Carol M. Bechtel has been helping people to find their way through the Bible for over 25 years. She is a widely-respected author, teacher, and public speaker.
Carol grew up on a farm in Fulton, Illinois—a place her husband and children appreciatively refer to as “The Shire.” Educated at Hope College and Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, she went on to earn a Ph.D. in Old Testament from Yale University. She began her teaching career at the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, Virginia and has taught at her alma mater, Western Theological Seminary, since 1994.
Although Carol has earned her stripes in the academic world, her heart is in the church. “My deepest sense of call has always been in helping people understand that the Bible is a book about and for them.” This calling has shaped her writing priorities over the years. “I love writing devotionals,” Bechtel says. “And I am obsessed with providing substantive, accessible Bible studies for intelligent, curious Christians.” To that end, Bechtel strives to provide material that is:
- Scholarly without being boring
- Relevant without being reactionary
- Accessible without being watered down.
Carol’s calling as both a writer and a speaker has taken her the world. Here are just a few of the places she’s taught over the course of her career:
- Preacher and Workshop Leader for the Montreat Worship and Music Conference (Presbyterian Association of Musicians), Montreat, North Carolina, 2000 & 2016
- Keynote Speaker and Preacher at Rathgar Presbyterian Church, Republic of Ireland, April 2009.
- Preacher for Convocation and Pastor’s School, Duke Divinity School, October 7-9, 2007 (with speakers Wendell Berry, Ellen Davis, Norman Wirzba, and Wes Jackson)
- Workshop leader at the Tenth Anniversary Celebration of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Pretoria, South Africa, March 2005. (Workshop title: “Sowing Tears, Reaping Joy: The Bible and Brahms’ Requiem.”)
- Keynote Bible Study Leader Church-Wide Gathering 2000, Presbyterian Women, Louisville, Kentucky
Carol lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband, Tom. They have four children and four grandchildren. She enjoys cooking, gardening, singing, and playing the Celtic harp.