AFA Journal editor
Above, Dr. Rayburn W. McLeod
May 2018 – When a Sunday school teacher takes the role seriously, something good is sure to be in the works. In the case of Dr. Rayburn McLeod, that “something good” is a remarkable collection of comprehensive layman’s notes and insights on the entire Bible. The seasoned Bible teacher says he did it simply for personal growth and preparation for teaching his classes.
However, the result is two volumes – The New Testament: A Layman’s Commentary, and The Old Testament: A Layman’s Commentary. Together, the two books total over 1,500 pages. They are a remarkable library of extensive information on the 66 books of the Bible.
“I’ve known Dr. McLeod for decades as a man of faith and deep conviction,” said AFA vice president Buddy Smith. “But this accomplishment surpasses anything we might have anticipated. It is a phenomenal resource for students of the Bible.”
Coming to faith
“I was a high school senior at a tent revival when I understood what it meant to confess my sins and commit my life to Christ,” McLeod told AFA Journal. He had grown up in church and attended membership class at about age 12, but it is the high school experience to which he traces his personal relationship to Christ.
As his faith grew in the ensuing years, he studied for a career in education. After a full career – more than 40 years – as teacher, principal, and administrator in Mississippi, he added nine more years doing consulting work in Mississippi, Michigan, New York, and Washington, D.C.
“After Merle and I married,” he said, “everywhere we moved, I was asked to teach Sunday school – I guess because I was a teacher. That was more than 40 years ago.” Following that illustrious lifetime legacy, he embarked on the ambitious project that reflects his keen scholarship and attention to detail as he dug deeper and deeper into the Word of God.
“I didn’t have any intention of doing anything with this except to record my notes in loose-leaf three-ring binders,” McLeod said. “Then when I got through with the 66 books of the Bible, I would have a kind of spiritual heritage to pass down to my children and grandchildren. I never envisioned the final product that it has become.”
Intentions aside, after friends became aware of his notebooks filled with meticulous research, they began to ask for copies.
Finding a motive
The motivation that sparked McLeod’s monumental project is described in the introduction to his NT commentary. In 2004, as he prepared for a new quarter of Sunday school lessons, he was struck by the fact that each weekly lesson focused on a theme from a short, selected passage.
“The next week,” McLeod said, “the writer would skip a few chapters and repeat the process. It was my contention that those studying these lessons would better understand the Scripture and lessons if they fully understood what transpired in the chapters between these lessons.”
When he retired in 2008, he didn’t want to be idle. “I knew I wanted something to do that would engage me,” he said. Bible research was a project made to order for the longtime Sunday school teacher.
“My hope is that someone will read it and be drawn closer to the Lord or make a decision for the Lord,” McLeod said.
Book by book, chapter by chapter, Dr. Rayburn W. McLeod’s commentaries shine light on the Scriptures from a layman who has studied and taught the Word for decades. Charts and topical indices add practical value for Bible students. Both volumes will be available in early May at afastore.net or 877-927-4917.