Born on January 31, 1934, in Indiana in the US, Dr Shaw was named after family friend, General Lew Wallace, the author of Ben Hur, and always known as Wally.
After studying philosophy, he was ordained as a Methodist minister. He moved to Edinburgh in the late 1950s to study theology at New College.
Attending St George's West Church, Shandwick Place, he met his future wife, Lesley Ballantine, when he walked in on a rehearsal for a concert that included songs from the musical South Pacific. Ms Ballantine was the pianist, and encouraged him to join the chorus and take singing lessons.
They married in 1959 and moved to New York, but he was sacked from his church after inviting a black American to take part in a service.
They returned to Edinburgh after their first child, Alison was born.
Dr Shaw became a youth assistant at St George's West Church.
He began writing the Living Bible teaching series of books, and when he was called to work at St Margaret's Church in Glenrothes in 1964 - the same year second daughter Fiona was born - he finished writing the best-selling series, as well as launching Operation Friendship, a global youth exchange programme that continues today.
He spent time studying along with his writing and received a PhD from St Andrews University in religious education, during the 12 years in Glenrothes.
His third child Andrew was born in 1966, and the family returned to Edinburgh in 1976 when Dr Shaw became chaplain at Stewart's Melville College, and later a headteacher of philosophy and religion.
After a road accident, he retired in 1994 and with wife Lesley, became involved in The Radicals, an amateur theatre production group interested in the radical views of figures from the Scottish Enlightenment.
Dr Shaw both wrote and performed in plays at St Mark's Unitarian Church, Castle Terrace, between 2007 and 2009 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
His work included plays about the teachings of David Hume, Socrates, Adam Smith and Jeremy Bentham, and the life and writings of Robert Burns,
He is survived by his wife Lesley, three children, Alison, Fiona and Andrew and his grandson, Christopher.