A Great Man Has Fallen

On May 14 at 8:04 am, at the age of 92, Hugo McCord, a beloved teacher and preacher of the gospel passed from this life to be with the Lord. Though he had a doctorate degree, he never allowed his students to call him doctor, because he believed the principles taught in Matthew 23:7-10.
I remember in chapel one day, brother McCord quoted John 6 in its entirety – all 70 verses from no known English version. He was quoting from his knowledge of the Greek text, translating as he went. The Bible he held in his hand was actually upside down and opened to the wrong place. Quietly, confidently, deliberately, and reverently he quoted every verse.
Brother McCord will perhaps best be known for his translation of the New Testament, “The Everlasting Gospel” (the FHV, named after Freed-Hardeman University, his alma mater and publisher). In addition to the New Testament, this fourth edition includes Genesis, Psalms and Proverbs. The translation notes at the end of the volume are exceptional, a treasure in their own right.
Students learned best from brother McCord by asking him questions and listening to his answers. He was a master at word studies. His mind was exceptionally sharp, molded by hours and hours of study. He arose each morning at four to linger over the text and pray. Brother McCord was a highly disciplined student. He bought the truth at great price.
When he was young a bee stung him in the throat; this gave him an unusual voice. Coupled with his thick Mississippi accent, Hugo McCord was one of a kind in voice and often imitated. He knew how to put words together in expressive yet precise ways to say just what he wished.
His thorough knowledge did not lift his heart with pride. He was humble and contemplative. He gave great reverence to God and his word. Though usually the most knowledgeable man in the room, brother McCord never let his knowledge go to his head. He did not berate others or browbeat them for ignorance. He gently, as a man of God, corrected (2 Timothy 2:24-26).
Hugo McCord had the purest soul of any living man I ever knew. No one could doubt his devotion to truth or righteousness. He took much heat over his translation of John 3:16 (“his unique Son” for his only begotten Son). But brother McCord did not give an inch for a moment. He would be true to his God rather than yield to the pressure of well-meaning brethren. He was honest with the text, whatever the cost. His loyalty was first, last, and always to God and to Scripture. He swore to his own hurt and would not take it back (Psalm 15).
I thank God for his memory and for the many lessons I learned from him. As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
God gives us others, and they are great gifts! By brethren our lives are shaped and molded for service. How poor we should be without them.
Say thanks to a friend who has influenced you; you may not have him long.
with kind thoughts and love, Phil Sanders.

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