Five Hundred Year Old Advice

This originally appeared as an email delivered on
Saturday, February 3rd, 2018.

The first complete Bible in English was printed in 1535 by Myles Coverdale.

In the prologue to his Bible, Coverdale gives the “Christian Reader” an excellent two point exhortation. Here is a paraphrase.

1. When you can’t understand some portion of the Bible, let it be proof of your ignorance, not of a mistake in scripture.

2. To better understand scripture: discern its proper dispensational context.

That was 483 years ago. The exhortation is just as good today.

Below is Coverdale’s original quote.

“Now will I exhort thee, whosoever thou art that readest scripture, if thou find ought therein that thou understandest not, or that appeareth to be repugnant, give no temerarious nor hasty judgment thereof; but ascribe it to thine own ignorance, not to the scriptures. Think that thou understandest it not, or that it hath some other meaning, or that it is haply overseen of the interpreters, or wrong printed. Again it shall greatly help thee to understand scripture, if thou mark, not only what is spoken or written, but of whom, and unto whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goeth before and what followeth after.”

Ignorance of history will cause you to repeat its mistakes. Knowledge of history will help you repeat its successes.

It was words like these that watered the tree we eat from five centuries later. The tree needs watered again if we want fruit to abound.

For His grace,

Justin “repeating history” Johnson

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