Next fall, for the first time since 1999, masters-level students at Southern Seminary won’t be able to take Peter Gentry’s Hebrew class.

Dr. Gentry is retiring from teaching after 22 years of teaching the Old Testament, Hebrew and Greek grammar and morphology (word forms), various exegesis classes, and more at the seminary.

The bookshelves and stacks of books that populate the floor space in his office like a dense forest bespeak of a life given to research, study, and teaching the biblical languages. A popular question to ask Gentry is “How many languages do you know,” a question he’s never answered.

“Right now, I’m working in a dozen languages,” he said, laughing. “Counting them would be something like David taking the census.”

He points to the various sections of books on the shelves and floor: there are sections of Hebrew, Aramaic, Phoenician, Akkadian, Syriac, Babylonian, the Targums, the Latin Vulgate, the Dead Sea Scrolls and others. There are also dozens of books on topics ranging from medieval Judaism to geography, plants, and animals of the Ancient Near East, scores of commentaries, lexicons, and an entire bank of works on the church fathers and systematic theology.

Gentry has taught virtually every subject within the realm of biblical and theological studies, including both Hebrew and Greek at the doctoral level. It’s difficult to isolate one favorite class he’s taught.

“I’ve always been a big believer in the importance of the biblical languages,” he said. “The course that I enjoyed teaching most was probably beginning Hebrew. . . . It was always my desire to drive students back to the sources—the great cry of the Reformation, ad fontes—giving them skills to access the sources for themselves.”

Gentry joined the SBTS faculty before the 1999 fall semester. In addition to teaching hundreds of students at SBTS, he has written several books, and has perennially worked on scholarly projects in biblical languages, including directing the Hexapla Project—re-publishing critical editions of early fragments of the Greek Septuagint under the auspices of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies. He edited Ecclesiastes for the Göttingen Septuagint Series and is currently working on the edition of Proverbs and also writing a commentary on Isaiah.

During his years as Southern, Gentry wrote or co-wrote several important books, including Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants, a work he wrote with close friend and SBTS colleague Stephen J. Wellum. Crossway published an abridgment of that work in 2015, God’s Kingdom through God’s Covenants: A Concise Biblical Theology.

Prior to his coming to SBTS, Gentry served on the faculty of Toronto Baptist Seminary and Bible College for 15 years and taught at the University of Toronto, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Tyndale Theological Seminary.

A native of Canada, Gentry grew up in both the Philippines and Southern Quebec, where his father pastored churches for nearly four decades. Gentry’s father attended Dallas Theological Seminary and led a Brethren church then was called to a Bap- tist church. Growing up the son of a pastor shaped Gentry as a churchman which has been central to his life and ministry.

Professor Gentry and his family were members of Highview Baptist Church for several years and now belong to Franklin Street Baptist Church where Gentry teaches a Sunday school class he was instrumental in founding.

While he is retiring from full-time classroom work at SBTS, Gentry is by no means retiring from ministry. He hopes to continue participating in Ph.D. seminars at SBTS and will also teach classes as a visiting professor at Phoenix Seminary.