Myklebust, Olav Guttorm (1905-2001)

Norwegian Lutheran Missiologist

Myklebust was born in Bergen, graduated from the Norwegian Lutheran School of Theology, Oslo, in 1929, and also studied in Berlin with Julius Richter and in London. He was ordained in 1930 and sent to South Africa by the Norwegian Missionary Society (NMS). After receiving a diploma in education at the University of Natal in 1931, he taught at the Umpumulo teacher’s college, and beginning 1934 he was its principal. From 1939 to 1974 he taught missions at the Norwegian Lutheran School of Theology, Oslo, and served as its dean. Active in the ecumenical movement, Myklebust attended conferences of the International Missionary Council at Whitby in 1947, of the Lutheran World Federation at Helsinki in 1963, and the World Council of Churches (WCC) at Uppsala in 1968. He was a member of the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism from 1961 to 1977. With the publication of his doctoral dissertation, The Study of Mission in Theological Education (2 vols., 1955, 1957), Myklebust was recognized as an international authority on the history and place of missiology in theological education. The founder of missiology as an academic discipline in Norway, he founded the Egede Institute for Missiology in Oslo and edited the Norsk Tidsskrift for Misjon from 1947 to 1974. He is considered the founding father of the International Association for Mission Studies, and he was instrumental in founding the Nordic Institute for Missiology and Ecumenics. He was a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and was a Commander of the Order of Saint Olav. An inspiring teacher, Myklebust demonstrated to his students the inclusive and global aspects of missions and the continuing relevance of the Great Commission. He wrote the history of the NMS in South Africa for the hundredth anniversary of the NMS. His Misjonskunnskap (1976) is a comprehensive textbook on missiology. His two volumes on the Norwegian pioneer missionary to South Africa H. P. S. Schreuder: Kirke og Misjon (1980) and En var den første (1988), are classics.

Nils E. Bloch-Hoell, “Myklebust, Olav Guttorm” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998), 484.

This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright © 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved.


Digital Primary

Myklebust, Olav Guttorm. “My Pilgrimage in Mission.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 11 (January 1987): 22-23.


Egede, Hans, Olav Guttorm Myklebust, and Haakon Falck Myckland. Hans Egede: studier til 200-årsdagen for hans død, 5. November 1958. Oslo: Egede instituttet, 1958.

Myklebust, Olav Guttorm, Clement M. Doke, and Ernst Dammann. Én var den første: studier og tekster forståelse av H.P.S. Schreuder. Oslo: Gyldendal, 1986.

Myklebust, Olav Guttorm. Det store oppdrag: Artikler i utvalg, 1938-1988. [Oslo]: Otto Falch, 1988.

_____. Et troems fellesskap: det Lutherske verdensforbund og de lutherske kirker verden over. Oslo: Land og kirche, 1970.

_____. H.P.S. Schreuder: kirke og misjon. Oslo: Land og kirke, 1980.

_____. An International Institute of Scientific Missionary Research. Oslo: Egede-Instituttet i hovedkommisjon hos A. Gimnes, 1951.

_____. Misjonskunnskap: en innføring. [Oslo]: Gyldendal, 1976.

_____. Norsk håndbok for misjon. Oslo: Egede Instituttet, 1949.

_____. The Study of Missions in Theological Education. Oslo: Egede Instituttet, 1955.

_____.The Study of Missions in Theological Education; An Historical Inquiry into the Place of World Evangelisation in Western Protestant Ministerial Training with Particular Reference to Alexander Duff’s Chair of Evangelistic Theology. Oslo: Forlaget Land og kirke, 1955.

_____. Vindu mot Afrika: Folk og kirke i oppbrud. Stavanger: Nomi, 1971.

Roksand, Bjørn, and Olav Guttorm Myklebust. Hva kan menighetene gjøre i abortsaken?: om abortspørsmålets teologiske, medisinske, sosiale, psykologiske, økonomiske og praktiske sider. Oslo: Diakonforbundet, 1977.


Bloch-Hoell, Nils. Misjonskall og forskerglede: festskrift til professor Olav Guttorm Myklebust på 70-årsdagen 24. juli 1975. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1975.