Tremper Longman III, prolific author, popular speaker and beloved religious studies professor, is retiring from Westmont to be closer to his children and grandchildren on the East Coast. Longman taught at Westminster Theological Seminary for 18 years before coming to Westmont where he taught for 19 years. He was installed as the first Robert H. Gundry Professor in Biblical Studies in October 1999.
“One of my real passions, as I try to help people love the Old Testament, see its significance and understand it, is to realize that the Old Testament is fulfilled in Christ,” he says. “So I put a big emphasis on Christological readings of the Old Testament and that helps people see the relevance of the Old Testament to their Christian lives today. I mean Jesus himself said in Luke 24, the whole Old Testament anticipated His coming. So, I think it’s really important for Christian interpreters, after studying the Old Testament within its original context to then ask the question, ‘How do I as a Christian see this text pointing toward Christ and also relevant for my life today?’”
Longman has authored or co-authored more than 30 books about the Psalms and other Old Testament books. He earned the 2009 ECPA Christian Book Award for “Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings.” He was Westmont Researcher of the Year in 2002 and 2012.
“I want to know God better, and I think the foundational place where God reveals himself and his will for us is the Bible,” he says. “I have the privilege of sitting down and studying it. The Bible is simple in its main message, but it has unending depth so you can’t ever come to the point where you say, ‘I know it all.’ There are always new things to learn. Every day I learn something new about the Bible. It’s been an exciting study for me.”
Last October, Longman published “Genesis” for the Baker Illustrated Bible Background Commentary and his book “Old Testament Essentials” was published in Korean last October. In January, he published “Genesis” as part of Zondervan’s “The Story of God Bible Commentary” series.
“The best part about teaching at Westmont has been having the opportunity to introduce students to the Old Testament and its importance for our faith and life,” he says. “I am thankful for the 19 years that I have taught here and for the space provided not only for teaching but also for my writing. I will miss my colleagues and interaction on a daily basis with them.
“I intend to stay quite active in writing, consulting and teaching occasional courses.”