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Ray Frank Robbins remembered for years of service at NOBTS

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Ray Frank Robbins, former professor of New Testament and Greek at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, died Oct. 26 at the River Regional Hospital in Vicksburg, Miss. He was 87.

Robbins taught at Howard College in Birmingham, Ala. (now Samford University) from 1946-52 when he joined the NOBTS faculty. For 29 years, Robbins taught New Testament and Greek at the seminary. Shortly after his retirement in 1981, NOBTS trustees named Robbins professor emeritus of New Testament and Greek.

He continued to teach after his retirement from the seminary. For 14 years, he served as senior professor and visiting scholar in the department of religion at Mississippi College in Clinton.

Charles Ray, associate dean of the research doctoral program and professor of New Testament and Greek at NOBTS, studied under Robbins and later spent a year as visiting scholar at Mississippi College working alongside his mentor.

“My first class as a seminary student in 1974 was Introduction to New Testament with Dr. Robbins, and he served as the chairperson for my doctoral committee until his retirement,” Ray recounted. “I remember his easy smile, his friendly manner and his love for God’s Word. In his class on the [Book of] Revelation, he handled all the competing interpretations with grace and candor, a remarkable task considering the diversity of thought on that letter.

“Dr. Robbins ended most heated class discussions with ‘When I get to heaven, I’m going to ask John what he meant. If he tells me I’m right I’m not going to be surprised, but if he tells me I’m wrong I’m not going to argue with him,'” Ray said. “I have a feeling Dr. Robbins wasn’t surprised by much when he and John sat down to talk.”

Robbins authored several books during his career, including “The Life and Ministry of Our Lord,” “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,” “The Equipping of Disciples,” and Philemon in The Broadman Bible Commentary series. He also joined with Baptist statesmen Hershel H. Hobbs and G.R. Beasley-Murray to write “Revelation: Three Viewpoints.”

A native of Flomaton, Ala., Robbins earned master of theology and doctor of theology degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.; a doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Edinburgh; and a bachelor of arts degree from Mississippi College.

A memorial service is scheduled for Nov. 13 at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Talladega, Ala. Another memorial service will be Nov. 14 at 2 p.m. in Mississippi College’s Provine Chapel.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the scholarship fund established in his memory at Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35229.

Robbins is survived by four children, Dixie R. Schrier and Ray F. Robbins II, both of Talladega, Ala., and Cecil H. Robbins and John W. Robbins of Maryland; and 10 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Louise, and his second wife, Iris.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: RAY ROBBINS.

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