A tribute by the Right Rev John R. Gray, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
THE Rev Professor William Barclay, CBE, DD, who died on January 24 in a Glasgow hospital, in his 71st year, was educated at the Universities of Glasgow and Marburg.
For 13 years he was a parish minister in Renfrew; for 17 years thereafter lecturer in New Testament at Glasgow University, and Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism in that university from 1963 till his retirement in 1974.
After that, and until his death, he continued in the position he had long held as adviser on religious publications to Collins, At various times he had acted as Examiner and Special Lecturer in several universities in Scotland, England and Wales. He was a member of the Joint Committee on the New English Bible and took a full share in its work.
These facts do not begin to describe a man whose genius for communicating religious truth was without parallel in our time. He was a broadcaster who broke all the rules drawn up for lesser men, and made more impact than anyone else who has appeared on religious television.
His books, at least 50 of them, on the New Testament, on Prayer and on Christian Ethics, sold literally by the million in Britain and in many other countries.
He was, and remained to the end, a loyal minister of the Church of Scotland. having declined many attractive offers of teaching posts in England and overseas. His Scottish accent was somewhat accentuated by the rather gravelly voice caused by deafness.
Yet Willie Barclay, as he was almost universally known, was too big a man to belong exclusively to any one country or to any one denomination.