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Ralph Martin's Online Memorial Photo

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Memorial Biography

"Dr. Ralph P. Martin, interim pastor at ABC (1971-1972) and renowned biblical scholar, passed away last weekend at the age of 87. Funeral services will be held Monday in the UK. He is survived by his wife, daughters, grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren. Dr. Martin served as a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, Azusa Pacific Graduate School of Theology, and the University of Sheffield, England, and was the author and/or editor of numerous books and commentaries on the New Testament."


Fuller Theological Seminary Mourns the Passing of Former Professor, Ralph Martin

Pasadena -- Ralph Martin, former professor of New Testament and director of the Graduate Studies Program at Fuller Theological Seminary, passed away on February 25, 2013 after a two year battle with lymphoma. He was 87-years-old.

Martin was highly regarded in the United States and Europe for his academic work and writings on the New Testament. He blessed Fuller Seminary for decades with his teaching and mentoring of doctoral students.

"We are so sad to learn of Ralph Martin's passing," said Fuller President Richard J. Mouw. "He was an outstanding New Testament scholar and author, and he significantly impacted the lives of so many students and others in the Fuller community and beyond. He will be greatly missed."

Martin produced numerous scholarly works throughout his life and brought to Fuller a passion for both teaching and New Testament scholarship. Some of the classes he taught at Fuller Seminary included: "Paul in Prison," "Pauline Theology," and "Worship in the New Testament"—a study, no doubt, that was based in part on his Ph.D. thesis titled "Philippians 2:5-11 in recent interpretation and in the setting of early Christian worship."

As director of the Graduate Studies Program responsible for Ph.D. programs at Fuller, he also mentored a countless number of students, who are doing important work both at Fuller and around the world today.

"There is so much good to say about my friend Dr. Ralph Martin, with whom I served at Fuller during my time as Dean of the School of Theology," said Dean Emeritus Robert Meye. "Ralph's attributes ranged all the way from being a most learned and prolific scholar to being the epitome of Christian gentlemen—and points in between and beyond!"

Meye remembers Martin as a widely learned scholar of biblical and theological studies, who contributed significantly to the formation of ministers through a lifetime of service, and a mentor to many current teachers in the field of New Testament studies. He also recalled that Martin was a "devoted servant of Christ and minister to the body of Christ worldwide."

A native of the United Kingdom, Martin earned both his BA and MA at the University of Manchester. He was awarded his Ph.D. at the University of London, Kings College. He was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1949 and spent 10 years in ministry in the U.K.

In addition to his Ph.D. thesis, which was published by the Cambridge University Press, he wrote a number of commentaries and study books, and contributed to numerous periodicals, reference books, and symposia over the course of his career.

His works include, An Early Christian Confession (1960), Worship in the Early Church (1964), Mark: Evangelist and Theologian (1972), Reconciliation: A Study of Paul's Theology (1981), The Worship of God (1982), and The Spirit and the Congregation: Studies in 1 Corinthians 12-15 (1984). His two-volume textbook, New Testament Foundations (1975, 1978), was the fruit of his teaching at Fuller Seminary.

Martin also served as editor of InterVarsity Press' Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (1993) and Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments (1997). Most importantly, he served on the founding editorial team of the Word Biblical Commentary as New Testament Editor, a project that began at Fuller, and contributed volumes on 2 Corinthians and James.

Martin arrived at Fuller in 1969 after serving as a lecturer in New Testament at the University of Manchester for four years. Throughout his life, he also taught at London Bible College, Bethel College and Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, The Institute of Holy Land Studies in Jerusalem, Israel, Moore Theological College in Sydney, Australia, Logos Evangelical Seminary in El Monte, California, and Azusa Pacific University.

Martin continued to lend his expertise to Fuller for nearly a decade as a Distinguished Scholar in Residence for Fuller's Center for Advanced Theological Studies beginning in 1996.

Professor Leslie C. Allen, Fuller's senior professor of Old Testament, was a colleague of Martin's at London Bible College from 1960 to 1965. They were reunited as co-workers again, when Allen joined Fuller's staff in the 1980s.

"Ralph was a good friend," Allen recalled. "He and his first wife Lily warmly welcomed me and my family to Fuller in 1982 and initiated us into the strange new world of California. He will be remembered with respect and appreciation."

Allen noted that while Martin taught systematic theology at London Bible College, he also worked as librarian, "turning the library into a valuable academic resource." Martin also regularly preached and taught adult Sunday School classes in the Los Angeles area, Allen recalled.

Martin is survived by his wife Doreen, his daughters Patricia Losie and Elizabeth Knode, seven grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren.

The funeral will be held in Southport, England on March 4.

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