Timothy Lin

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Timothy Lin
TimothyLin 2.jpg
Dr. Lin in 1994
Lin Dao Liang

(1911-01-18)January 18, 1911
Died(2009-10-11)October 11, 2009 (age 98)
OccupationOld Testament Scholar and
Baptist Pastor

Timothy Lin (Chinese: 林道亮) (18 January 1911 - 11 October 2009) was a Chinese-born pastor, Old Testament scholar, master of Biblical languages, seminary professor, and seminary president. He was the senior pastor of the First Chinese Baptist Church of Los Angeles (1962–1980). He served as the president of China Evangelical Seminary in Taipei, Taiwan (1980–1990).[1]


Lin was born into the family of an Episcopal minister in Chekiang, China, on January 18, 1911. He was the eldest of nine children.

Lin was taught to read the Bible when he was six years old. His father would often put him on the top of a table to preach before he was six. Although he had been in church all of his life, Lin did not experience conversion until he was nineteen years old. His conversion was the central experience of Lin's life. Lin did not consider entering the ministry until an old pastor suggested it - Lin took this as a call from God and entered a seminary in Nanking to prepare for the ministry. He discovered that the seminary taught liberalism, using the historical critical method to interpret the Bible. When he protested against these methods of interpreting the Bible, he was told by the president of the seminary, "Be quiet, Timothy, and we will send you to Oxford." He left that seminary in 1934 because he believed in Biblical inerrancy and would not compromise.

He became the pastor of Jubilee Church in Shanghai until 1937. From 1937 to 1938 he was the principal of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Bible Institute of Kwangsi.

During World War II, Lin was in charge of Bethel Orphanage and was the principal of Bethel High School. On January 31, 1939 his first wife Daisy Chin and their infant daughter Beibei were killed by gunfire from the Japanese Imperial forces, and he broke his neck while guiding students from the orphanage to safety during the attack. Soon afterward he became the dean of Shanghai Bible College. After the war he was invited to be the president of the East China Theological College at Hangchow, which was affiliated with the China Inland Mission.

In 1940 he came to the United States for the first time to study Hebrew and Greek at Concordia Theological Seminary and Washington University in St. Louis. On September 9, 1941, Lin married Gracie Wu Ng. They had one son in 1945, Samuel Lin, who later retired as an Assistant Surgeon General with the US Public Health Service. Gracie Lin died on September 13, 1967. In February, 1969, Lin married Lily Wong, who died on August 16, 2005.

In 1948 he returned to the United States for advanced study, receiving Bachelor of Divinity and Master of Sacred Theology degrees from Faith Theological Seminary, then located in Wilmington, Delaware. He then earned a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Cognate Language from Dropsie University. He was also awarded many other earned as well as honorary degrees.

He died in Monterey Park, California, on 11 October 2009.

Academic career[edit]

From 1957 to 1961 Lin was a professor in the graduate school of Bob Jones University, where he taught Systematic Theology, Biblical Theology, Old Testament Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic, Classic Arabic, and Peshitta Syriac. Later he taught at the Talbot School of Theology and at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Lin was also one of the translators of the Old Testament portion of the New American Standard Bible.

In 1980 Lin succeeded James Hudson Taylor III as the president of China Evangelical Seminary in Taiwan. He became the seminary's president and professor of Old Testament and Pastoral Ministry, until his retirement in 1990.[2][1] Upon his retirement, the Timothy Lin Chair of Biblical Interpretation and Church Growth was created at China Evangelical Seminary.[citation needed]

Pastoral Work in Los Angeles[edit]

In 1961 Lin became the interim pastor of the First Chinese Baptist Church of Los Angeles, a church of about 80 members. In 1962 he became the permanent pastor. During the late 1960s and early 1970s the church grew to include over 2,000 people in regular attendance on Sunday. Under Lin’s guidance, the Los Angeles congregation started mission churches in Crenshaw, Sacramento, Calexico, Fountain Valley, Walnut, and Monterey Park. Each mission church began with more than 150 in attendance. In 1994 he assumed the position of Pastor Emeritus at the Los Angeles church and initiated church services in Mandarin for a growing population of Mandarin-speaking members. From then until his death he taught Mandarin-speaking Sunday school classes and preached in the Mandarin church service nearly every Sunday.

