William MacDonald (Christian author)

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William MacDonald
Born(1917-01-07)January 7, 1917
Leominster, Massachusetts
DiedDecember 25, 2007(2007-12-25) (aged 90)
OccupationAuthor, Minister
Alma materTufts University
Harvard Business School
RelativesIan M (Morrison) MacDonald (brother)
Thomas MacDonald (nephew)
Susi MacDonald (niece)

William MacDonald (January 7, 1917 – December 25, 2007) was President of Emmaus Bible College,[1] teacher, Plymouth Brethren theologian and a prolific author of over 84 published books.

MacDonald refused to accept royalties for his books but established a fund for translating his work Believers Bible Commentary into foreign languages.


Early life and education[edit]

William (Bill) MacDonald was born on January 7, 1917 in Leominster, Massachusetts. In 1922, in the Western Hebrides, William was dying of diphtheria. A mucous membrane was forming across his throat, and breathing was becoming increasingly difficult. His Christian mother turned her back so she would not see William take his last breath. At that very moment there was a knock at the door. It was her brother-in-law from an adjoining village. He said, "I've just come to tell you that you don't have to worry about William. He is going to recover, and one day God is going to save his soul." Mom was distracted and incredulous: "Whatever makes you say that?". Then he explained he had been sitting at his fire reading Psalm 91 when God distinctly spoke to him through the last three verses. God saved William's soul thirteen years after.[2]

When he was six years old, his family moved to Stornoway, Scotland, later moving back to Massachusetts. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts College in 1938 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1940.


After graduation, he was employed as an investment analyst at the First National Bank of Boston (now known as BankBoston) until 1942. During 1942, MacDonald enlisted in the Navy, where he served until 1946. He then served on the faculty of Emmaus Bible School until 1965, becoming President in 1959.[3] He contributed greatly to the Emmaus Correspondence School through his writings.

President of Emmaus Bible College (1959-1965)[edit]

While President of Emmaus Bible College, MacDonald made lasting contributions. Among his accomplishments are numbered:

  1. Leading Emmaus Bible College to purchase of the 156 N. Oak Park facility
  2. Leading the merging of the Toronto and Chicago schools in Oak Park
  3. Leading the purchase of the Groveland building in 1960
  4. Bringing the "Emmaus student enrollment above 100 in the resident school and above 60 in the evening school."

Post-Presidency Career[edit]

After 1965, he led a Bible teaching ministry in the USA, Europe and Asia until 1972. In 1973 he served on the faculty of the Discipleship Intern Training Program, based in San Leandro, California, until 1996. After 1996, MacDonald moved back to the Bible-teaching ministry, until his death on December 25, 2007.


  • The Good News Bible Correspondence Course (The Moody Bible Institute, 1954)
  • Hebrews: From Shadow to Substance (The Moody Bible Institute, 1957)
  • Believer's Bible Commentary (1989)
  • True Discipleship (1975)
  • The Epistle to the Hebrews: From Ritual to Reality
  • 1 Peter: Faith Tested, Future Triumphant; A Commentary
  • Ephesians: The Mystery of the Church; A Commentary
  • Be Holy: The Forgotten Command; Published October 1st 1996 by John Ritchie Publications
  • Here's the Difference; Bringing important biblical distinctions into focus (Gospel Folio Press, 1999)


  1. ^ "Emmaus Bible College". Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  2. ^ Believer's Bible Commentary by William MacDonald, page 689
  3. ^ "Emmaus Bible College". Retrieved June 13, 2013.

External links[edit]