Encyclopedia of the Great Plains

David J. Wishart, Editor

EPP, THEODORE (1907-1985)

Theodore Epp was the founder of the international radio broadcast Back to the Bible. Born in Oraibi, Arizona, on January 27, 1907, the son of missionaries to the Hopi Indians, after seminary he pastored several churches in Oklahoma. In November 1934, however, Epp was invited to preach a message on a local radio station and this event changed his life.

On May 1, 1939, Theodore Epp drove to Lincoln, Nebraska, to begin his radio ministry. He had $95 in his pocket, enough to pay for three weeks of airtime on kfor, at that time a 250-watt station. Less than a year later, the popularity of Epp's Bible teaching created an opportunity to release the program on a much larger station in Grand Island, Nebraska, where he moved. But Theodore Epp soon knew that Lincoln was to be the home of his ministry, and in 1942 his family and he returned to the capital city and began airing Back to the Bible on KFAB, a 10,000-watt station.

From these humble beginnings, the influence of Epp's radio broadcast rapidly grew. Today, Back to the Bible is heard on more than 900 radio stations, translators, and cable outlets every day. The ministry broadcasts in Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Italian, and twenty-five other languages from ten international offices. Theodore Epp's dream of teaching the Bible on radio has been expanded to include four different daily radio broadcasts, television, video, print, and the Internet. Theodore Epp died on October 13, 1985.

Woodrow Kroll Lincoln, Nebraska

Berry, Harold J. I Love to Tell the Story: Back to the Bible's Adventure of Faith. Lincoln NE: Back to the Bible, 1989.

Epp, Theodore. A Man after the Heart of God. Lincoln NE: Good News Broadcasting Association, Inc., 1965.

Ward, Mark. Air of Salvation: The Story of Christian Broadcasting. Grand Rapids MI: Baker Books, 1994.

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