A biblical scholar often quoted by Evangelical pastors and teachers has died, according to his family. Warren Wiersbe passed away on Thursday, May 2. He was 89.
Wiersbe’s grandson, Dan Jacobson, posted the news and a tribute to his grandfather on his blog on Thursday.
"I first heard Dr. Wiersbe at a Bible conference" in Chattanooga, Tenn., in the early 1960s, Jerry Vines, a former Southern Baptist Convention president and longtime friend of Wiersbe's, told Baptist Press. "What I heard him do with Scripture that day changed my preaching forever. He changed me from a topical preacher to a text-driven preacher.”
Wiersbe wrote more than 150 books dating back to the 1950s. He was referred to as “the pastor’s pastor” because his Bible commentaries and study aides were used so widely around the world. His books were translated into dozens of languages.
He first served Central Baptist Church in Lombard, Illinois, beginning in 1951. In the late 1950s he worked for Youth for Christ International. The same organization that gave a start to the ministry of a young Billy Graham.
Following his work at Youth for Christ, Wiersbe served at Calvary Baptist Church in Covington, Kentucky, from 1961 until 1971. In addition to pastoring, he worked as a seminary professor, radio Bible teacher, and writer. More than 4,000,000 copies of his books have been sold.
"He is, perhaps, best known for his 'Be' series, a series of 50 books from Be Real to Be Joyful," Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, said via email to Baptist Press. "But it was his faithful preaching of God's Word that helped The Moody Church BE a church God called them to be. His impact is still felt at The Moody Church and it will be for decades to come. He will be missed at The Moody Church, but he will not be forgotten."
Not only was Wiersbe an avid writer, he was also a consummate reader. His personal library is said to contain more than 10,000 books.
Stetzer, interim teaching pastor at The Moody Church, noted to Baptist Press that Weirsbe "was one of evangelicalism's giants, but to the people of The Moody Church, he was their beloved pastor."
"People regularly mention him, his preaching and his influence in their lives. The warmth of their love for Weirsbe is evident to this day," he said.
Jacobson paid tribute to his grandfather and his life of faithful Christian service. “Grandpa built bridges from the world of the Bible to the world of today so that we could get to the other side of glory in Jesus.”
Among his contacts with Southern Baptists, Wiersbe spoke at the SBC Pastors' Conference in 1977, when Vines served and president. He also preached regularly at the annual pastors' conference hosted by First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., where Vines was pastor.
"He encouraged and taught, by example, thousands of pastors and multiplied thousands of laypeople in the convention to do biblical exposition," Vines said to BP.
Humility and humor were among the hallmarks of Wiersbe's ministry, Vines said.