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Belmont University | Belief in Something Greater

Marty Bell

Dr. Marty Bell

Janet Ayers Academic Center 2022
Phone: (615) 460-6375

Standing in our kitchen looking up at my mother when I was three-years-old, I announced to her that when I grew up I was going to be a preacher or I was going to sing on the Grand Ole Opry. I will let you figure out which one of those came true. During the time that I was a Belmont undergraduate, I discovered my natural gifts as a teacher and I was inspired by my professors. Put quite simply, I love being a professor. Parker Palmer, my favorite teacher of teaching says: “to teach is to create a space in which the community of truth is practiced,” and “truth is an eternal conversation about things that matter, conducted with passion and discipline.” I say amen to that. To use another idea from Palmer, I participate daily in “the grace of great things.” Thoughts are powerful. Thoughts give rise to emotions and emotions give rise to behaviors. Being a part of the intellectual and spiritual formation of humans is what I enjoy most in my work in the School of Religion. As a scholar in the field of the history of Christianity, historical theology, and, for several years now, spirituality in the world’s religions, I revel in making the connections of mind and heart and seeing those connections come alive for my students.  Being a teacher of the love of wisdom, the literal meaning of doctor of philosophy, is my true vocation!


Ph. D. and M.A., Vanderbilt University
M.Div., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
B.A., Belmont College


  • “Great Awakenings, USA,” in The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology
  • “Carlyle Marney” in Against the Grain: Prophetic Voices in Baptist Life
  • “James Robinson Graves” and “Landmark Movement” in Dictionary of Christianity in America