Frederick J. Gaiser
Professor Emeritus, Old Testament; Editor, Word & World

In his classes on the Old Testament, Gaiser tries to teach his students the importance of "spending sufficient time with the Bible so they can learn to hear it speak."

As a research chemist, Fred Gaiser studied physical change and transformation. In his personal life, he has also experienced the effects of change, as he moved first from industry to the seminary, then from the University of Heidelberg where he did his doctoral studies to Humboldt, S.D., where he served as pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church for five years before coming to Luther Seminary in 1973.

During the mid-1990s, Gaiser served as visiting professor at Africa University and the University of Zimbabwe. He calls those years "life-transforming." There he found "an incredible sense of Christian community. Most Africans have a direct sense of God's involvement in daily life. I found it profoundly moving and inspiring, and it brought me closer to the experience of the biblical world."

Gaiser tries to teach his Old Testament students the importance of "spending sufficient time with the Bible so they can learn to hear it speak." This is particularly important for pastors and church leaders who interpret the Bible in teaching and preaching. "As Christians," he noted, "we read the Bible for ourselves. As students, teachers, and pastors, we must also learn to read the Bible for the sake of others."

At Luther, Gaiser is committed to combining the academic rigor he experienced in Germany with the simple and profound proclamation of the gospel that he witnessed in Africa. In a seminary of the church, he observes that academic discipline and confessional theology can merge into a seamless whole. Gaiser now puts together his biblical study and commitment to proclamation as he teaches in the D.Min. program in Biblical Preaching.

The commitment to serious theological work for the sake of the church is also the concern of Word & World: Theology for Christian Ministry, the seminary's quarterly journal, edited by Gaiser. "Both the 'and' and the 'for' in our title are intentional," he says. "The conversation between word and world is open and capable of mutual surprise. Yet the conversation has a purpose; it is for ministry, for the gospel, for God's people."