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Lawrence O. Richards

Lawrence O. Richards

Lawrence (Larry) O. Richards was born September 25, 1931, in Milan, Michigan. His home environment was a positive one, with both parents providing ample affirmation. His father was an elder in the local Presbyterian church, and his mother often verbalized her faith in the home. Richards grew up in the religious education programs of his church, but after junior high school did not give much attention to his religious formation.

From 1949 through 1951, Richards attended Antioch College in Ohio. He had no clear direction and hence left college and served in the Navy from 1951-1955. He was stationed in New York City and, during this time, converted to Christ under the ministry of Donald Grey Barnhouse, one of the great Bible teachers of that era. He described his conversion as a conversion not from unbelief to belief, but rather a conversion to basic biblical Christianity (Downs, 1982, p. 115).

Following this experience Richards became an avid Bible student and formed some of his most basic theological convictions. After his Navy stint he resumed his academic studies at the University of Michigan where, in 1958, he received a B. A. in philosophy. He graduated magna cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. During his Michigan years he married Marla Hafner, and they now have three children, Paul, Joy, and Timothy.

Richards is the author of some 200 works, some of which have been translated into 24 languages, making him the most prolific of 20th century evangelical Christian educators and probably the most influential evangelical Christian education theorist (Benson, 1984, p. 64). Some of his major works are being reprinted 20 or more years after their original publication date. Richards’s writing career divides into two primary sections. From roughly the mid-60s to the mid-80s of the 20th century, he wrote his major Christian education theoretical works, interspersed with teacher training guidebooks, parenting materials, biblical curriculum, and Bible study guides. From approximately the mid-80s to the present, Richards’s writing has focused more on writing devotional books, Christian life enrichment books, Bible study aids, and study Bibles.

Richards currently resides in Raleigh, N.C., where he and his wife are active members of the North Raleigh United Methodist Church. He serves as general editor for the 20 some volumes in the Bible Smart series (Nelson), of which he wrote the lead volume, The Bible, and also Moses, the Man and his Mission (2008).



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