The Things That Remain

Larry Largent S’17 was driven by a love of biblical history, immersing himself in history and archaeology in the classroom and on multiple expeditions. Now his legacy lives on in a gift to Bethel Seminary—his library, housed in a resource center at the seminary, where it will help equip future generations of ministry leaders.

By Michelle Smith Westlund '83, S'21, senior content specialist

May 03, 2022 | 3 p.m.

Larry Largent

Larry Largent S’17 during a study trip to Turkey in 2016

Larry Largent was a writer and speaker who was passionate about understanding the biblical text in its original cultural context—in his words, “the visceral, rich, and vibrant world of the ancient near-east.” He loved history and archaeology, supplementing his degrees in those fields with six trips to Israel, including five seasons as part of the staff of the Harvard-sponsored Leon Levy Archaeological Expedition. A 2017 Bethel Seminary graduate, Largent was actively involved in seminary life as he pursued his M.Div., serving as a teaching assistant and providing a reflection at the 2017 student graduate communion service. Just a year after graduating, he was diagnosed with a serious illness, and Larry Largent died in November 2020.

Yet, like the living history he discovered in the archaeological remains he studied, Largent’s legacy lives on in the things that remain—his loving family and friends, his writing, and a generous gift to Bethel Seminary that will impact future generations of ministry leaders. A new resource center located in the center of the seminary’s office suite has been stocked with books from Largent’s personal library, equipping the seminary community with resources that support further exploration in biblical studies, history, and archaeology.

“Larry was known for his keen mind and dedication to his studies,” says Peter T. Vogt, Bethel Seminary dean. “His loss was such a tragedy for all who knew him. We are so grateful that his wife Erica has chosen to bless Bethel Seminary with his library. His collection of resources will be of great use to students studying in the seminary space at Anderson Center and will enhance their seminary education. We’re honored to have Larry’s library, and delighted to have this resource center available to the Bethel Seminary community. We will continue to remember and honor Larry as we grow this library dedicated to him.”

“We have spent these years at Bethel Seminary ‘for such a time as this.’ We need to take what we have learned here—how to approach the biblical text in a rigorous and theologically informed manner, drawing on our own experience of spiritual formation—in order to influence the church and culture through virtuous leadership.”

— Larry Largent S’17

In addition to his library, Largent’s legacy lives on in his writing. His blog Biblical Remains continues to celebrate his writing and teaching, and tells readers his personal story firsthand. In his written words, Largent continues to speak of his love of biblical history, and how it can enliven our spirits to the depth and breadth of God’s redemptive history. 

“I was born as a mason’s son,” wrote Largent, “but I grew up to love history, specifically God’s redemptive history. Unfortunately, the thought of studying history or even the biblical text in a darkened room somewhere grated at my ‘work with your hands,’ craftsman’s heritage. My solution was to do history with my hands, and to do biblical study with my feet. As such, I have devoted my life over the last decade and a half to studying the biblical text in its ancient context. After graduating…with majors in history and religion, I earned a Master of Arts…in Biblical Archaeology of the Old Testament and also earned a Master of Divinity from Bethel Seminary. During the last decade I have traveled to Israel half a dozen times. I have had the privilege of studying the biblical text with my feet at Jerusalem University College, and doing history with my hands for five seasons as part of the staff of the Harvard-sponsored Leon Levy Archaeological Expedition to Ashkelon, Israel. Traveling to Israel and experiencing God’s redemptive history in such a visceral way has changed my life. It has opened up the depth and breadth of God’s word in ways I could not have even imagined. As such, it is my passion to share that depth and breadth with any who would seek a better understanding of the biblical text.”

In the gift of his library, Largent has succeeded in doing exactly that. The Bethel Seminary community will be forever enriched by the things that remain as his legacy: the resources he collected during a life spent studying biblical history, and more important, the love of God and others that fueled his passion for that study.

Largent Family

Larry Largent S’17 with his wife Erica and daughters Maura, Alyse, and Lylah in 2017

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