Professor William Barclay once said that his life’s aim was:
“To make the life and words of Jesus live against their contemporary background and, above all, to make them relevant for today.”
And although he died in 1978, the words and works of this great Scottish theologian, teacher and communicator of the Gospel continue to inspire and sustain the Christian faith of thousands all over the world.
Born in 1907 in Wick, Barclay grew up in Motherwell, deep in Scotland’s industrial heartland. He decided at the age of 13 to become a minister and stuck to this youthful resolve, becoming ordained and inducted to Trinity Church, Renfrew, in 1933.
Fourteen years later he was appointed lecturer in New Testament Language and Literature at Glasgow, and served as Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism there until his retirement in 1974.
In parallel with his academic life, and complementing it, William Barclay vigorously pursued his calling as as a writer and broadcaster.
His first book was written in 1937 for the Scottish Sunday School Union and titled ‘New Testament Studies’. In time, he would write more than 80 books.
The centre-piece of his work was the 17-volume Daily Study Bible commentary on the New Testament. The millionth copy was sold in 1964 … and its popularity continues today.
Barclay made his first radio broadcast in 1949, and in 1963 began Sunday evening television broadcasts which became a mainstay of the Scottish week.
William Barclay died in 1978. Shortly before his death, he agreed to the establishment of a Trust set up in his name which would organise an annual celebration of his life in the form of a lecture recalling the man and expanding on themes he explained so clearly.
This website is published by the William Barclay Lectureship Trust in order to bring his work to the attention of a new and wider audience.