John Macquarrie was born in Renfrew, Scotland on 27 June 1919. He was a man who remained closely tied to his Celtic roots and cherished his Scottish ancestry. Between the years of 1934–1936 John attended Paisley Grammar School. After attending this local secondary school, he enrolled at the University of Glasgow where he would end up receiving all of his advanced degrees (MA BD PhD DLitt). From 1945–1949 Macquarrie spent time in the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department and then proceeded to become a parish minister at St Ninian’s in Brechin.