Lin was also a popular Bible conference speaker, being in great demand by ministers, teachers, and church leaders for training in Biblical interpretation and church growth. He traveled to speak in parts of Asia, North America, Australia, and Europe.


1. “Biblical Theology of Genesis” (158 pages).
2. “How the Holy Spirit Works” (68 pages).
3. “Did Jesus Descend Into Hell?” (2 pages).
4. “Fresh Power to Preach the Gospel” (117 pages).
5. “Fruit of the Spirit” (6 pages).
6. “Genuineness of the Mosaic Authorship of Genesis” (7 pages).
7. “God’s Discipline Upon His Disobedient Children” (2 pages).
8. “God’s Biblical Name (Yahweh) and What it Means for Us” (3 pages).
9. “God’s Presence With Us: What Causes Churches to Grow” (8 pages).
10. “How to Have the Power of God for Ministry” (17 pages).
11. “How to Illustrate Your Sunday School Lesson” (4 pages).
12. “How We Know and Understand God, and Can Live According to His Word” (4 pages).
13. “Overcoming Spiritual Plateaus – How to Make Progress When Your Spiritual Life Becomes Stagnant” (4 pages).
14. “How We Know God” (4 pages).
15. “Inferiority Complex” (5 pages).
16. “Inspiration and Inerrancy of the Bible” (6 pages).
17. “Kingdom and Discipleship” (116 pages).
18. “Quoting the Old Testament” (5 pages).
19. “Sabbath” (2 pages).
20. “Nature and Power of Sin” (3 pages).
21. “Sons of God” (2 pages).
22. “Growth of Believer’s Spiritual Life in Faith, Sonship, Service and Victory” (26 pages).
23. “Voice of God” (10 pages).
24. “What is Man?” (8 page).

(The above 24 books and articles are available on the Internet at www.bsmi.org/lin.htm).

25. “The Secret of Church Growth,” First Chinese Baptist Church of Los Angeles, California, 1992 (116 pages).

Further reading[edit]

  • "Archived Obituary: Timothy Lin (fee chargeable)". Legacy.com. in association with the Los Angeles Times. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 24 November 2009.
  • The Testimony of a Shepherd: A Tribute to Dr. Timothy Lin. Los Angeles: First Chinese Baptist Church. 1994. pp. 3–14.
  • Lin, Tao-liang (Timothy) (1992). The Secret of Church Growth. Los Angeles: First Chinese Baptist Church. pp. 115–116. ISBN 978-0-945304-01-2.
  • "Dr. Timothy Lin". Carmel, Indiana: Biblical Studies Ministries International, Inc. Retrieved 24 November 2009. (links to Bible studies, along with a brief biography)
  • Lin, Daomao (17 October 2009). "In Loving Memory of Big Brother Timothy Lin". Sermonsfortheworld.com. R. L. Hymers, Jr. Retrieved 24 November 2009.
  • Hymers, R.L. (24 October 2009). "In Memory of Dr. Timothy Lin". Sermonsfortheworld.com. R. L. Hymers, Jr. Retrieved 24 November 2009.
  • Hymers, R.L. (11 January 2017). "The Ministry of Dr. Lin's student, Dr. Robert L. Hymers". Sermonsfortheworld.com. R. L. Hymers, Jr. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  • "Shepherd His Sheep" Rev. Timothy Lin's Articles:==> http://www.shepherdhissheep.com/Kingdom-Truth.html


  1. ^ a b "Dr. Timothy Lin's Obituary". Los Angeles Times. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  2. ^ Rubinstein, Murray A. (1991). The Protestant Community on Modern Taiwan: Mission, Seminary, and Church. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-87332-658-2.

External links[edit]

A video of Dr. Lin's life on YouTube