Died: Larry Walker, NIV Translator Who Loved Bible Details

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Commitment to accuracy and inerrancy carried him through controversy.

Larry Walker, the last living translator of the original team of scholars who produced the New International Version of the Bible, died on March 8 at age 88.

Walker was a Hebrew scholar and a Semitic languages specialist who used his skills in the extinct Amorite language of Ugaritic to shed light on the Old Testament, illuminating the details of everything from the “trading ships” of Isaiah 2:16 to the “darkest valley” of Psalm 23:4. He cared deeply about accuracy and specifics and believed a commitment to the doctrine of inerrancy could serve as the basis for the highest quality of scholarship.

Walker served on the International Council of Biblical Inerrancy and was one of the original signers of the “Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy” in 1978. When he and other translators were accused of turning the NIV into a “unisex Bible” and subverting the Scripture with a secret feminist agenda in the late 1990s, Walker reiterated that his commitment was to inerrancy, accuracy, and the hard work of translation.

“Accuracy. That’s what mattered. The accuracy,” Walker’s son Daniel Walker told CT. “He could just drill down, drill down, drill down into the Word. He said unless you were a scholar, you just wouldn’t understand all the reasons they have done what they’ve done because there was so much behind a specific word.”

Walker taught Hebrew and Old Testament to an estimated 4,000 seminary students over his career. He was a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth from 1965 to 1980; Criswell Bible Institute in Dallas from 1970 to 1980; and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis from 1980 to 1997. …

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