Sometime during the early morning hours of Thursday, November 9, Homer Hailey fell asleep in Jesus, peacefully in his bed at home in Tucson, Arizona. Although 97 years old, he continued to study and to write until the very end. Hailey is known worldwide for his commentaries on the Minor Prophets, the Gospel of John and other biblical books, and he lives on in the hearts of tens of thousands who studied Bible at his feet from 1934-1973 at Abilene Christian University and Florida (Christian) College.
One of my own greatest blessings was studying under Brother Hailey for three years at Florida College, during which he led us verse-by-verse through the 17 prophetic books of the Old Testament, plus the New Testament Gospel of John, Ephesians, Colossians, Hebrews and Revelation. Homer Hailey was probably the third most influential man in my own spiritual formation and biblical understanding, surpassed only by my father, Bennie Lee Fudge, and A. J. Rollings (both now deceased),
Several years ago, Sara Faye and I have led out in the establishment of a scholarship fund at Florida College, bearing Homer Hailey’s name and in his honor, and we have contacted several others who have followed suit. If you would like to help honor this man of God in this manner, mark your check for “Homer Hailey Scholarship Fund,” and send it to: Director of Development, Florida College, Temple Terrace, Florida 33617.
As a tribute to my beloved professor, I reprint the following excerpt from my spiritual memoir, The Sound of His Voice: Discovering the Secrets of God’s Guidance. Rest sweetly in Jesus, Brother Hailey. We will meet again when the Last Trumpet sounds.
“After high school, I attended Florida Christian College in Tampa, Florida, which, after my first year, dropped the ‘Christian’ from its name but not from its character. Although it was a junior college, by planning carefully one could attend for three years and graduate the following year from another cooperating school.
“During my three years at Florida College, I had the extraordinary pleasure of studying under Homer Hailey through 50 semester hours of Bible. Although he already had more than two decades of college teaching under his belt, Brother Hailey always prepared afresh for each class, and he inspired the same diligence in his pupils. Brother Hailey’s Bible was ‘living, active and sharper than any two-edged sword.’
“This man of God led us verse by verse through all the major and minor prophets of the Old Testament. He was so saturated with their messages that he unconsciously adopted their tone, frequently addressing his own audiences as ‘my people.’ We felt the sovereignty of God, the accountability of individuals and nations, and the certainty of judgment. Homer Hailey quoted Amos, Isaiah and Habakkuk in his sermons as freely as most preachers quote Romans or John. When we finished with the prophets, he took us through the Gospel of John, the Epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians and the Book of Revelation. If someone had told me then that God would someday open doors for me to teach these same lessons in Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, charismatic, independent, Advent Christian and Episcopal churches, I could not possibly have believed it.
“Brother Hailey required his students to use a hardback edition of the American Standard Version with voluminous references and wide margins for notes. The idea, of course, was to transfer content off the page and into the heart. To this end, one of several requirements for earning an ‘A’ in Brother Hailey’s ‘Scheme of Redemption’ course was to memorize either Paul’s entire epistle to the Ephesians or to the Colossians, then recite it aloud, by appointment, to the professor’s secretary. I memorized both epistles and earned extra points.
“During my senior year at Abilene [Christian University], truths learned earlier about the basis of our salvation fell into place. Brother Hailey had shown from Leviticus the meaning of sacrificial blood — how the sinful, guilty worshiper brought the substitutionary offering of a life which, though amoral, was ceremonially acceptable. He had shown from Hebrews how Jesus Christ fulfilled the Old Testament sacrifices, by living in his human body a life of perfect obedience to God, then offering that life to God on the cross in place of ours. [This planted the seeds for greater understanding later how God counts as divinely righteous those who trust in Jesus.]”