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Dr. Tom Constable, who received the David L. Edwards Servant Leader Award in 2001, begins each course by saying, “Some of my best friends are my former students … and I would like to develop a personal friendship with each of you.” He also ends the semester with a heartfelt plea that students contact him before they ever consider giving up in their ministries.
It’s no wonder that one of his biggest sources of fulfillment in his life is his students. Dr. Constable and his wife Mary, who have no children, have taken countless Dallas Seminary students and spouses under their wing—he through his connections in the classroom and she through her work with the Seminary Wives in Ministry (SWIM) program on campus.
“Not having children of our own has enabled us to get involved in the lives of students and alumni in a way we never would have been able to otherwise,” he said.
Each year they host over a hundred students in their home, and they regularly visit DTS alumni in countries including Hungary, Germany, France, and South America.
“It is phenomenal the way God is using these people around the world. And it is tremendously gratifying to have been part of their training. I believe these are some of the finest Christians in the world.”
Dr. Constable was born in the Chicago area, and his father worked at the Moody Bible Institute. Many of his father’s coworkers there were DTS graduates, and he was encouraged to attend seminary here. He attended Wheaton College and received degrees there in Bible and philosophy before he and Mary made the move to Dallas for his Th.M. in 1962.
Throughout his seminary career, the Constables expected that they would end up overseas someday, and even after he graduated, they continued to pursue possibilities in Brazil and the Philippines. He enrolled in the Ph.D. program at DTS and was asked to assist Dr. Campbell, who was then academic dean.
The Constables also became involved with a church plant in Plano, Texas, that started with two couples. When he finished his Ph.D., the church was still small and struggling.
“We felt this is where God wanted us to stay for the time being.”
Soon after, Dr. Constable began teaching in the Pastoral Ministries department. He was instrumental in the development of the Field Education department and the Center for Biblical Studies (CBS). Field Ed, which is now under the Spiritual Formation and Leadership department, was developed to provide field-based education that enables students to integrate classroom studies with hands-on ministry experience.
CBS is a lay institute, which ministers to adults in the Dallas/Fort Worth community who want to benefit from quality theological education without the cost and workload of graduate school.
Because of his passion for teaching the Bible inside and outside the classroom, Dr. Constable has taught rotational Bible courses at Word of Life Bible Institute in Hungary and has done some speaking for mission organizations.
“I try to encourage missionaries from the Scriptures … to persevere and not lose sight of what they are accomplishing. They are not ineffective or forgotten, and the results of their work are lasting.”
He has also written several books and made all of his extensive study notes available for free on the internet. He began this set of notes in 1984 for his students and has been adding to and modifying it ever since, including things that he expects to be helpful. His vast scholarship provides an expositional study of every book of the Bible, some of which have been published and translated for use around the world. You can find these resources at www.soniclight.com.
“This is one of the ways I think I’ve helped Christ’s church the most.”
The mission of Dallas Theological Seminary is to
glorify God by equipping godly servant-leaders
for the proclamation of His Word and the
building up of the body of Christ worldwide.