Dr. George William Knight, III, passed into glory on Monday, October 11, 2021 at his home in Lake Wylie, South Carolina. He was 89 years old, having been born on December 16, 1931 in Sanford, Florida. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Mrs. Virginia Knight (Sergeant), their children George W. Knight, IV (Mags), Margaret A. Clifford (Ron), Jennie K. Rotherham (Simon), and Hugh Knight (Trish), and numerous grand and great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his son Vann Marshall Knight (1955-2013).
A graduate of Davidson College, Westminster Theological Seminary, and the Free University of Amsterdam, Dr. Knight was ordained as a Teacher of the Word by the Presbytery of Philadelphia of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) in 1961. Later that year, he accepted a call as Pastor of Immanuel Presbyterian Church (OPC) in West Collingswood, New Jersey, a position which he held until 1965. From 1965 to 1970, Dr. Knight served as stated supply of Covenant Presbyterian Church (RPCES) in Naples, Florida. From 1970 to 1989, Dr. Knight served as Professor of New Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, then the denominational seminary of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (RPCES). The 38th General Assembly of the OPC elected Dr. Knight to serve as Moderator in 1971. In 1976, Dr. Knight transferred his ministerial credentials into the RPCES, and he later came into the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) as part of the “Joining and Receiving” action taken in 1982. From 1989 to 1994, Dr. Knight served as Dean of the Faculty at Knox Theological Seminary in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
In 1994, the Knights moved to Matthews, North Carolina, and Dr. Knight accepted an invitation to teach as Adjunct Professor of New Testament at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (GPTS) in Greenville, South Carolina. At the same time, Dr. Knight transferred his ministerial credentials back to the OPC, and he took up a stated supply position at Matthews Presbyterian Church (OPC). He later accepted a call from the congregation as Teacher of the Word when the congregation called Pastor Nathan Trice in 1996. From 1993 to 1995, Dr. Knight served as President of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), and he was a frequent contributor to the organization’s publications over the years. In 1995, Dr. Knight served as President of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). In 2004, he moved from Matthews Presbyterian Church (now Resurrection Presbyterian Church) to serve as Teacher of the Word at a daughter congregation, Redeemer Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Charlotte, North Carolina. From 2005 to 2012, Dr. Knight served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at GPTS.
Dr. Knight authored many books and articles (for a variety of academic and church publications). Some of his most notable books include The New Testament Teaching on the Role Relationship of Men and Women, Baker Book House 1977 (revised and republished as The Role Relationship of Men and Women: New Testament Teaching, Moody Press 1985); The Faithful Sayings in the Pastoral Epistles, Baker Book House 1979; Prophecy in the New Testament, Presbyterian Heritage Publications 1988; and Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles (NIGTC), Eerdmans 1992. Among his many essays and articles for both academic and church publications is an important work on church government, “Two Offices and Two Orders of Elders,” published in Pressing Toward the Mark: Essays Commemorating Fifty Years of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, OPC 1986. He has also authored a number of pamphlets treating topics of New Testament theology, church government, and the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
Dr. Knight is much beloved by the Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary community. We grieve, but not as those without hope. Rather, we grieve and rejoice in the gospel for which Dr. Knight earnestly and faithfully contended over many years. While statements of appreciation and admiration could be multiplied to fill many volumes in honor of Dr. Knight, the following three remembrances from his closest colleagues among the Faculty and Board of Trustees are included here.
I have great respect for Dr. Knight. After I had served as Chairman of the Board at Greenville Seminary for a number of years, Dr. Knight joined us. His great experience as Professor of New Testament at Covenant Seminary and Dean of the Faculty at Knox Seminary made it clear that he was the man to be our Chairman, so he and I switched places. He stayed in our home on numerous occasions, and since he was a graduate of Davidson College, he and my wife also had similar memories of that institution. He was a most gracious, godly man whom I was honored to be able to call my friend.
Mr. John Van Voorhis, Esq.
It was a privilege beyond measure to have known and worked with Dr. Knight on the Board of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Having known him as a world class scholar was intimidating. However as I came to know him better, I came to know a man possessed of gifts and graces belonging to another world. Dr. Knight was full of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and his character magnified the work of Christ in him. Holding his convictions strongly, he lived out those convictions with a gracious lovingkindness that endeared him to all who had the pleasure of working with him.
Pastor Jeff Kingswood
Dr. Knight was the finest example of a godly, Christian gentleman I have ever known. He combined a firm commitment to the truth of the Reformed faith with a wonderful gentleness and patience. He was a brilliant scholar with a pastor’s heart. His contribution to the nature and development of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary was inestimable. As Chairman of the Board, he exercised a profound influence corporately and more importantly as a wise counselor and friend.
Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., PhD, DD
Professor of Systematic & Applied Theology