Preacher and author Neil Lightfoot dies at 82

by Tom Childers

ABILENE, Tex.(BNc) – Dr. Neil R. Lightfoot, 82, passed away at a local medical center on Sept. 18.

Dr. Lightfoot was a native of Waco, Tex., and was born to William and Minnie Lee Lightfoot in 1929. He married Ollie Robinson in 1951 and they joined the faculty of Abilene Christian University in 1958. He taught New Testament and Biblical Languages (Greek and Hebrew), Apologetics and Evidences of Christianity. Ollie and Neil raised their family there, and she taught in the Abilene Schools until her death in 2003.

Dr. Lightfoot was active as a lecturer and preacher, having served as full-time minister for several congregations in North Carolina and Texas. He has preached for more than fifty years, taught at ACU for forty-seven years and for more than twenty years served as an elder of the Eleventh and Willis congregation in Abilene.

Dr. Lightfoot is known for his books and scholarly articles. His books include: How We Got the Bible (3rd edition, revised and expanded), Lessons From the Parables, Jesus Christ Today: A Commentary on the Book of Hebrews, The Role of Women: New Testament Perspectives, and Everyone’s Guide to the Book of Hebrews. His videos and filmstrips include How We Got the Bible, Now That I Am a Christian, and Can We Believe the Bible? In addition, he has served as Greek-text editor and a translator of the The International Children’s Version (NT), The Word: The New Century Version (NT), and the The Everyday Bible.

Dr. Lightfoot held the B.A. and M.A. Degrees in Philosophy from Baylor University, and the Ph.D. degree in New Testament from Duke University. In 1978, he received the “Trustee’s Award, Outstanding Teacher of the Year,” Abilene Christian University. In 1986, he was Senior Associate of Westminster College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England and also served as Distinguished Scholar in Residence.

Dr. Lightfoot was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Ollie Lightfoot and a brother William Delma “Jr.” Lightfoot. He is survived by his wife Marjorie Floyd Lightfoot and daughters Donna Thompson and husband Tommy, Lu Anne Bourland and husband Brent of Carrolton, Michelle McElroy and husband Larry also of Carrolton. In addition he is survived by step daughters Marilyn Lepard and husband Richard and Andrea Cobb and husband Gary. He is also survived by a sister Rita Struessel and her husband Lenard. He will be greatly missed by 13 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren and a host of friends.

His life-long mission was to teach the Word and prepare others to share the Gospel. To his family he was husband, father, guide, and anchor. To his students he was teacher, mentor and friend.

Donations may be made in honor of Dr. Lightfoot to 11th and Willis Church of Christ Missions Fund, Christian Service Center, 901 Mesquite St, 79601 or the ACU Library Fund. Condolences may be offered to the family at Piersall-Benton Funeral Directors.

His visitation will be held from 6-8 pm Thursday evening Sept. 20 at Piersall Funeral Directors, 733 Butternut and a service will be held at the University church on Friday, Sept. 21 at 1:00 pm with burial to follow at Elliot Hamil Garden of Memories.

Share your perspective on this story