So who is Dave Black? I'm a teacher, language-lover, incurable infracaninophile, dad and granddad, and a bunch of other things. I live on a farm in Virginia and commute to my other job in North Carolina. I am seriously not into taking myself seriously. Above all, I'm a broken person who is therefore qualified to minister to other broken people. Like Saul of Tarsus (who gave up his intellectual arrogance but -- hopefully -- not his intellectual prowess), I'm a recovering New Testament "scholar." My message is now simply, "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son." I have not always been in the Gospel business, but I am now, to the hilt.
When I'm not trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, I'm usually out training for marathons. People run for different reasons. Some run for causes. Most run for themselves -- in a good sense. They're running from a destructive relationship. They're running to prove to themselves that they are worthy of another's love and affection. They're running to become fit. I run for many reasons I suppose. I think mostly I run for Becky, in her honor, to raise money to combat the disease that took her away from me, and maybe mostly to manage the bottomless hole in my heart that I feel every day of my life. Someone has said that running isn't any different from grief. Both are hard. Neither gets easier. But both make you stronger. I'm not trying to set new PRs every time I run or anything like that. I just want to be out there with my fellow athletes. Your last race doesn't matter any more. Each new starting line holds the promise of a small victory as you struggle against your limitations and push to the edge of your ability. You rediscover the will to win and the desire to finish.
Running isn't all I do. I've led a pretty interesting life I guess you could say. I've been an avid surfer in Hawaii and a lifeguard in California. I've climbed pyramids in Egypt and explored the Great Wall, the Parthenon, the Eifel Tower, and the Matterhorn. For 15 years I did cross-country riding on my fantastic horses. (See My Horses, My Teachers.) I was born in Honolulu and raised in Kailua on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. I enjoyed big wave riding at such famous beaches as Makaha, Pipeline, Sunset Beach, and Pupukea. But the biggest ride of my life was when I put my faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord at the age of eight. During my teen years I was active in the Jesus Movement as well as in my local church, serving as deacon, youth pastor, and music leader.
After graduating from Kailua High School in 1970, I studied music at the University of Hawaii (trumpet major) before leaving for California to attend Biola University. I graduated from Biola in 1975 with a B.A. in Biblical Studies, and then enrolled in Biola’s graduate school, Talbot School of Theology, where I majored in New Testament and Greek. I graduated from Talbot with my M.Div. in 1980 and then began doctoral studies in New Testament at the University of Basel in Switzerland, where I received my Doctor of Theology (D.Theol.) degree in 1983. I later took two courses at Jerusalem University College on Mount Zion in Israel.
I currently have the honor of serving as Professor of New Testament and Greek and the Dr. M. O. Owens Jr. Chair of New Testament Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. I have also had the privilege of teaching short (1-2 week) courses at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Lancaster Bible College, Fuller Theological Seminary, Talbot School of Theology, Simon Greenleaf University, Criswell College, Freie Hochschule für Mission (Germany), Tyndale Theological Seminary (Holland), Bibelschule Walzenhausen (Switzerland), IEM Bible College (India), Chong Shin Theological Seminary (Korea), Faith Theological Seminary (Korea), Cosin Theological Seminary (Korea), Evangelical Theological College (Ethiopia), Meserete Kristos College (Ethiopia), and many other institutions.
In addition (and most surprisingly!), this island boy has lectured at the Complutensian University in Spain, the Areopagus in Timisoara, Romania, and the Universities of Oxford and Leeds in England. (Yes, that actually did happen.) Recently I joined the Raleigh Civil War Round Table. I'm also a proud member of the Windward Kai Canoe Club in Kailua, Hawaii, my home town.
In addition, I love all kinds of animals (especially horses, even when they stick their tongues out at you).
I love to write. God has allowed me to publish about 100 scholarly articles and book reviews in such journals as Novum Testamentum, New Testament Studies, Bible Translator, Journal of Biblical Literature, Biblica, Westminster Theological Journal, Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, and Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. To date I have authored or edited some 30 Pullet Surprise winning books.
These include The Myth of Adolescence, Learn to Read New Testament Greek, Using New Testament Greek in Ministry, New Testament Textual Criticism, Interpreting the New Testament, Rethinking the Synoptic Problem, and Why Four Gospels? Amazon's got them listed in case you're interested. One day I will publish my magnum opus, Black's Encyclopedia of Surfing and Skateboarding, available at fine bookstores everywhere. For a complete list of my publications, go here.
I have also served as the New Testament editor of the International Standard Version translation of the Bible and as a founding editor of Filologia Neotestamentaria in Córdoba, Spain. I hold membership in the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, though I rarely get to attend their meetings because I am usually on a mission trip somewhere.
As I said above, I'm into running big time. Recently I joined up with that crazy group of people who run races on the weekend. Here I am finishing my first half marathon at the age of 63. It felt really good.
In July, 2016, I spent 8 days climbing mountains in the Swiss Alps near Zermatt.
I was privileged to climb the Breithorn, the Oberrothorn, the Klettersteig, and the Matterhorn.
Meanwhile, in October of 2016 I summited two 14,000 foot peaks in the Rockies, including Mount Bierstadt. It was an accomplishment I will not soon forget.
Closer to home, for 37 years I was married to Becky Lynn Lapsley Black. I met Becky in the cafeteria line at Biola in 1973. Three years later we were married.
On November 2, 2013, Becky entered the presence of the One she loved and served so faithfully. (Yes, I miss her.)
Hers was one of the most beautiful lives ever lived. You can read about it in her autobiography: My Life Story. I've written the story of Becky's Homegoing and how the Lord helped me work through my grief in a book called Running My Race. In July of 2016, in conjunction with my trip to the Alps, I started a special fund to support cancer research. It was called The Becky Black Memorial Fund to Fight Endometrial Cancer. By God's grace we were able to raise $25,000 for the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
My latest project was called Piggin' Out for a Cancer Cure, where we were privileged to raise $7,000 for UNC Lineberger in conjunction with a marathon I ran on May 7, 2017 in Cincinnati (the "Flying Pig").
In other news ....
I live on a 123-acre working farm in southern Virginia. My home, "Bradford Hall," is named after Becky's ancestor, William Bradford (of Mayflower fame) as well as her father, Bradford Lapsley. In addition to being my main residence, it serves as a place of retreat and refuge for furloughing missionaries, pastors, and others.
The old house on the farm is called "Maple Ridge." It was built in 1811 and was recently restored and updated. I call this the refugee/guest/ministry house. It is designed for families who need longer-term housing assistance.
Today I am a self-supporting missionary to the world. Becky was raised in Ethiopia, the daughter of missionary parents. She introduced me to the land of her youth in 2004, and it was love at first sight.
Though not an MK, I frequently travel to Asia, Africa, and the Middle East to minister to the persecuted church. Since 2004 I have made 17 trips to Ethiopia, 11 trips to Asia, and 10 trips to Eastern Europe and the Middle East. I think. It's hard to keep track.
If it's vacation time, you'll often find me on a mission trip. I pursue the goal of being a servant-missionary to the world. There is no greater privilege or higher calling. No matter where I find myself, there is work to do and opportunities to seize.