Leon Morris

Leon Morris (1914-2006) was perhaps Australia’s most prolific biblical and theological author. He wrote over fifty books of theology and biblical commentary, which have sold nearly two million copies worldwide and have been translated into many languages. He was well-known throughout the Christian world as a careful, conservative biblical scholar. Incredibly, Morris received no formal theological education, apart from two years of supervision for his doctorate in Cambridge. He was a self-taught theologian who brought his rigorous and disciplined training in scientific enquiry to his study of the Bible and theology.

Morris was born in Lithgow where his father was an iron founder. Morris began training as a teacher in 1931 with a degree in science. In his first year he was converted to Christ, and the following year he felt the call to ordained ministry. Having qualified as a science teacher he was required to serve out the five years of his bond to the Department of Education. However while he worked as teacher, he studied theology in his spare time and topped the Australian College of Theology list. The Archbishop of Sydney paid out his bond to the Department of Education, and he was ordained to a curacy in Campsie in 1938.

In 1940 he began five years as priest in outback South Australia during the difficult years of World War II. He continued his private studies at this time, gaining the B.Div. from London University with first class honors in 1943 and the Master of Theology in 1946. Mildred, whom he married in 1941, would drive the bumpy, dusty roads of South Australia while Leon studied New Testament Greek in the passenger seat.

In 1945, Morris was invited to the position of Vice-Principal of Ridley College in Melbourne. He spent 1950-51 in Cambridge gaining his Ph.D., which was later published as The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, a book which became seminal for modern evangelical theology of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. In 1951 he became the first Australian elected to the Society for New Testament Studies.

In 1961, Morris accepted the position of Warden at Tyndale House in Cambridge, a significant evangelical biblical research center. In 1964, he courageously left this ideal academic post and returned to Ridley College as Principal when the college was in severe difficulty, convinced this was God’s call. During his fifteen years as Principal, he strengthened the college, gave it a worldwide reputation, built a new chapel and established Ridley College as an official residential college of Melbourne University, the first college to take both men and women. Today, Ridley has a library named in his honor.

During these years he continued his prolific writing, publishing commentaries on almost every book of the New Testament, many of which remain classics. He was in demand as a lecturer and preacher in Australia and overseas where he was visiting professor in a number of colleges. His style was famous for his dry wit, conciseness, simplicity and attention to the detail of the biblical text. He was a translator for the New International Version of the New Testament. In 1974, on his sixtieth birthday, he was presented with a festschrift from eminent biblical scholars from around the world.

In retirement, Morris continued writing from his large study. He lectured overseas several times and continued to preach regularly. The Gospel of John held a place close to Leon Morris’s heart and his magisterial commentary on John remains perhaps his magnum opus. Morris was well known for his humble manner and gracious Christian character. He leaves a vast legacy of theologically equipped ministers throughout the world upholding biblical Christian faith centered on the atoning death of Jesus Christ. — from Leon Morris's obituary

The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross (1955)

The Atonement (1984)

Epistle to the Romans (Pillar New Testament Commentary) (1988)

1 Corinthians (Tyndale New Testament Commentary) (2007)

The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians (New International Commentary on the New Testament) (1991)

1 & 2 Thessalonians (Tyndale New Testament Commentary) (2007)

Galatians: Paul's Charter of Freedom (2003)

The Gospel According to John, Revised (New International Commentary on the New Testament) (1994)

The Gospel According to Matthew (Pillar New Testament Commentary) (1992)

with Arthur Cundall. Judges & Ruth (Tyndale Old Testament Commentary) (1968)

Luke (InterVarsity Commentary) (2008)

Luke (Tyndale New Testament Commentary) (2007)

New Testament Theology (1991)

Revelation (Tyndale New Testament Commentary) (2007)


Apocalyptic (1977)

The Biblical Doctrine of Judgment (2006)

The Cross in the New Testament (2006)

The Cross of Jesus (1988)

Expository Reflections on the Gospel of John (750 pages! 1990)

Glory in the Cross (1966)

Hebrews (Bible Study Commentary) (1983)

High Impact Church (1993)

Holy Spirit (1974)

I Believe in Revelation (1976)

Jesus is the Christ (1989)

Lord from Heaven (1958)

Testaments of Love: A Study of Love in the Bible (1981)

Ministers of God (1964)

Studies in the Fourth Gospel (2006) [TOP]

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