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John Albert Broadus was born on the 24th January 1827 in Culpepper County, Virginia. He was the fourth child of Major Edmund Broadus and Nancy Sims.

J. A. Broadus's education included a time under his uncle, Albert G. Sims. He was eventually sent home and his father thought he was expelled for poor behaviour. However, upon inquiry he discovered that Sims could teach him no more for he had taught him 'all that he knew.'

Broadus was saved when aged about sixteen during a meeting at the Mt. Poney Baptist Church. He was asked if he would not accept the promise of 'all that the Father giveth me shall come to me. And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.' It was then that he embraced the gracious Saviour.

When he heard a sermon by S. M. Poindexter, one of the South's most famous preachers, it became clear that he ought to enter the ministry. 'The preacher spoke of consecrating one's mental gifts and possible attainments to the work of the ministry. He seemed to clear up all difficulties pertaining to the subject; he swept away all the excuses of fancied humility; he held up the thought that the greatest sacrifices and toils possible to the minister's lifetime would be a hundred-fold repaid if he should be the instrument of saving one soul . . . when the intermission came, the young man . . . sought out his pastor, and with choking voice said: 'Brother Grimsley, the question is decided; I must try to be a preacher.''

Broadus studied at the University of Virginia and is considered one of the universities most famous students.

Broadus was ordained on the 12th August 1850.

On the 13th November 1850 Broadus married Maria Harrison.

He became pastor of the Charlottesville Baptist Church.

In 1858 Broadus was asked to become a founding member of the new Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Greenville, South Carolina. After a period of personal struggle with the offer, he eventually accepted the appointment and became a member of the faculty when the seminary opened in 1859. For 36 years he was the Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Homiletics and became a determined servant of the seminary.

However, the semnary closed for a period during the American Civil War and he became a chaplain in the Confederate Army.

The seminary reopened in 1865 and struggled to survive.

In 1870 he published 'A Treatise on the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons,' which is still highly regarded as one of the finest works on the subject.

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary moved to Louisville in 1877 where the seminary did much better.

in 1889 Broadus delivered the Lyman Beecher Lectures on Preaching at Yale University. He also became the second president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

John Albert Broadus died on the 16th March 1895.

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UPDATED: 18 April 2014

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