting the text, if the evidence for its meaning supports another view rather than the one that we hold, then we need to be willing to change our view.”

Wilder’s book is available for purchase on Amazon.

Wilder has taught at Campbellsville University since 2019. Wilder taught New Testament and Greek at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, served for three years as academic acquisitions editor for B&H Publishing Group in Nashville, Tenn., and taught New Testament and Greek at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.

He and his wife, Denise, student accounts receptionist at Campbellsville University, have two sons: Ian and Aaron.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university that offers over 100 programs of study including doctoral, masters, bachelors, associate and certification programs. The website for complete information is