By Julie Cole
passion for people, languages and culture is obvious when you look at Professor Marty Culy's latest books.
Throughout his career these interests have taken the Briercrest College and Seminary professor all over the globe, forged many friendships, and opened the door for him to write several books.
Two books: Echoes of Friendship in the Gospel of John (Sheffield Phoenix Press) and Luke: A Handbook on the Greek Text (Baylor University Press) were just released.
Culy worked in Thailand with Wycliffe Bible Translators from 1989 to 1993 and in 1991 began developing an innovative way of helping people translate the Bible into their own language. This process was so successful that when Culy returned home he found that other people groups also wanted this training. This led to him teaching this method in Russia (using a Russian interpreter) to an audience representing 43 different languages groups.
While studying New Testament at Baylor University in Waco, TX. Culy sought a dissertation topic that was "edifying and enjoyable" both to work on and to read.
He found his subject studying the different forms of friendship in the Greco-Roman world and looking at that theme in the Gospel of John. His recent release, Echoes of Friendship in the Gospel of John, is a revision of this doctoral dissertation.
He found that early Greco-Roman literature contained mythical kinds of stories that spoke of deep and intimate friendship. Although few people at that time had ever attained this level of "ideal friendship," he found that the Gospel of John uses that language to describe the intimate relationship that Jesus has with God the Father.
"It is a relationship of unity, mutuality, and equality" said Culy. "That same language is then utilized in the latter part of the gospel to depict the level of relationship that Jesus offers to (Christians)."
Although Echoes of Friendship in the Gospel of John has been used in academic settings, Culy thinks the book is a great read for a broader audience, especially those who are interested in the relationship that God offers to Christians.
Relationship also played an important role in the professor's other recent publication. In 2003 Culy co-authored the book Acts: A Handbook on the Greek Text with Dr. Mikeal Parsons, his mentor from Baylor University.
The success of this book led to Baylor University Press's decision to publish an entire series for which Culy serves as editor.
When the time came to work on the series' latest volume, Luke: A Handbook on the Greek Text, Culy followed his mentor's example and invited one of his former Briercrest students, Josh Stigall,to co-write the volume with him and Parsons.
Stigall, who followed Culy's footsteps to doctoral studies at Baylor University, credits the professor with being a great encouragement.
"Marty has been one of the most influential people in my life as I studied at Briercrest Seminary and now study at Baylor University," Stigall wrote.
He said Culy was the first person to encourage him to consider Ph.D. studies and it was a pleasure to be asked to participate on this project.
The collaboration actually started much earlier, as Stigall assisted Culy while studying in Saskatchewan.
"In 2003, I and a handful of other Briercrest College and Seminary students read through early drafts of Marty's I,II,III John: A Handbook on the Greek Text. At that time I had no idea that I would have the opportunity to contribute to another volume in the series."
Stigall added that the process of co-writing with Culy was an honor and that he benefited from his insight as they worked on the manuscript together.
"It has been a long and difficult process to bring the book to completion, but it has been great to work alongside Marty during the process," Stigall said.
"It is my hope that the volume serves as a useful resource for pastors and students as they read Luke's Gospel."
Culy has written or co-written three volumes of the Baylor Handbook on the Greek New Testament series. Along with Acts and Luke, he has also written the volume on I, II, III John. Although these three volumes are the only ones that Culy will write himself, he remains very involved in the task of overseeing the writing and publication process for those volumes within this series that are yet to be released.