Dr. Peter Gurry, Part II—The Rest of the Story
“Tyndale House is a unique evangelical institution,” says Dr. Peter Gurry, Assistant Professor of New Testament at Phoenix Seminary. “Everyone shares love for the gospel — but also, love for good, respectable, responsible work. That’s why the best evangelical scholars go there to do their research.”
Dr Gurry is speaking alongside Tyndale House Principal Dr. Peter Williams, at Responding to Bible Skepticism, an apologetics event held at Scottsdale Bible Church, in Scottsdale Arizona. As a Tyndale House alum he has very fond memories of his time in Cambridge. “While working on my Ph.D. at the library, I was challenged in the best way possible. Twice daily, they hosted teatime, when everyone took a break,” he recalls. Only really, they didn’t. “I was consistently asked probing questions over coffee, and grilled by evangelical scholars who helped me think through what I was working on. Those years of challenging questions at teatime equipped me to pass my oral defense and obtain my Ph.D. We have a saying among those studying at the library, ‘We know that people finish their dissertations at other places, we just don’t know how.’
“There is a deep concern for the Scriptures at Tyndale House, and for strengthening the Church, as well as resourcing top-tier academics. Take a look at the books in your pastor’s library, many were written in part or whole by scholars at Tyndale House.
“I know Tyndale House isn’t a school, but in a lot of senses, it is an educational institution. It is a biblically supportive environment that is equally academically rigorous — your ideas will be scrutinized because they care very much about truth.
“It’s easy to talk about how great the library is, and how accessible the books are. Those things are true, but the most important aspect is the interaction with other Ph.D. students. I was able to rub shoulders with the best intellectual scholars in Britain and in the world, and conversations about biblical interpretation are invaluable. I’d look around the room at teatime and see people with such vibrant faith, a strong love for the Church and the Lord. They study the Bible at the highest level and still value it as the Word of God. It was very strengthening and encouraging as a new Ph.D. student, to have that kind of ballast.
“My first week at Tyndale House was in the summer. In lieu of regular chapels, they held prayer meetings. I was so impressed. People were praying for others all over the world, for missionaries, and that the gospel would go out and not be hindered. I thought most prayers would be for the scholars and their studies; there was some of that, but more often there was real, authentic concern for the Church and God’s people around the world.
“This clarified my perspective and the ultimate reason for my higher education. It was not to make a name for myself, or impress my Cambridge faculty, but to serve God’s people. Scholarship was a means to that end, not an end to itself. One of the unique temptations to academic research is self-focus, a desire to do a good job to impress the right people. Tyndale House helped me focus on my audience of One, and honoring God in my work.”
Since completing his Ph.D. — across the ocean from Cambridge, in Scottsdale, Arizona, Dr. Gurry believes that God is using the roots established at Tyndale House to impact his students in ways he may never see. “I’m now involved with teaching students and preparing pastors, missionaries, youth ministries, counselors, parachurch ministries, and military chaplains. They are stationed all over the world and will serve in ways I never will.” The information he shares bears fruit in the lives of students now, and Lord willing will continue in their own ministries locally, nationally, and throughout the world.
His Tyndale House training also pours into the Gurry family’s local church. “I teach adult Sunday School at a lay level, speak at camps, and teach 3rd-5th graders the Old Testament.”
When we spoke to Dr. Gurry, he was planning to teach the gospels that Sunday, and recalls, “These are things I learned during Lunch-Hour Reading Group, at Tyndale House. Several Ph.D. students writing dissertations were in that group. Because of Lunch-Hour Reading Group, I learned about the origins of the gospel and can now share these truths with people at my church. These are a few of the many intangibles of Tyndale House.”
Thankfully, what happens at Tyndale House does not stay at Tyndale House. The purpose of research and study in the library is to benefit the Church worldwide.
“…So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:11).”
Peter Gurry’s account exemplifies Tyndale House’s widespread biblical influence. Your generous support provides for study and research ultimately taking the truth of God’s Word to the ends of the earth. Would you consider a generous gift toward the work and research of Tyndale House? Donate now to American Friends of Tyndale House, Cambridge.
Books authored by Dr. Peter Gurry
1. Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism Paperback — by Elijah Hixson (Editor), Peter J. Gurry (Editor), Daniel B. Wallace (Foreword)
2. A New Approach to Textual Criticism: An Introduction to the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method by Tommy Wasserman (Author), Peter J. Gurry (Author)
3. A Critical Examination of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method in New Testament Textual Criticism, (New Testament Tools, Studies and Documents)
by J. Peter Gurry (Author), Author (Editor)