Dr. Wave Nunnally: Professor of Early Judaism and Christian Origins
March 26, 2012
Dr. Wave Nunnally’s love for the Scriptures has brought him to Evangel, where he has been a staple in the Theology Department for the past decade. Among his many academic accomplishments, the former CBC professor has studied Hebrew in Israel and earned a Ph.D. from Jewish rabbinical school. He has also published an extensive amount of literature including numerous books, book chapters and articles. Along with teaching a wide range of Bible courses, Dr. Nunnally directs Evangel’s Israel/Jordan/Egypt study trip program and teaches Sunday school at nearby Central Assembly.
When he’s not working, Dr. Nunnally loves playing sports and spending time outdoors. He enjoys softball, weightlifting and archery, along with watching action movies and the Outdoor Channel.
Why did you decide to become a professor of theology?
I sensed a call to teach the Scriptures when I was 19 years old as a freshman at the University of Richmond. At first I just wanted to understand the Bible better for myself. So I began taking classes in biblically related subjects, eventually majored in Bible, moved to Israel and did an M.A. in Hebrew language. I completed my Ph.D. at a Jewish rabbinical school. Throughout this 14 1/2–year process, I knew that every course I took and everything I learned would be helpful in more effectively understanding and communicating the message of Scripture to my future students.
What has been the most memorable moment in your career so far?
I live to see the light bulb come on in students’ eyes. This happens most often when I am teaching students in Israel and other countries in the Middle East every other year in Evangel’s Middle East Study Trip Program, which I direct. My most memorable moment as an EU professor was the first time a student turned to me in Israel as said, “THIS changes EVERYTHING!”
What brought you to Evangel to teach?
I wanted to work in a place where there is a real faith community, a place that would allow me to teach what I know best, a place that values loving the Lord with all our hearts and with all our minds (Matthew 22:37), and a place that would fully support my calling to research and publish.
What makes the Theology Department at Evangel unique from similar departments at other universities?
First, we are a department of believers who are serious and passionate about the Bible and following and serving Jesus. Included in this is a genuine love for and support of one another as brothers and sisters and colleagues. Second, we are among the most ardent promoters of a faith that integrates spiritual and intellectual pursuits. Third, we all believe and promote the idea that every Christian is called by God and equipped with divine gifts, life-experiences and educational preparation to be a person of substance, excellence and solid witness in whatever area He calls him or her to serve Him and neighbor. In other words, we patently reject any arbitrary, man-made hierarchy that ranks believers as more or less important based on whether they are in “official, full-time, professional/clergy” ministry or whether they are in education, criminal justice, social work, business, politics or the medical profession. Like the leaders of the first-century church and like the leaders of the Protestant Reformation, we avidly promote “the priesthood of all believers.”
What are some opportunities that Theology students have at Evangel?
They have the benefit of studying from people who have doctoral degrees in their areas of specialization. They have a large number of people with different areas of expertise and different sets of life experience from which to learn. They are constantly presented with opportunities to travel, study and serve across cultural and national borders. They are able to develop special skills in the areas of Bible interpretation, biblical languages, biblical backgrounds and leadership. They have a multitude of opportunities for hands-on experience in the many missions trips, regular community outreaches, and internships and volunteer positions in the many local churches in the area. And all this is in addition to the various leadership opportunities right on Evangel’s campus, such as leadership on sports teams, in the dormitories, special interest groups, student government and the like.
What is your favorite part about teaching here at Evangel?
Just being a part of the total Evangel experience: Stimulating and fun colleagues, inquisitive and capable students, a healthy atmosphere that promotes personal development and spiritual maturity. I love being part of a campus community that is concerned about and reaching out to the larger community around us. I love the encouragement here to see all of life as sacred, to live every area of life as worship, and to fully integrate spiritual and intellectual pursuits in a comprehensive love for and service to God and neighbor.
What advice do you have for Evangel students, especially those interested in the Theology department?
My encouragement to every student is to live a life of complete service to God now. See yourself as having responded to the call of God to be a student. Commit to this time of preparation with all your heart, doing it with excellence, not as a man-pleaser, but heartily, as directly unto the Lord. Embrace this period of your life as a part of the will of God for you, as His best for your life at this moment, so that you will be more fully equipped and thus more fruitful for Him, others, and yourself in the future. Love Him with all your mind, do everything you undertake with all your might and in the name of the Lord Jesus. Refuse to settle for mediocrity. Be a person of excellence, and you will never lack for opportunities to serve.