In Memoriam: Dr. Simon J. Kistemaker (1930-2017)

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A New Testament scholar, professor, and accomplished author, Simon “Sam” Kistemaker was noted for his kindness, modesty, and gentleness of spirit. For 52 years he taught thousands of students both at home and abroad. Kistemaker, who lived in Largo, Fla., died on September 23.

Born in the Netherlands, Kistemaker immigrated with his family to Ontario not long after the end of World War II. He excelled at languages, and while a student at Calvin College was invited by then president Dr. Spoelhof to teach Latin and Greek. He went on to study at Calvin Theological Seminary and at the Free University of Amsterdam where he received a Doctorate of Theology in 1961.

After ordination in 1961, Kistemaker served the Christian Reformed Church in Vernon, B.C. Subsequently, he became professor of Bible and languages at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. Five years after the founding of Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) in Jackson, Kistemaker began his final and longest place of service as professor of New Testament, from 1971 until his retirement in May of 1996. Honored with emeritus status, he and his wife moved to Florida, where he continued to teach at the Orlando campus of RTS from 1996-2011.

One of the greatest privileges in Kistemaker’s life was to continue the 12-volume New Testament Commentary Set begun by Dr. William Hendriksen. The series, completed in 2001 with the publication of Revelation, has earned the acclaim and respect of Reformed and evangelical scholars and pastors.  

Kistemaker also enjoyed gardening, generously sharing the fruits of his labors with students, neighbors, friends and family. As well, he shared his wisdom as a faithful Sunday school teacher for many decades. 

Kistemaker will be lovingly remembered by Jean, his wife of 61 years, and by seven children and their spouses, 22 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.

About the Author

A former nurse and chaplain, Janet Greidanus is a freelance news correspondent and long-time writer of the In Memoriam column for The Banner.