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, for 28 years, has been as a pastor in California, Oregon, Georgia and Tennessee.
In addition to serving at Immanuel Nashville, Ray is the President of Renewal Ministries and serves on the Council of The Gospel Coalition.
Ray and his wife Jani have been married for forty-five happy years, they have four delightful children and 13 amazing grandchildren.