William B. Tolar of Fort Worth, Texas, a longtime professor of biblical backgrounds and archaeology, died Dec. 29. He was 90 years old.
Tolar was born July 5, 1928, in Jonesboro, La., to Peter Dane and Lora Stewart Tolar. At age 13, he began reading the Bible after a teacher told him it was the best-selling book in history, but 99 percent of the people in the world never had read it in its entirety. The experience changed his life.
He made a profession of faith in Christ on Easter Sunday in 1942, and one year later, he accepted God’s calling to vocational Christian ministry.
After ranking highly in an academic competition and being named Louisiana’s top high school running back, Louisiana State University offered Tolar a full scholarship, but he wanted to prepare for the ministry at a Baptist school. He earned undergraduate and master’s degrees at Baylor University. He continued his education at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), where he earned masters and doctoral degrees.
Tolar taught 10 years in the religion department at Baylor University and 38 years at SWBTS, where he also served as dean of the School of Theology, vice president for academic affairs, provost and acting president. He also taught as an adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University and as a distinguished fellow at the B.H. Carroll Theological Institute. He lectured in 53 countries on five continents, led more than 80 trips to the Holy Land, and was interim pastor of more than 50 churches.
Tolar was a member of Agape Baptist Church in Fort Worth. He is survived by his wife Floye Kimball Tolar of Fort Worth; son William and daughter-in-law Laura Tolar of Hurst; daughter Lora Mae and son-in-law Brian O’Riordan of Chicago; and two grandchildren.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – This article first appeared at BaptistStandard.com. Used by permission.)