“I am a Christian Hebraist who has studied the Tanach for nearly fifty years,” was the way “Bernie” Northrup described himself in 2001. “I have taught it in the Hebrew, Aramaic, and in the English languages to many young men who were preparing to serve the Eternal. In the nearly fifty-five years that I have walked with Him, I have found that He always is faithful to His Word.”
Bernard E. Northrup, a former professor at Baptist Bible College, Clarks Summit, Penn., and a translation adviser for Bibles International, died on April 16. Gifted in understanding and teaching Old Testament languages, he had wide-ranging interests that included Biblical creationism, geology, and even the fabled “Bigfoot” who was thought to lurk northern California forests.
Saved through the testimony of his sweetheart, Nita, who later became his wife, he was a 1950 graduate of Westmont College, later earning ThM and ThD degrees in Old Testament and Semitic Languages from Dallas Theological Seminary. Dr. Northrup taught on the faculties of Dallas Bible College (1953–1959) and San Francisco Baptist Theological Seminary (1959–1972) prior to teaching at Baptist Bible Seminary (1972–1978).
“I sat under the instruction of Dr. Bernard Northrup forty-five years ago while attending seminary,” said Dr. David Miller, pastor of First Baptist Church, Walnut Creek, California. “I appreciated his teaching and friendship. He was known for his giftedness and his godliness. Praise God that he touched my life as well as others all over the world.”
In addition to teaching, Dr. Northrup also advised Bible translators working with Bibles International and Baptist Mid-Missions, checking work done by pastors in 17 tribal languages in India, the Philippines, and Africa. He also taught at Central Baptist Seminary, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1978–1985), and Shasta Bible College (1985–2005).
David Nicholas, president of Shasta Bible College, said, “Dr. Northrup was an incredible Old Testament scholar with a genuine love for the souls of men, coupled with a pastor’s heart. His students continually testify to his phenomenal grasp of the Biblical languages and his broad and diverse interests in Biblically related areas including the geological evidences for creation, Biblical interpretation, eschatology, soteriology, and yes, even ‘Bigfoot.’ He was capable and eager to teach any Biblical or theologically related subject from personal evangelism to complex courses on the major Old Testament prophets.”
Dr. Northrup was the author of Finding Christ in the Psalms (Regular Baptist Press, 1974), which was later republished as Recognizing Messiah in the Psalms (Xulon, 2003). He also wrote Law, Grace, or License?, The Just Shall Live By Faith: The Reexamination of an oft Tangled Text, The Life I Now Live . . . in the Flesh, True Evangelism: Paul’s Presentation of the First Five Steps of the Soul-Winner in Romans, a book of poetry, Of Israel’s Shores . . . and of Her Messiah, and numerous online articles.
He is survived by his wife, Juanita; two children, Joy Thayer and Joel Northrup; and six grandchildren. A memorial service was held at Grace Baptist Church, Redding, California, on Sunday, April 27. Pastor Al Franklin returned from a trip to Israel to lead the service.
“Dr. Northrup was one of my first seminary profs,” said John Greening, national representative of the GARBC. “He was a choice servant of the Lord who influenced many lives through his faithful teaching, preaching, writing, and translating. His quiet manner, his attention to the detail of the Word, his love for the Old Testament, his work on creation research, along with his warm and caring interaction with students was appreciated. I held him in the highest regard.”
Other online articles by Dr. Northrup:
- The Rapture in Second Thessalonians
- “The Genesis of Geology”
- “Factors Causing Problems in Bible Interpretation“
- “The Promise of the Rapture“
- “Micah and the Long, Sad Days before Israel’s Latter Days”
- “Guidelines for Understanding the Witness in the Record of the Rocks”
- “On Finding an Ice Age Book (Job)”