I met Nick Kalivoda in 1989.
I was in the midst of a very tumultuous time of my life. I was a 19-year-old college computer programming student. Nick was a 67-year-old Bible teacher.
The meeting had been arranged by my family, in an attempt to get through to me. But I was too intimidated to be reached. Not that he was intimidating, but that didn’t stop me from being afraid of him for no reason.
Years later, after coming to my senses, I learned what an absolute jewel he was. This was after I let go of all the bitterness I had harbored over all the things my family had tried during that time, trying to reach me. Nothing bad, but I was bitter anyway. I finally got over myself, and forced myself to look at it all through more objective eyes. I was royally messing up, and they were trying to keep me from royally messing up for life.
But this post is not about me. It’s about Nick. Nick, who is now in the arms of our beloved Savior Jesus Christ.
Nick grew up in a Catholic family, was born again as a teenager, and later especially enjoyed teaching about God’s grace. He taught the Bible for decades, tirelessly. He recorded his lessons so those in his classes could review them. Then those in his classes began buying copies for others.
He taught some topical studies, but many of his teachings were verse-by-verse through entire books of the Bible. He believed, as we do, that the Bible is the very Word of God, and he treated it accordingly. He used proper methods of study, especially stressing context, since the Bible can be made to say anything, if you take a bit of it out of context.
A memorial service was held for him, and I obtained a copy of the program:
Some 20 years ago, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He fought it and taught for all this time. As he got older, his stamina diminished, and he taught less often. But he had already raised up and taught other men, so they could teach as faithfully to the scriptures as he.
He was the quintessential contradiction to the slick and showy tactics of the innumerable hucksters currently shepherding and deceiving the church. His quiet speech belied his genuinely authoritative presence… authoritative because he was so thoroughly steeped in God’s Word, yet so humble and loving a man. Technology passed him by. To the last lesson he taught, he continued to use the overhead projector that we who are old enough will remember from our classrooms at school. His overheads were just as flashy — typed Bible verses, with the occasional typed quote from another source, and the exceedingly rare simple diagram.
He did finally make his lessons available on CD, as well as cassette.
Also in contrast to the aforementioned hucksters, he never took a dime from the ministry (not that paying a pastor is wrong; that’s another subject). Prices of recordings covered the cost of replacement materials. Donations helped rent space for the study, as attendance was frequently well over 80, and also helped air the lessons on several radio stations. Any extra went not to him, but to missions.
Thanks to his foresight, the study continues with the men he trained, as do the radio broadcasts, and the missions support.
The two booklets he wrote, “Grace” and “Heaven’s Password”, can be downloaded for free at his ministry’s website I have had linked in my right sidebar from the beginning: Radio Bible Courses.
There are also many study materials available for order, each of which is available on MP3 CD, in addition to cassettes, which Nick never abandoned, in spite of the fact that they cost a lot more. I don’t even have a cassette player any more! But I guess enough people do.
There is also a full DVD hermeneutics course taught by Dr. Earl Radmacher. Hermeneutics is Bible interpretation… so this course teaches how to “rightly divide” or correctly interpret the Bible. As I mentioned before, the Bible can be made to say anything, when pulled out of context and edited with enough ellipsis points. This course teaches how to study it so you do not misinterpret it. This is a Bible college – level course, on 27 DVDs, with a workbook on CD.
It seems pricey, but it’s a lot cheaper than Bible college. I plan to have my children take this course, in addition to as many of Nick’s classes on CD as possible.
*sigh* I didn’t really mean to go into all that… I guess it’s just my excitement about the teaching. It’s just excellent! And the tremendous effect he has had on my family. He will be so very missed by so very many, but we who trust Jesus as our Savior will see him again one day, and it will be wonderful to see him well.
The full and truly amazing life of Nick Kalivoda is summarized in his obituary.