John Sailhamer

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John Herbert Sailhamer (1946 – January 9, 2017)[1] was an American professor of Old Testament studies at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in California. He was president of the Evangelical Theological Society in 2000 and made notable contributions to Old Testament studies.[2]


After a B.A. at California State University, Long Beach, his Th.M. at Dallas Theological Seminary, and his M.A. and Ph.D. (1981) at University of California at Los Angeles, Sailhamer began his teaching career in 1975 at Biola University, then taught at Bethel Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Western Seminary (1995–98), Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (1999–2006),[3] Also, while at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. And since 2006 at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.[4] He was briefly appointed as provost of Dallas Theological Seminary in 1993, but resigned before he was to begin serving in 1994.[5]

Sailhamer served on the review and editorial teams for two recent Bible translations — the New Living Translation[6] and the Holman Christian Standard Bible.[7]

Sailhamer has published extensively on Old Testament matters, especially the Pentateuch. Sailhamer's latest publication, The Meaning of the Pentateuch (2009), has been called his magnum opus and briefly broke into's top 100 sellers.[8] John Piper has heartily endorsed it saying, "There is nothing like it. It will rock your world. You will never read the 'Pentateuch' the same again."[9]

Historical Creationism[edit]

In Genesis Unbound: A Provocative New Look at the Creation Account (1996), Sailhamer argues for a view of creationism that he labels as "Historical Creationism", which contends that the creation week in Genesis 1 is a record of the preparation of the Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve, not a record of the preparation of the whole planet Earth itself or the universe.[10] This view, along with the book Genesis Unbound, has been endorsed by major evangelical pastors and theologians (particularly in the New Calvinist movement), such as Matt Chandler,[11] Mark Driscoll,[12] and John Piper.[13]


  • Genesis: The Expositor's Bible Commentary (1990) with Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Richard Hess, Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland ISBN 978-0310230823
  • NIV Compact Bible Commentary (1999)[14] ISBN 978-0310228684
  • An Introduction to Old Testament Theology: A Canonical Approach (1995) ISBN 978-0310232025
  • The Pentateuch as Narrative: A Biblical-Theological Commentary (1995) ISBN 978-0310574217
  • "Biblical Theology and the Composition of the Hebrew Bible", pp 25–37 in Biblical Theology: Retrospect and Prospect, edited by Scott J. Hafemann (2002) ISBN 978-0830826841


  1. ^ Ollenburger, Ben C. (2004). Old Testament Theology: Flowering and Future. Eisenbrauns. ISBN 1575060965.
  2. ^ "Reports Relating to the Fifty-First Meeting of the Society" (PDF). JETS. 43 (1). March 2000.
  3. ^ McMillan, Byron Scott (Apr 19, 1999). "Renowned Hebrew scholar to join Southeastern Seminary's faculty". Baptist Press. Archived from the original on February 21, 2013.
  4. ^ Phifer, Amanda (Oct 27, 2006). "Golden Gate trustees meet at Rocky Mountain campus". Baptist Press. Archived from the original on 2011-05-10.
  5. ^ Hannah, John D. (2009). An Uncommon Union: Dallas Theological Seminary and American Evangelicalism. Zondervan. p. 233. ISBN 0310237866.
  6. ^ Taylor, Mark D. (March 2006). "The New Living Translation".
  7. ^ Marlowe, Michael (August 2011). "The Holman Christian Standard Bible".
  8. ^ Hansen, Collin (Jan 11, 2010). "Finding Meaning in the Pentateuch". Christianity Today.
  9. ^ Piper, John. "Not Just for Theological Uber Geeks".
  10. ^ Jordan, James B. (April 1997). "John Sailhamer Weighs In". Biblical Chronology. 9 (4). Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  11. ^ Chandler, Matt (2014). The Explicit Gospel. Crossway. pp. 96–97. ISBN 978-1-4335-3003-6.
  12. ^ Mark Driscoll, Gerry Breshears (2010). Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe. Crossway. p. 93. ISBN 978-1433527579. We hold to historic creationism, which emphasizes that the first two chapters of Genesis, God’s inspired and inerrant Word, tell us that the God who created everything (angels, space-time, mass-energy, sun, moon, and stars, and all species of animals) prepared the land for human habitation in six literal twenty-four-hour days. At the end of those days, he shaped dust and breathed the breath of life into it, creating Adam. From Adam’s rib, God created the woman.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  13. ^ What Should We Teach About Creation?, Desiring God.
  14. ^ Essex, Keith (Spring 1996). "Book Review: NIV Compact Bible Commentary". Master's Seminary Journal. 7 (1): 139–140. Archived from the original on 2013-09-25. Retrieved 2012-10-04.

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