Merrill C. Tenney

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Merrill Chapin Tenney (April 16, 1904 – March 18, 1985) was an American professor of New Testament and Greek and author of several books. He was the general editor of the Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, and served on the original translation team for the New American Standard Bible.[1]

Background and education[edit]

Tenney was born April 16, 1904 in Chelsea, Massachusetts, to Wallace Fay Tenney and Lydia Smith Goodwin.[2] He earned a diploma from Nyack Missionary Training Institute (1924),[3] his Th.B. from Gordon College of Theology and Missions (1927), his A.M. from Boston University (1930), and his Ph.D. in Biblical and Patristic Greek from Harvard University (1944).[4] He married Helen Margaret Jaderquist (1904–1978) in 1930,[5] and together they had three sons, John Merrill (who died in childhood), Robert Wallace and Philip Chapin.[2]

Academic career[edit]

Tenney briefly served as pastor of Storrs Avenue Baptist Church in Braintree, Massachusetts (1926–1928), and began teaching at Gordon College while still a student there.[3] After graduation, he joined the faculty and was professor of New Testament and Greek until moving to Wheaton College in 1944, where he would eventually become dean of the graduate school from 1947 to 1971. Tenney was Henry Clarence Thiessen's chosen associate[clarification needed] and (accordingly) an advocate of fundamentalism.[6] He retired in 1977, but continued teaching as professor emeritus until 1982.[3]

Legacy and death[edit]

In 1951, Tenney became the second president of the Evangelical Theological Society. In 1975, a volume of essays entitled Current Issues in Biblical and Patristic Interpretation (ISBN 0802834426) was published in his honor. Tenney died in Wheaton on March 18, 1985.[3]

Selected publications[edit]


  1. ^ "New American Standard Bible – Translators of the NASB". Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  2. ^ a b Tenney, Merrill Chapin; Gerald F. Hawthorne (1975). Current issues in Biblical and patristic interpretation. Eerdmans. pp. 15–18. ISBN 0-8028-3442-6. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Memorials". JETS. 29 (1). 1986. 
  4. ^ "Merrill C. Tenney Papers, 1927–1982". Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  5. ^ "Papers of Mrs. Helen Margaret Jaderquist Tenney – Collection 44". Billy Graham Center Archives. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  6. ^ Keith Call Thiessen and Determinism’s cold and chilling effects. Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections. Quote: "Responding with a letter to Buswell, Thiessen recounts his own impressive academic qualifications and that “…there may be a way of realizing my ideal at Wheaton College.” Specifically, this meant an ambition to establish “…a first class theological school of the fundamentalist and premillennial type in the North…” .... As the curriculum solidified and expanded, he chose Dr. Merrill Tenney as his associate."

Further reading[edit]

  • Elwell, Walter A.; Jim D. Weaver (1999). Bible interpreters of the twentieth century: a selection of evangelical voices. Baker Books. ISBN 0-8010-2073-5.