Just today, I received in the mail the Biblical Concordance of the Swiss Brethren, 1540 translated by Gilbert Fast and Galen Peters, edited by C. Arnold Snyder with the introduction written by Joe Springer.
Essentially, it is like a regular biblical concordance. In a previous post, I addressed the original version slightly. There I wrote:
This pocket-sized volume touched on 66 different scriptural subjects. It was used not just for personal enrichment but also for apologetic purposes while witnessing or engaged in public debates. Biblical excerpts and their location was the only thing present in the concordance for the Brethren believed that the scriptures were clear enough and no additional instruction towards the passages’ application was required.
As mentioned the translation I received today fits the above description perfectly minus the introductory information from the editors et al. All that is present in the work is the subject it addresses say for instance “Service of God” and the scriptural passages the Swiss Brethren employed to argue their position. I am going to enjoy (in the very little free time I get) going through the verses and trying to figure out the reasoning of the Swiss Brethren on any given point. However, I want to highlight a trend and dispel a myth regarding the 16th century Anabaptists.
When I first discovered and started studying Anabaptistica, its critics used to argue that the Anabaptists had a very low view of the Old Testament or did not have anything to do with it at all and many self-proclaimed Anabaptists at present parallel the original group’s detractors than the 16th century Anabaptists themselves. However, the critics was wrong and the contemporary anabaptists as well. All one has to do is look into the work that I received today and they will see that these men and women used the Old Testament as much as the New. They also employed the Apocrypha a lot as well. In addition, as a side note the proto-Anabaptists was the first ones to translate the Old Testament into German prior to Martin Luther.
Clearing Up the Proof-texting Issue
At this point, I want to address the negative feelings people seem to have towards “proof-texting”. I see individuals constantly belittling someone because they appeal to scripture for their arguments. Most of the stuff I see at present in articles, blogs and books is tons of text but very little scripture. I feel like all I am receiving is the person’s opinion based on themselves instead of the Bible. I think as Christians a person should back up their claims from the Bible although I must admit I too have been hesitant in doing it as much as I like to because of the criticism.
Now do not misunderstand, proof-texting as it is called can be unsafe when the passage is taken out of context. Nevertheless, at the end of the day even when the person demonstrates the text in context it may all come down to interpretation. However, my main point is that if proof-texting is wrong then the Swiss Brethren are guilty as charged.