Ray graduated from Wheaton College as a Bachelor of Arts, from Dallas Theological Seminary as a Master of Theology, from The University of California at Berkeley as a Master of Arts, and from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, as a Doctor of Philosophy. Pastor Ortlund was ordained into the Christian ministry by Lake Avenue Congregational Church, Pasadena, California, in 1975. He taught Old Testament and Semitic Languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois, from 1989 to 1998. His primary ministry through the years has been as a pastor–in California, Oregon, Georgia, and Tennessee.
In addition to numerous essays and articles, Ray has published eight books. His latest, Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel, was named “2017 Christian Book of the Year” in the category Bible Study. He also served as an Old Testament translator for The New Living Translation and The English Standard Version of the Bible. He contributed the introduction and study notes to Isaiah in The ESV Study Bible, and the introduction and study notes to Ecclesiastes in The Grace and Truth Study Bible.
In addition to serving as lead pastor at Immanuel Nashville, Ray is the president of Renewal Ministries and a member of the Gospel Coalition.
Ray and his wife Jani have been married for forty-seven happy years, and they have four delightful children and thirteen amazing grandchildren. Ray says, “I have the most wonderful wife, I love my kids and grandkids, and I love Immanuel Church. My longing is that God would use us for true revival in our city.”