Friday, August 22, 2008

How they studied the Bible

Bullinger (1504-1575) left an account of how the Reformation ministers in Zurich studied the Old Testament together in Zwingli's time:

They began with prayer, asking God for clarity and transformation, that in no way would they displease him.

Then one of the young ministers, who had prepared in advance, read and commented on the passage for that day from Jerome's Latin Vulgate version.

Next, a Hebrew scholar went back over the passage in the Hebrew text, commenting, explaining, citing commentaries along the way.

Then, a Greek reader led them through the passage in the Septuagint and other Greek versions.

Finally, Zwingli himself pulled it all together, surveying the Patristic commentators, the medieval rabbis and the Catholic scholars. He connected the text with the whole of the Bible. He funneled it all down to the force and message of the passage, its uplifting power, the real meaning and profit and use of it.

God was powerfully at work, to produce such a passion for his Word.

Cited in G. H. Box, "Hebrew Studies in the Reformation Period and After: their place and influence," in The Legacy of Israel, edited by E. R. Bevan and C. Singer, pages 345-346.