My children often remark that from the time I was 5 until I was 47, I have always been a student. To this day, I still attend school, but now I go as the professor instead of the student. As I look over all these years from kindergarten to Ph.D., I have had close to one hundred teachers. I had teachers who taught me how to read, teachers who taught me the fundamentals of many subjects, teachers who taught me new languages and teachers who came along and took a particular interest in me as a student.
From all the teachers that I have had, Gordon Fee, Professor of New Testament Studies, stands at number one. I met him in my first year of college in the Midwest, followed him to a seminary in the East and read almost everything that he published. I have attempted to fashion my teaching and my preaching after this great professor.
I must confess that I did not receive my best grades from Dr. Fee. In fact, there were very few students who received A's in his courses. I managed an A minus and three B's. My first college course with him had a number of handicaps - I had spoken English for less than four years and he was an English teacher who became a professor of New Testament. I can still see my papers with extensive notes explaining to me the beauty of the English language and grammar. My second handicap was that I thought I possessed an adequate knowledge of the Bible just by reading it, but Dr. Fee told us on the first day that he wanted us not only to know our Bible, but to be able to present persuasively to others - believers and non-believers alike. My third handicap was that in the first two weeks I was late two times, only to find out that after the professor arrived in the classroom the door was closed, he started his lecture, and the late student was considered absent.
It was his strictness, his love of the subject and his meticulous involvement in the students' lives that attracted hundreds of students to come and study with him. Years later, while talking with another colleague, I found out that Dr. Fee wrote a new lecture for each class and lectured with extreme passion and eloquence as though you will never have an opportunity to hear such a lecture again.
In seminary I took three courses with him - 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians and New Testament Hermeneutics. Even though in the classroom he never finished his lectures on either epistle, he wrote one of the most extensive commentaries on them, so that those who studied with him could read the rest of his notes! However, what I appreciated in these classes was his ability to introduce to us firstly the big ideas of these epistles and then proceed to do exceedingly detailed work with each chapter. If one did not get all the scholarly details, each one of us left with great pictures which we could share with others. In addition to this, what we took from his class was his question - "At the end of your lecture, will your students be moved to stand up and sing the doxology?" So many times we did so!
And then he left our seminary and went to another seminary which gave him the opportunity to lecture there for one semester and afforded him the opportunity to travel globally and teach the New Testament during the rest of the year. He has indeed become an internationally beloved teacher.