He followed a course of preparation for the ministry at Bala College in 1939-40, and he was ordained a minister after receiving a call to the English church in Montgomery. He remained there until 1945 when he went to teach English at Blackpool Grammar School. He was appointed to the chair of Old Testament at the United Theological College in Aberystwyth in 1947, where he remained until 1961. He was the Dean of the Theological Faculty of the University of Wales 1958-61. In 1961 he was elected to be the first holder of the chair of Religious Studies at Nsukka University, Nigeria, which had just been founded. However, his stay there was very brief as the extreme heat affected his eyesight badly and after a year he was forced to return to Britain. He was appointed to a lectureship at a teachers' training college in Edinburgh, and then in 1963 he was appointed lecturer in Religious Education at the Normal College, Bangor, and Warden of the George Hostel. On his retirement he returned to live in his old home in Newport.
He was an exceptional linguist, expert in a number of modern languages as well as ancient ones, and his mastery of the Welsh language was especially good. His main field of research concerned the works of the first Syrian church father, Aphrahat, but he did not publish any of the results of his research. Indeed, he published very little, only a few sermons and reviews in journals.
He m. Mary Elizabeth Jones, Blaenplwyf, near Aberystwyth, but her death on 22 March 1953 at a young age weighed heavily upon him the rest of his days. He himself d. 30 Nov. 1995, in Newport and his ashes were interred in his wife's grave in Aberystwyth town cemetery.
John Tudno Williams, Aberystwyth
Published date: 2009