SANTA ANNA, Calif. (BP) — Robert “Bob” Lambeth, president for 38 years of the Lockman Foundation, publisher of the New American Standard Bible, died July 11 at age 81.
Lambeth served as the third president of the Lockman Foundation, a nonprofit, interdenominational ministry dedicated to the translation, publication and distribution of the New American Standard Bible (NASB), Amplified Bible and other biblical resources. He served as the foundation’s president from 1979 until his death, having been connected with the ministry since the 1950s through his relationship with founders Dewey and Minna Lockman.
“We mourn this giant’s passing,” said Malcolm Yarnell, research professor of systematic theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary who worked with Lambeth as part of the translation team for the updated version of the Amplified Bible.
Yarnell said the NASB “established the standard for more literal yet readable English translations in the past” and will continue to be “the standard for future orthodox translations.”
The Lockman Foundation began giving a leather-bound NASB to each graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1992 while Paige Patterson, the current president of Southwestern, was president there. The following semester, the foundation began a tradition of presenting Bibles to graduates of several SBC seminaries that has spanned 20-plus years.
When Patterson came to Southwestern, Lambeth developed a special interest in the seminary and its graduates. He and his wife Phoebe created the Phoebe Nan Wiley Lambeth Women’s Auxiliary Scholarship and contributed funds to, among other things, Southwestern’s Horner Homemaking House, the school of preaching, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible exhibition and the construction of MacGorman Chapel, in addition to supporting the Bibelseminar Bonn seminary in Germany.
David Allen, dean of Southwestern’s school of preaching who also worked on the Amplified Bible, said, “I know of no man who loved the Word of God, who longed to see it faithfully translated, and who labored to bring the NASB to bless the church more than Bob Lambeth. But I think I can hear Bob saying, as he echoes the words of Martin Luther, another Bible translator, ‘I did nothing; the Word did it all.'”
Yarnell said Lambeth “never wavered on the truth and never allowed the NASB to be caught up with faddish peculiarities. His wife Phoebe was an integral part of his ministry, has spent countless hours in tedious editing work at her husband’s side, and is one of the most precious human beings who has ever blessed us. We mourn with Phoebe and her sons, and we trust that Phoebe and [their son] Pike will continue to shepherd the NASB revision and the Amplified Bible….”
In addition to his wife and son Pike, Lambeth is survived by his son Todd and five grandchildren. The memorial service will be held at Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana, Calif., on July 29.