John Vernon McGee was born in Hillsboro, Texas, in 1904. Dr.
McGee remarked, "When I was born and the doctor gave me the customary
whack, my mother said that I let out a yell that could be heard on all four
borders of Texas!" His Creator well knew that he would need a powerful
voice to deliver a powerful message.
As a student pastor, Dr. McGee's first church was located on
a red clay hill in Midway, Georgia. It was there that he received his greatest
compliment: "It was from a country boy wearing high buttoned, yellow
shoes. After a morning service he came to speak to me. He groped for words,
then blurted out, 'I never knew Jesus was so wonderful!' He started to say more
but choked up and hurried out of the church. As I watched him stride across the
field, I prayed, 'Oh, God, help me to always preach so that it can be said, I
never knew Jesus was so wonderful.'"
After completing his education (earning his A.B. from
Southwestern University in Memphis, Tennessee; his B.D. from Columbia
Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia; his Th.M. and Th.D. from Dallas
Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas), and after pastoring Presbyterian
churches in Decatur, GA, Nashville, TN, and Cleburne, TX, he and his wife came
west, settling in Pasadena, where he accepted a call to the Lincoln Avenue
Presbyterian Church. He recalls this period as the happiest in his life, with a
young family and a young congregation whom he loved.
Dr. McGee's greatest pastorate was at the historic, Church
of the Open Door in downtown Los Angeles, where he served from 1949 to 1970.
There he began a daily radio broadcast called "High Noon Bible Class"
on a single station.
Dr. McGee began teaching Thru the Bible in 1967. After
retiring from the pastorate, he set up radio headquarters in Pasadena, and the
radio ministry expanded rapidly. Today the program airs on over 400 stations
each day in the United States and Canada, is heard in more than 100 languages
around the world and is broadcast worldwide via the Internet.
During his last few years, failing health demanded the
cancellation of many speaking engagements. This was extremely distressing to
him. There was no recurrence of an earlier bout with cancer during this time,
only a weakening heart. Back in 1965, after radical surgery, the doctors had
given him 6 months to live. The Lord gave him 23 years.
Dr. McGee and the Board of Directors planned in advance how
the program would continue in the event of Dr. McGee's homegoing. The message
would remain the same and the "voice" of Thru the Bible Radio would
continue to be Dr. McGee, through the use of the taped 5-year program, except
for those foreign language broadcasts, where the producers use the printed
5-volume Bible study to translate and produce the program.
On the morning of December 1, 1988, a few minutes after a
visit with the then Associate Director of Thru the Bible, alert and in
conversation centered around his concern for the continuance of the radio
ministry, Dr. McGee fell asleep in his chair and quietly passed into the
presence of his Savior.
It was back in 1941 that Dr. J. Vernon McGee was persuaded to begin a Sunday radio broadcast called "The Open Bible Hour" on a single station. That little program aimed at "Mr. Average American" was the foundation stone for what would eventually become Thru the Bible Radio.
Dr. McGee was an active participant in this radio ministry for 47 exciting years. When his health began to fail, plans were made in advance to decide how the program would continue in the event of his homegoing. The message would remain the same and the "voice" of Thru the Bible Radio would continue to be Dr. McGee, through the use of the taped 5-year program.
After our Saviour called Dr. McGee home in 1988, the program's reach continued to grow. Today, Thru the Bible is a worldwide ministry airing on over 800 stations in the U.S. and Canada, and heard in more than 100 languages around the world. Our mission is simple and the same one Dr. McGee himself embraced: To take the whole Word to the whole world.
The continued success of this ministry, even after the death of its founder, gives testimony to God's abundant blessings.