This week’s author interview is with S. M. Baugh, author of First John Reader: Intermediate Greek Reading Notes and Grammar and A New Testament Greek Primer.
- Question #1 — Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, family, job, personal interests, unique hobbies, what do you do in your spare time, etc.
I am Professor of New Testament at Westminster Seminary in California where I’ve been in one capacity or another since I arrived as a student in 1982. My wife, Kathy, and I have been married for over 30 years and we have three grown children. I am also a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. I just finished a commentary on Ephesians and have continuing interests in the Greek language, the kingdom of God (which is my next book project), and the book of Hebrews. I have indulged in lots of different hobbies over the years, but the only ones to have survived are gardening and maintenance of our house and property. We have 2.5 acres in a county area north of Escondido which we jokingly call The Lazy B Ranch because of all the work it requires to maintain. Kathy and I are gardening year round in crazy Southern California weather, squeezing apple cider with my family’s old cider press which we used growing up, bucking and splitting eucalyptus firewood from our trees by hand, building and maintaining sheds, furniture, etc. Things like car and motorcycle maintenance are not hobbies, but they also take some free time. We are anything but lazy out at the Lazy B!
- Question #2 — When did you first want to write a book?
Actually I didn’t want to write that book. I wrote the New Testament Greek Primer for our intensive summer Greek class at WSC only because the textbook we had been using forever by J. G. Machen had gone up too much in price to be affordable for students (it’s still about $90). I can’t say I enjoy writing books as much as I really love research and learning new things. It’s like being a detective sometimes, particularly with some of the arcane things which catch my interest that few other people investigate. Writing for me is just how I share what I’ve learned with our students and others.
- Question #3 — What book are you reading now?
I think it proves what a Greek geek I can be that I have two works on Greek word order and natural sentence division by my bedside, a print-out of Hebrews so that I can mark it up for things like hyperbaton and what is called in German Auftakt (“up-beat” or anacrusis). But I also have a biography of the church father, John Chrysostom, and a Walt Longmire novel by Craig Johnson as a fun book there as well, so I’m not completely off my rocker.
- Question #4 — What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Find what works best for you. I’ve heard the advice that you should write a page per day or such, but that has never worked well for me. I tend to immerse myself in the process and find it difficult to emerge for necessary tasks (distractions?). Over time, I have developed a routine, but it is my routine that works well for me not one that works for someone else. I’m not a great writer and my work and interests tend to be quite technical a times, but it’s what the Lord has called me to. Be yourself and true to that to which the Lord has called you is my advice.
- Question #5 — Favorite sport to watch? Why? Favorite sport’s team?
I’m from a small farm town in Oregon and my first degrees are from the University of Oregon where I discovered a love for biblical scholarship. So I follow most Oregon sports as a way to stay connected with my roots. Most people know about Oregon’s football team, but Ducks can also be pretty passionate about track and field. For example, Ashton Eaton, the Olympic decathlon gold medalist and world record holder, also grew up in a small town in Oregon and went to the U. of O. We love our Ducks!
Want to learn more about S. M. Baugh?
Visit his faculty page on his seminary’s website: http://wscal.edu/academics/faculty/s-m-baugh