John MacArthur was born in Los Angeles, California, on June 14, 1939, the son of acclaimed preacher, Jack MacArthur, and his wife, Irene. After attending Bob Jones University and transfering to Los Angeles Pacific College, he went to Talbot Theological Seminary in La Mirada, where he obtained his Masters of Divinity and graduated with honors. He became the third pastor at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, in 1969, a fifth generation preacher. He married Patricia Sue Smith in August of 1973 (they now have four grown children and thirteen grandchildren), and in 1985 MacArthur became the president of The Master's College, founding The Master's Seminary a year later. He also created Grace to You, a daily radio program that now broadcasts throughout the world, with almost 2,000 offices in such diverse places as Australia, Europe, India, and South Africa.
He has written over 75 Bible-based books, the most notable being the MacArthur Study Bible, the MacArthur Commentary Series, and the best-seller, The Gospel According To Jesus. Several of his books have caused controversy in the evangeical church, and he was involved in a 1979 trial to testify as to the legitmacy of using the Bible in counseling sessions. An advocate of expository preaching, MacArthur's theology is a mix of several sources, resulting in what he hinself describes as a "leaky dispensationalist". He strongly supports using the Bible as the main tool in counseling. He still serves as church paster and college president, as well as author, radio and conference speaker, and Chaplain for the Los Angeles police department.