Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Bullinger's Insight into Bible Structure

I just discovered a work that answers some questions I had about the history behind the thematic structures in Bullinger's Companion Bible. It's titled, The Scope of a Passage May Best Be Discovered by Its Structure, by E.W. Bullinger.

You can see a sample structure in the companion section in the image below, from James 1.

The following expresses very effectively what I've sought to convey. From “Introductory: The History and Importance of the Subject”.

“The facts being as thus stated, it shows that the subject has either not yet been grasped nor understood by Bible students; or, that it makes too much for the Inspiration and Divine Origin and Authority of the Word of God; and that there are spiritual powers, working with the human, whose one great object is to make the Word of God of none effect (Eph. vi. 12 and 17).

And yet, we may say that, no more powerful weapon has yet been placed in our hands outside that Word, which is "the Spirit's sword." It affords a wondrous proof of Inspiration; it gives us a clearer and more comprehensive view of the scope of the Scriptures, than the most learned and elaborate commentaries can ever hope to do; and it is capable of even turning the scale in doubtful, doctrinal, and critical questions.

By its means the student is led to views and truths, and reflections which, without it, would never have occurred to him. And it is not too much to say that until the Correspondences of the Biblical Structure are duly recognized we shall never get a correct translation or a true interpretation of many passages which are to this day dark and confused in both our Versions, the R. V. as well as in the AV.

Preaching on another subject, Bishop Lowth truthfully and feelingly observed that " It pleased God, in His unsearchable wisdom, to suffer the progress of the Reformation to be stopped mid-way; and the effects of it to be greatly weakened by many unhappy divisions among the reformed."'

The same may be said of the Law of Correspondence in the Structure of the Word of God, so wonderfully discovered and developed; and yet, needing to-day almost to be rediscovered, and certainly to be developed in its application to the whole Word of truth.

Parts of the world, remaining yet unexplored, are eagerly sought out without stint of labour or money. Would that the same zeal could be seen applied in the interest of this great subject.”

About this development, Bullinger attributes a most significant advancement to Thomas Boys.

It was reserved for Thomas Boys to raise the whole subject on to a higher level altogether, and to lift it out of the literary parallelism between words and lines; and to develop it into the correspondence between the subject matter and truth of the Divine Word.

In 1824 Thomas Boys soon followed up Bishop Jebb by publishing his Tactics Sacra, and in 1827-30 his Key to the Book of Psalms.'

While the successive works of Bishops Lowth and Jebb were enthusiastically and generally received, yet the works of Thomas Boys not only had to fight their way through much opposition, but are now practically unknown to Biblical students. Whether it is because they afford such a wonderful evidence of the supernatural and miraculous in the Bible, and such a proof of the Divine Authorship of the Word of God, that they are therefore the special object of attack by the enemies of that Word (both Satanic and human) He alone knows. But so it is.
It was, however, as we have said, reserved for Thomas Boys to lift the whole study out of the sphere of words and lines; and see the Law of Correspondence between subjects and subject-matter. Instead of occupying us with lines he bade us look at what he designated members. These members consisted of verses, and whole paragraphs. And the larger paragraphs were soon seen to have their own peculiar structure' or expansions.

I've updated a page on my regular website making note of this wonderful find. Bible Code Revelations - Thematic Patterns Expose Riddles Many examples of my own fruitful work are linked there. I've made quite a significant personal investement in them over the years. I designed a way to present the structures so you can interact with them in your browser to expose and highlight the levels of comparison, and access context sensitive commentary I've embedded in some of them. This effort has not exactly resulted in an explosion of interest. I think it's actually a means of chasing folks away. And that is as the Lord will have it, as His purposes are served.

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