In Memoriam: Harold S. Martin

August 7, 1930 – January 5, 2024

Ephrata, Pennsylvania

Harold S. Martin died, peacefully, Friday, January 5, 2024, at the Lincoln Christian Home, Ephrata. He was born in Ephrata, on August 7, 1930 to the late Noah and Helen (Sheaffer) Martin.  At the age of twelve, Harold accepted Christ as his Savior and later was called to be a minister of the Gospel, serving at the Pleasant Hill Church of the Brethren for sixty-two years.

Harold conducted Bible teaching sessions and revival meetings in several hundred congregations located in forty -three states and in numerous foreign countries.

Harold married Priscilla Miller on August 31, 1950. They were married for nearly seventy years when she passed away in June, 2020.

After teaching junior high school mathematics at Spring Grove, for twenty-six years, Harold took an early retirement to be able to devote more time to preaching and writing Bible commentaries. Over the years, he also wrote many articles for Bible Helps and publications.

He was one of the last surviving members of the prayer meeting held at the Ocean Grove Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in 1959 where Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) was started. He was first published in the 1950s with the booklet, What Happened to the Church of the Brethren?

He was the first editor of the BRF Witness  for  50 years. He wrote and edited the 18-volume Brethren New Testament Commentary, as well as commentaries on a book in each of the Old Testament genres. He wrote books on the New Testament Doctrines and Practices, major Bible doctrines, a complete survey of the Bible, and a guidebook for young men.

He traveled to 50 countries and all 50 United States, and preached around the world, in over one fourth of Church of the Brethren congregations, in each of the major denominations of the Schwarzenau Brethren, and in other churches as well. He wrote Sunday School lessons for Brethren Press, and did radio commentary for the International Sunday School lessons. Through the Bible Helps ministry, he was the most widely published and read Brethren author in history. He taught for over 30 years at the annual Brethren Bible Institute, and served as its first principal.

Brother Martin was elected to and served in the plural non salaried ministry for decades at the Pleasant Hill Church of the Brethren (now Pleasant Hill Brethren Church), near Spring Grove, Pennsylvania. He served on the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference Standing Committee and on the General Board of the Church of the Brethren.

Surviving are three sons: Stephen, husband of Martha (Minnich) Martin, Lititz, Stanley, husband of Fannie Sue (Kegerreis) Martin, Lebanon, Sherwood, husband of Sandra (Nell) Martin, Hanover, two daughters, Christine, wife of Dale Newcomer, Bowdoin, ME; Delphine, wife of Wesley Ramer, Gleason, WI, twenty-four grandchildren and thirty-nine great-grandchildren, and two sisters: Janice Martin, Lancaster, Jean, wife of Ralph Deckard, Lititz.

Preceding him in death in addition to his parents and wife, are his youngest daughter-Berdene Walmer; three grandchildren: Rachel Martin, Lynette Martin, and Samuel Walmer and two sisters, Esther Martin and Elva Kaucher;
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend Harold’s Funeral Service at the White Oak Church, 1211 North Penryn Road, Manheim, on Saturday, January 13, 2024 at 10:30 AM. There will be a viewing at the White Oak Church on Friday evening from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM with additional viewing at the church on Saturday morning from 9:00 AM until the time of the service.  Private burial for the family will be at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Spring Grove. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Bible Helps, P.O. Box 391, Hanover, PA 17331.

In 2023, Brethren Maine Missions (BMM) purchased the Building Materials Exchange.  The Last Sheaf Building Materials Exchange provides exposure and connection with the community of Lisbon while offering a variety of new, used, and salvaged building materials, tools, and supplies at greatly reduced prices.

Why “The Last Sheaf?”

The Last Sheaf is a reference from the Bible where God says:

When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

Deuteronomy 24:19 (NKJV)




   GOD is faithful! The sun shines and GOD is with us, the rain comes down and GOD is with us.


   Since we’ve taken ownership of the Last Sheaf BME, we’ve made roof repairs, insulated the ceiling, repaired walls, etc. There were times it felt like every step we took there was another thing to fix. 


   We have two people on staff (Craig Keeney and Peter Bucher) assisted by a tremendous team of volunteers. We work together to make repairs, do pricing and inventory work, assist customers and more.  Interacting with and helping customers is the highlight of our day. People come with material needs; they need product to build or repair their home. People come with spiritual and emotional needs, as well. We purpose to get to know the individuals who come through our doors in order to share hope, truth, and love.


   One individual who had visited the Last Sheaf a couple of times was loud, large, and in charge. He had a “Goliath” personality. He made me quake in my boots a little (maybe a lot). His language was at times not appropriate anywhere, but especially not in a public place. One day he was standing right beside me and was about to speak that which I did not want to hear.  In a very quiet voice, I called him by name and before I could say any more, he apologized and said, “You are right. I shouldn’t be talking like that.”  Then he launched into a spiritual conversation with me. I was totally taken off guard by the change. He has been a different person ever since. Now he is more like a “David” personality. I now look forward to opportunities to speak with him.


   Donations of products/materials as well as finances are always appreciated, but the prayers of the saints are as vital a need to the work at the Last Sheaf, as anything.

Just as in biblical times the last sheaves of grain from a harvest were to be left behind to benefit the needy, we are taking leftover building materials, tools, and supplies and making them available at greatly reduced prices to those in need.

