William MacDonald

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William "Bill" MacDonald was an itinerant (OB) preacher, and an author of over 84 books, including Believers Bible Commentary which has been translated into many languages. He also served as President of Emmaus Bible College.


Bill was born on Jan. 7, 1917 on Blossom St., in Leominster, Worcester, Massachusetts, a son of William MacDonald and his wife Jessie Morrison MacDonald. The family emigrated from Scotland in 1907. When Bill was three, his father was employed at a piano factory. By 1930, the family was living on Raymond Ave., in Somerville, Middlesex, MA, and William, Sr. was self-employed as a furniture finisher, where he continued the same line of work in 1940, according to censuses.

Bill had an older brother Ian Morrison MacDonald (b. Dec. 25, 1914 Boston, MA - d. Nov. 17, 2003). Ian served with the U.S. Army from Oct. 14, 1952 until May 31, 1972.


Bill's father, William, was born on June 18, 1884 at Lewis Ross, North Dell, Barvas, Ross and Cromarty, otherwise known as Ness, Scotland, to Murdo MacDonald (b. 1843 Lewis Ross, Knockaird) and Mary Gunn MacDonald (b. 1851 Lewis Ross, North Dell). Murdo labored as a tenant farmer, known as a crofter.


Bill's mother, Jessie, was born about 1875 at Habosh Barvas, Ross Shire, in Scotland, a daughter of John Morrison (b. 1843 Habosh Barvas, Ross Shire) and Jessie (b. 1843 Galson Barvas, Ross Shire). John was employed as a crofter, also.


Bill died at 9:20 pm (PST) on Christmas, Dec. 25, 2007 in San Leandro, California and was buried with a military gravestone in Hayward, Alameda, CA. His memorial and graveside service are available at PlymouthBrethren.org, courtesy of Kevin Engle, along with many of his articles.


Refusing to accept royalties for his books, he established a fund for translating the commentary into foreign languages. Many of his books are also available as eBooks.



Bible Commentaries

Believers Bible Commentary

Believers Bible Commentary, Thomas Nelson Publishers. Edited by Arthur L. Farstad.

Whole Bible
Old Testament (1992)
  • Albanian, Chinese (two editions – Simple and Classic), Korean, and Spanish, Turkish and Urdu: see PlymouthBrethren.org. Kannada & Malayalam editions available from Roy T. Daniel. See The Brethren News.
New Testament (1989)
  • Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Burmese, Chinese (both Simple and Classic available), Hungarian, Japanese, Korean, Malayalam, Polish, Spanish, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese: See PlymouthBrethren.org. Bengali, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi and Punjabi (all Indian languages) available also thru Roy T. Daniel. See The Brethren News.


  • Grasping for Shadows



  • "Around September 11, 2001, the well-known American Bible teacher W. MacDonald spoke at a youth convention (subject of “total devotion”) and a conference in Salzburg. His sermons (with translation by Andreas Lindner) are recorded on this video DVD (running time approx. 6.5 hours)." Totale Hingabe.

Emmaus Worldwide Bible Courses

Emmaus Worldwide is a correspondence school and publishing house formerly known as ECS Ministries, and is headquartered in Dubuque, Iowa on the campus of Emmaus Bible College. The following courses were written primarily by Bill MacDonald (with others credited).

Bible Studies


Prison Ministry




Also See


Audio Ministry