Thursday, February 18, 2021

James Michael Efird, professor emeritus at Duke Divinity School, died Feb. 17. He was 88.

Efird, more familiarly known as Mickey, was born and reared in Kannapolis, N.C. He began teaching in the Divinity School as a graduate student in 1958, joined the faculty full time in 1962, and taught Greek and biblical studies to generations of students. He earned his M.Div. at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. at Duke University.

Efird was an ordained Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) minister and served for nearly 50 years as an interim supply pastor for various churches. Committed to making the Bible understandable and properly understood for pastors and laity alike, he was extremely active in the Divinity School Lay Academy program and taught in churches of many denominations throughout North Carolina and elsewhere.

He first taught in the United Methodist Church's Course of Study program in 1966 and continued to do so for many years, even in retirement. He wrote 13 books and more than 60 articles, many of which can be found in the Harper-Collins One Volume Bible Dictionary. Encouraged by his father, Efird was a loyal Blue Devils fan for more than 60 years.