J.W. (John William) McGarvey was born March 1, 1829 in Lexington Kentucky. He graduated from Bethany college as Valedictorian on July 4, 1850. For the next fifteen years, his life was given to teaching and preaching. As a preacher, McGarvey was no stranger to controversy, yet he always had a gentle way about his preaching and teaching. He took a controversial stand for allowing black Christians full use of the auditorium, in opposing Christians’ involvement in the civil war, and in opposing the use of the instruments in worship.
Beginning in 1865, he spent some forty years teaching at the College of the Bible in Lexington, KY. For sixteen years he also served as president of the college.
McGarvey is also said to be one of the most prolific and influential writers among the restoration leaders. Many of his writings are regarded as authoritative throughout the religious circles.
McGarvey passed away on October 6, 1911 with the words, “Lord, I come, I come.”