Myer Pearlman: The Story behind the Foremost Assemblies of God Systematic Theologian of the 1930s and 1940s


This Week in AG History — October 27, 1934

By Glenn Gohr
Originally published on PE-News, 27 October 2016

Myer Pearlman (1898-1943) was one of the foremost educators and writers in the early Pentecostal movement. Born into a Jewish family in Edinburgh, Scotland, he moved with his family to Birmingham, England, at age seven. He received his common-school training at the Birmingham Hebrew School and excelled in his studies. At age 14 he mastered the French language on his own and later used this knowledge to act as an interpreter for the U.S. Army during World War I.

He immigrated to the United States (New York City) in 1915 and enlisted in the Army Medical Corps when he was 19. After the war, he moved to California where one night he felt drawn inside the Glad Tidings Mission (now Glad Tidings Church) in San Francisco. The people were singing an inspirational hymn called “Honey in the Rock.” After several months of attending the church, Pearlman was converted to Christ and baptized in the Holy Spirit.

He graduated from Central Bible Institute (CBI) in Springfield, Missouri, in 1925, and was immediately asked to join the faculty. In 1927 he married Irene Graves, whose father, F. A. Graves, had composed “Honey in the Rock.”

Pearlman was a premier Assemblies of God systematic theologian of his era. He wrote extensively and taught a variety of courses, but he is best known for his synthesis classes on the Old Testament and New Testament. He was fluent in Hebrew, Greek, French, Spanish, and Italian.

In addition to his teaching career, Pearlman was a prolific writer. For many years he prepared the Adult Teacher’s Quarterly and Adult Student’s Quarterly. He contributed articles to the Pentecostal Evangel, and during World War II he edited Reveille, a devotional publication for American servicemen. He also authored Seeing the Story of the Bible (1930), Why We Believe the Bible Is God’s Book (1931), The Life and Teachings of Christ (1935), Through the Bible Book by Book (1935), The Heavenly Gift (1935), the Minister’s Service Book (1941), Windows Into the Future (1941), Daniel Speaks Today (1943), and several other books. Three of Pearlman’s books are still in print and are available through the Gospel Publishing House 

Pearlman also wrote the weekly Sunday school lesson for the Pentecostal Evangel from December 1932-May 1935. A sample lesson found in the Oct. 27, 1934, issue is called “Christian Growth.” The lesson emphasizes that Christians first need to follow Christ’s example of being about His Father’s business (Luke 2:42-52) and then move forward in the plans of God for our lives and His church (2 Peter 1:5-8). In a nutshell, those two elements promote healthy Christian growth. Pearlman emphasized, “There is no standstill in the spiritual life; if we are not advancing we are retreating.”

Myer Pearlman was well-loved by his coworkers and by the faculty and students at CBI. Unfortunately, due to overwork and health issues, Pearlman passed away at the young age of 44. He is buried in Greenlawn Cemetery in Springfield, Missouri.

The 1942 CBI yearbook, “The Cup,” was dedicated to him, and later the school library was named after him. The yearbook praised Pearlman for “his sterling Christian character and capable ministry.” The dedication continued: “We have seen the Christ whom he serves in his godly life, and the underlying element of human understanding and humility of heart expressed in his kindly dealings with the students. His knowledge and versatility qualify him for the wide sphere of service in which he so ably participates. His ready wit and originality have given us many gems which we shall cherish, while his sparkling humor has been a source of delight to all.”

Read Myer Pearlman’s article, “Christian Growth,” on page 9 of the Oct. 27, 1934, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “How Shall I Curse Whom God Hath Not Cursed?” by Lilian Yeomans

• “Seed Thoughts,” by Alice E. Luce

• “Questions and Answers,” by E. S. Williams

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200

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