John Christian Howell, 92, died last month not long after a fall and a resulting brief illness. (See linked article below.)
Over five decades he had served Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in various roles during a 39-year career, and then took on special assignments over the next few years.
John was well known for all the right reasons. His sons Michael and Mark gave testimony that he did not dishonor the family name. But he handled himself in all that he did to honor his middle name, too — Christian. John developed the nature of Christ; he cared about people and it showed. Multi-talented, he was gifted at teaching and training, writing and counseling.
Nearly 15 years ago, when he was 77, John agreed to write Sunday School lesson commentaries for Word & Way. He wrote one for every Sunday of the year, and most appeared in the Word & Way biweekly tabloid edition. Last year, with the advent of our monthly magazine, John and his commentary colleague Michael Olmsted agreed to continue writing with their work being presented on our website (wordandway.org/resources/bible-study) but no longer in the printed periodical.
From time to time, when illness or computer problems meant that John could possibly miss a deadline, he almost always came through . This work was a cherished ministry to him and a service to readers. In more recent years, his son Mark worked with Word & Way and with his dad to ensure John managed this weekly time-consuming task. A lesser person than John might have retired from these relentless weekly deadlines. Instead, he kept sharing thoughtful biblical insights with our readers.
Almost till he died, John, passionate about ministering as long as he had breath, continued to teach senior adults at his church and write weekly Bible commentaries and thereby bless others. By my estimate, John wrote about 760 commentaries in all.
God bless him.
Bill Webb is editor of Word & Way.