Highly celebrated Christian publishing pioneer Kenneth N. Taylor died June 10 after six decades in ministry. His life leaves us much to emulate. Taylor's extraordinary integrity and humility seasoned his entrepreneurial drive and publishing skills, resulting in a lifetime of creativity and effectiveness.

In our self-centered culture, Taylor looms large as a man who passionately lived out his faith. The author of the Living Bible continually attempted to shape his life, not only according to its promises, but also its hard truths, demands, and challenges:

Vision. He had seen how the Bible changed people's lives. But too many couldn't understand what they were reading. He solved that problem. He then recast his vision globally, undertaking Bible translation and distribution worldwide. Ultimately, his passion was for people, not projects. He longed to see the Scriptures come alive in readers.

In his quest to follow God's guidance, he showed steady resilience. Taylor experienced business decisions gone bad, as well as the pressures and disappointments of raising a large family. In publishing and through 65 years of marriage, he showed the resilience needed for "a long obedience in the same direction."

Money. He never flinched from the Bible's tough statements. Jesus once said, "Watch out! Be on guard against all sorts of greed." Taylor took that to heart. When he had the chance to become very rich from the Living Bible's financial success, he wouldn't touch the money personally, believing it was God's Word and God's money. Over the years, he continued to live sacrificially, donating millions of dollars toward spreading the gospel through the Word of God.

Ego. Taylor led an extraordinary life. Yet in his autobiography My Life: A Guided Tour, he writes mostly of ordinary struggles, his business failures, his own desires for success. He faced the brutal facts of the human condition in his own heart.

Zondervan has just published The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham as part of the 50th-anniversary celebrations of Christianity Today, which Graham founded in 1956. Authors Harold Myra and Marshall Shelley saw the same kind of realism in Billy Graham as in Taylor. Both achieved enormous success. But both also recognized deep in their souls that we all are sinners.

The more one looks into the lives of Ken Taylor and his good friend Billy Graham, the more one sees men committed to wrestling with God over these issues, and their desire to have redeemed egos. Over and over again, they made decisions diametrically opposite to those made by CEOs now embroiled in corruption scandals, who acted out of greed and self-interest.

Love. Taylor led in love. He did not attack his critics. His driving passion was love for God and others.

At his memorial service, his 10 children and 28 grandchildren rose to call him blessed, as did his colleagues and friends. If the gospel is truly good news, and the Bible the conveyer of it, then in love, Taylor shared that with everyone he could.

In his CT review of Taylor's autobiography, Tim Stafford said, "We see that God has done wonderful things through Taylor. But more than that, we rekindle a gratefulness that there are men like Ken Taylor. Heroes inspire hope that we can be better people than we are. Taylor, then, must be a hero."

Related Elsewhere:

Other articles from CT, and CT sister publications, about Taylor include:

Ken Taylor: God's Voice in the Vernacular | Although his work has made him famous, he remained a retiring and modest figure. (October 5, 1979)
Ken Taylor, Translator of The Living Bible, Dies at 88 | Founder of Tyndale House Publishers, Christian Booksellers Association, was driven by passion for Bible. (June 10, 2005)
The Living Bible's Modern Hero | Ken Taylor's autobiography shows a man who makes nothing of an extraordinary life. (April 6, 1992)
Ken Taylor: Giving The World Good Things to Read | How the translator of The Living Bible and founder of Today's Christian has helped Christians of all ages grow. (Today's Christian, September/October 1993)

Tyndale House Publishers has put together a site in memory of Taylor.

Wheaton College has a collection of Ken Taylor's writings and a short biography.

In an article about The Living Bible, Books & Culture editor John Wilson says the impact of Ken Taylor's work extended far beyond the fortunes of The Living Bible.

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