Bryan Bible chair Davis, chief of sinners

6 years ago Triangle 0

Written By: Nathan Ecarma

Managing Editor

It was 5 a.m., a cold and dreary Monday morning. Bryan College was fast asleep. But Logos Bible software is up and running, as Dr. Davis stands at his desk ‘searching the scriptures’ with his four computer monitors.

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom Dr. Carl Judson  Davis–self-admittedly–is the foremost. Here’s why.

Growing up, Davis had a “schizophrenic Christian experience.” He went to a neo-orthodox church, which neglected biblical doctrines and accepted liberal beliefs such as homosexuality, and as a child he was educated by a fundamentalist school. He said, “No one believed the Bible at that church.”

As a 19 year old new believer, he met with the head pastor. After Davis suggested prayer, the pastor said, “Son, we take in over $100,000 a month. We don’t have time to pray.”

Revolting at the idea of an integrated public school, Davis’ parents enrolled him into an affordable fundamentalist Christian school during the 4th grade.

“There was a love for the Bible. But I tried to get saved a thousand times. I would pray the sinner’s prayer.”

His parents saw his sin, and so they had him hear many evangelists. He said, “I remember sitting at the balcony terrified, as he preached through that sermon on God judging.”

In retrospect, Davis understood his salvation to be fake. He knows because he only heard half the gospel: “No one ever gave me the full Gospel.”  

Abandoning any idea of a Christian life, Davis became a “pagan.” He said, “I lived a debauched life. I took handfuls of pills. I was involved with many girls.”

When his mother noticed his involvement with a girl, she interfered. Davis said, “I almost killed my mother.” During a fight, she screamed and threw a knife at him, and he went and took a gun pointing it at her. Only the grace of God deescalated that situation.”

Right before college he began to understand the sin in his heart and the depression he experienced. A fraternity at University of Georgia invited him to a party, and he went. He said, “I got so drunk that I passed out in the gutter at some sorority house.”

The next day, his Christian friends invited him to a football game. “It’s 95 degrees. Not a cloud in the sky. I’m as hungover as I’ve ever been in my life.” He witnessed his Christian friends enjoying themselves as he suffered from his hangover.

He said, “I’m about to die. I remember looking down that row and here were these happy people, and they weren’t trying to take advantage of each other. I thought, ‘who’s having a great life here?’

On his 65-mile drive to UGA he was saved. “What happened is, I was just praying ‘I don’t know what I’m doing wrong in this prayer, but whatever it is I want to do it your way.’” At that moment, he cried out to  God to take over and “he did.” A reformed campus ministry took him in at UGA and Davis attended a Baptist church whose minister had a focus on the original languages: “I knew then and there I wanted to study the languages.”

Davis has taught Greek and Christian studies for 12 years at Bryan College. He was born on April 18, 1963, to a prostitute and drug addict. He was adopted by a family soon after. His wife of 30 years serves as Office Manager and assisting accountant at North Shore Fellowship (PCA). He has five children: Elise, Jonathan, Christopher, Abby, and Alexa. He possesses degrees from University of Sheffield (Ph.D.), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.A.), and University of Georgia (B.A.). He specializes in Christology, Old and New Testament, and ancient languages.

As a professor, he prays his students understand the importance of volume reading the original languages and the glory of Christ. He said, “five years after a student leaves my class I would be totally happy if they could not remember my name. I want them to remember the greatness of Christ and that Christ is the key to understanding all the scriptures.”

With his prestigious degrees and knowledge, Davis is confronted with the sin of being puffed up. He combats it: “I believe Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the very first one. I ask God every day to help me believe that the hardest person for him to have saved on this campus is me.”

He said, “[Jesus told] his disciples ‘apart from me you can do nothing.’ That has been total liberation. Now I can go to Jesus with the hard work of confessing my sins and looking to him as the author and finisher of my faith.”

Christian Studies sophomore Gage Goddard, said, “His greatest academic achievement is that, through his teaching, his students have learned to love Jesus more.” Another Christian studies sophomore Luke

1 Timothy 1:15-17
1 Timothy 1:15-17

Langley, said, “I have greatly benefited from his wisdom and have grown to love Christ more because of it.”

Dr. Davis exemplifies the trustworthy saying outlined in 1 Timothy 1:15-17, and he lives in accordance with it.


Nathan Ecarma studies Bible, culture, and language. He serves on the Worldview Initiative and as a Managing Editor for the school newspaper, the Bryan Triangle. In between theological conversations, he enjoys binge watching Netflix and attempting to sing his favorite songs.  Ecarma, Nathan

Follow his Twitter: ecarmanathan