Kenneth E. Bailey, Th.D.
Research Scholar and Lecturer in Middle Eastern New Testament Studies
A Brief Biography
After undergraduate and seminary studies, Dr. Bailey completed degrees in Arabic Language and Literature, Systematic Theology and a doctorate in New Testament. Ordained by the Presbyterian Church (USA), Dr. Bailey spent 40 years (1955-1995) living and teaching in seminaries and institutes in Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem and Cyprus.
For 20 of those years Dr. Bailey was Professor of New Testament and Head of the Biblical Department of the Near East School of Theology in Beirut where he also founded and directed the Institute for Middle Eastern New Testament Studies. From September 1985 to June 1995, Dr. Bailey was on the faculty of “The Ecumenical Institute for Theological Research” in Jerusalem, with the title of Research Professor of Middle Eastern New Testament Studies.
In 1990 Dr. Bailey accepted the additional responsibility of Canon Theologian for the Episcopal Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, residing in Nicosia, Cyprus and returned a third of each year to Jerusalem to continue teaching at the Ecumenical Institute.
Dr. Bailey’s area of specialty is the cultural background and literary forms of the New Testament. In addition to more than 150 articles in English and in Arabic, his writings include:
Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes (Downer’s Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2008)
“Open Hearts in Bethlehem (A Christmas Musical)” (Louisville: W/JK, 2005)
The Cross and the Prodigal [Revised edition] (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2005)
Jacob and the Prodigal: How Jesus Retold Israel’s Story (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2003 )
Finding the Lost: Cultural Keys to Luke 15 (St. Louis: Concordia, 1992)
Poet and Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, l980)
God Is … Dialogues on the Nature of God [Revised Edition] (Toronto: FFM, 2005)
Dr. Bailey has authored the scripts for two professionally produced feature length films and has also professionally recorded more than 100 video lectures on a variety of New Testament themes. He has taught at Columbia and Princeton and was for a time an adjunct professor at Dubuque, McCormick and Pittsburgh theological seminaries as well as at Fuller Seminary. Dr. Bailey has lectured in theological colleges and seminaries in England (Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol) Ireland, Canada, Egypt, Finland, Latvia, Denmark, New Zealand, Australia and Jerusalem. He is active as a Bible teacher for conferences and continuing education events in the Middle East, Europe and North America. His writings have been translated and published into more than 20 languages. He is a member of Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas and is listed in Who’s Who in Biblical Studies and Archeology (Washington: Biblical Archeology Society, 1992). In March 1995, at the request of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Bailey was the Bible teacher for the triennial meeting of the Archbishops of the Anglican Communion. In 1999 he received the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary “Distinguished Alumni Award for Excellence in Academics.” In 2003, at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, he participated in a Muslim-Christian dialogue conference held in Doha, Qatar.
The Baileys now reside in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. Dr. Bailey continues his ministry of lecturing, writing and recording in the field of New Testament. In June 1997, he was installed as Canon Theologian of the Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church, USA.
Mrs. Ethel Bailey was a research assistant to Dr. Jonas Salk at the time he discovered the polio vaccine. She taught microbiology (in Arabic), raised a family, and typed a number of Dr. Bailey’s manuscripts. In Beirut she was the recording secretary for the board of the American Community School. While in Jerusalem she was active in the leadership of daily worship at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute and in various other aspects of the life of the community. The Baileys have two children.
Kenneth E. Bailey, renowned New Testament scholar, seminary professor, author, Presbyterian career missionary, and international lecturer, died on Monday, May 23, 2016, at age eighty-five after a short illness involving some weeks of hospitalization and a brief period of palliative care. Click here to read the full obituary.