Geoffrey Bull

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Geoffrey Taylor Bull (1921–1999) was a Scottish Christian missionary and author.

Bull was born into a family with conservative evangelical beliefs. At 15 years old, he was baptised and received into the fellowship of a group of Christians meeting in "New Testament simplicity".[citation needed] This group was of the Plymouth Brethren persuasion. His original ambition for a career was to enter banking, but by 1941 he became absorbed with missionary work in Central Asia.

It may be[citation needed] that Bull was inspired by the ministry of George W. Hunter, who died in 1946 after long years of isolated missionary labours in China.

After World War II, the elders in his Brethren assembly agreed to commend him to work full-time in Central Asia. In March 1947, Bull and George N. Patterson (1920-2012) went to China, travelling deep into the interior up to the border area shared with Tibet. Here, for three years, they studied Mandarin and Tibetan. Bull witnessed the last days of Tibetan independence and was imprisoned on the pretext of being a spy. At first, he was kept in solitary confinement, but later underwent a re-education and thought reform programme—his captors tried brain-washing, but he claimed that his "faith in Christ kept him from mental breakdown".[citation needed] This captivity lasted for three years and two months before he was released to the British authorities in Hong Kong.

On his return, he married, and subsequently served in Borneo in the late 1950s to early 1960s. Bull also had a worldwide Bible teaching ministry in Brethren assemblies and beyond. He died following the Breaking of Bread service in his local Brethren assembly in Brisbane Hall, Largs, and was buried in Scotland. He was survived by his widow, Nan, who died in May 2009.


Bull wrote a number of books. The first three form an autobiographical trilogy on his prison experiences in China.

Children's board books[edit]

Bull also wrote a series of illustrated board books for children, the text being in rhyming verse and retells various Bible stories:

  • Bull, Geoffrey T.; Christopher Higham (1977). I wish I lived when Daniel did. London: Pickering and Inglis. ISBN 978-0-7208-2249-6. OCLC 16360438. 
  • Bull, Geoffrey T.; Christopher Higham (1977). I Wish I Lived When Esther Did. London: Pickering and Inglis. 
  • Bull, Geoffrey T.; Christopher Higham (1977). I Wish I Lived When Gideon Did. London: Pickering and Inglis. ISBN 0-87508-889-9