The professor read to the class from this strange little Bible–I had never seen one quite like it.

His translation did not jive with any major English translation–it was just a little different.

He got stuck on some words–he stumbled and offered several synonyms.

Frankly, with his sharp West-Texas accent, I assumed that such difficulties were a reflection of the intelligence level of the prof. (he would have assured me that I was correct).

Then someone told me that he was reading the Greek New Testament. I was a little impressed–I had never met anyone who could read Greek.

Then someone told me that Norman Gipson had NEVER studied Greek–he taught himself to read Greek somewhere during his 65 plus years of preaching the gospel. Along the way he had also studied himself out of abject legalism (he was raised in the “anti” group of Churches of Christ), preached in who-knows how many places, taught at both Bear Valley and Sunset, and endeared himself to everyone who knew him.

When I read the email just now, telling me that Norman had passed away, I immediately opened the lap drawer to my desk. Yup, there it is. A little blue button (that long ago lost its pin) that says, “Think Souls.” Norman gave me that button many years ago. I’ve tried to obey its exhortation.

Norman taught me many things. Here are just a few:

  1. It is death knell, not death nail.
  2. “O do not our suit disdain” is not talking about our wardrobe.
  3. Singing is good for the soul.
  4. Blindly quoting Christian “scholars” is dangerous business.
  5. One can believe the Bible–even be a conservative–and not be angry about it.
  6. Humility is the mark of a true Man of God.

Bye Norman. I will miss you sweet man. But, I’ll see you soon. Until then, keep singing and reading Greek.

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