Harper's formal education is in the area of ancient Near Eastern languages. He received the Bachelor of Arts degree in Classical Greek in 1972 from William Jennings Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee; the Master of Arts degree in Old Testament studies (Biblical Hebrew) in 1974 from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois; and the Ph.D. Candidate degree in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1980.
In 1980, Harper began working full-time doing biblical research and writing under the auspices of his own private research endeavor--The Elijah Project. He is currently engaged in producing his own "standardized" translation of the Scriptures, which he plans to make available only on Amazon.