John Flipse Walvoord was born on May 1, 1910, in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, United States. He was the youngest of three children of John Garrett Walvoord, a school teacher, and Mary Walvoord. He was raised in a home that valued education in general and religious training in particular. During his mother's difficult pregnancy, her doctors advised an abortion; however, because of their conviction that the child was a gift from the Lord, they brought John to term. The family was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, his father was an elder and Sunday school superintendent. His parents determined that their children would be reared on the Westminster Shorter Catechism and Scripture memory.