Our Mission:

Our mission is to benefit low-income homeowners, and to reduce waste in the environment by repurposing surplus building materials, enabling low income homeowners to better maintain their homes.


Captivity… Dreams… Rulers… Fire… Lions… Prayers… Kingdoms. From a dedicated youth to a faithful sage, Daniel’s life stands as an example to follow.  Yet beyond his personal life, God gifted Daniel with a message of future events.  Though difficult to grasp, these events would shape the world for the coming Messiah and the Second Coming of Christ as King.


Luke presents a warmly personal and historically accurate account of Jesus as “the Son of Man.” This course will survey the Third Gospel, with emphasis on the unique events, miracles, and parables of Jesus found in it.


This class will provide a broad overview of general church history. We will then focus on the Anabaptist and Pietist movements, especially as they relate to the formation and development of the Brethren groups. This is a two-part class. Plan to take both parts.


This course is intended to lay down a measure in a world where truth is slippery and often subject to interpretation. Where “Christian Values” become a political slogan, and “good people” are our allies despite their faulty core beliefs. Where Facebook “friends” post memes about the power of God, despite a lifestyle that is anything but Godly. In the process we often fight among ourselves, doing Satan’s work for him. The purpose of this course is to lay the measure of Jesus Christ against the cults, religions, and worship in our contemporary world.


While Protestant translations of the Bible contain 66 books, the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches recognize additional canonical books as well.  Where did these books, collectively known as the Apocrypha, come from and why aren’t they part of our Bible?  How reliable are they, and what value is there in studying them?


The goal of this class is to acquire a firm grasp of the teachings and themes of these two general epistles. Peter covers topics from salvation and suffering to spiritual deception and the return of Christ. These letters are packed with warnings and encouragements for Christian living.


A detailed study of Jesus Christ and His relationship to the “I Am” metaphors in John’s gospel. Why did Jesus describe himself in these terms? How do they relate to each other? We will look at spiritual and practical applications to further our Christian growth.


Have you ever been visited by someone who said they wanted to study the Bible with you so that you might discover the truth together?  Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to have much in common with evangelical Christians, and they seem to be well versed in the scriptures.  But what do they really believe and how can we effectively witness to those who have been ensnared by this false religion?


While we may consider Hosea as one of the minor prophets, his message vividly illustrates the major doctrine in all Scriptures.  The theme of God’s unconditional love is magnified and extended beyond those deserving it.  God expresses tender words towards His erring people inviting them to turn from sin to reconciliation with Him.


This course will look at basic principles and polity of leading the local church. We will examine the balance between upholding a spiritually focused organism of ministry and cultivating proper order for effective organization. Practical applications will be emphasized. This is a two-part class. Plan to take both parts.


The Brethren Bible Institute believes in the discipline of the whole person (spirit, soul, and body). We will aim to train students not only about how to study the Bible in a systematic way (2 Timothy 2:15), but also how to live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world (Titus 2:12). God calls Christians to the highest of character when He commands us to be holy (1 Peter 1:15), and holiness requires discipline.

Indulgence in the use of tobacco, alcoholic beverages, drugs, profanity, and gambling are forbidden at BBI. Objectionable literature will be prohibited. Students are asked not to use the college pool during the Institute. Each student must be thoughtful, and respect the rights of others at all times, especially during study and rest periods.

A friendly social group intermingling of students between class periods, and at general school activities is encouraged. Each student should enjoy the friendship of the entire group. At all times, highest standards of social conduct between men and women must be maintained. This means that all forms of unbecoming behavior and unseemly familiarities will be forbidden.

Personal appearance and grooming tell much about one's character. Students are expected to be dressed in good taste. In an attempt to maintain Scriptural expressions of simplicity, modesty, and nonconformity, the following regulations shall be observed while attending BBI.

MEN should be neatly attired and groomed at all times. Fashion extremes and the wearing of jewelry should be avoided on campus. The hair should not fall over the shirt-collar when standing, nor should it cover the ears.

WOMEN should wear skirts cut full enough and of sufficient length to at least come to the knees when standing and sitting. Form-fitting, transparent, low-neckline, or sleeveless clothing will not be acceptable. Slacks and culottes are permitted only for recreation and then only when worn under a skirt of sufficient length. Wearing jewelry should be avoided on campus. Long hair for women is encouraged and all Church of the Brethren girls (and others with like convictions) shall be veiled on campus.

The Institute reserves the right to dismiss any student whose attitude and behavior is not in harmony with the ideals of the School, or whose presence undermines the general welfare of the School, even if there is no specific breach of conduct.

The Brethren Bible Institute is intended to provide sound Bible teaching and wholesome Christian fellowship for all who desire it. The Bible School Committee worked hard and long at the task of arriving at standards, which will be pleasing to the Lord. It is not always easy to know just where the line should be drawn and we do not claim perfection. No doubt certain standards seem too strict for some and too loose for others. If you are one who does not share all these convictions, we hope you will agree to adjust to them for the School period, for the sake of those who do. We are confident that the blessings received will far outweigh any sacrifice you may have to make. If you have a special problem or question, please write to us about it. To be accepted as a student at BBI, you will need to sign a statement indicating that you will cooperate with the standards of the School.