Habel was born near Hamilton, Victoria, and was ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Australia in 1955, serving as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Brooklyn. He taught at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and the Adelaide College of the Arts and Education, before becoming Principal of Kodaikanal International School in South India. Habel then returned to South Australia, serving as professor at the University of South Australia and then Flinders University.
In 2003, Habel was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia, for "service to education and the development of courses in religious studies in tertiary institutions in Australia, to reconciliation and social justice, and to the environment." In 2013, a Festschrift was published in his honour. Where the Wild Ox Roams: Biblical Essays in Honour of Norman C. Habel included contributions from David J. A. Clines and Ralph W. Klein.
- "Trinity Lutheran Church". Retrieved 8 June 2017.
- C., Habel, Norman. Why on earth are you still a Lutheran? : memoirs of a heretic. p. 77. ISBN 9781498283250. OCLC 945950515.
- Habel, Norman. "Norman Habel's Cirriculum Vitae" (PDF). Retrieved 10 June 2017.
- "HABEL, Norman Charles". It's an Honour. Retrieved 12 February 2016.