My first reaction to Bullinger’s “companion” to God’s Word was “are you kidding?! There’s 3 times more notes than Bible text!”
A closer look reveals it’s NOT mostly commentary like Scofield: but there are also so many word studies, grammatical helps, and historical side notes.
I have a hard time using it as a devotional Bible, because the notes distract at first from the Bible text, yet give you a richer understanding of the original languages, figures of speech and double-entendres.
For instance, some words have two or more alternate translations. Are they contradictions? The notes show which of these are actually a “play on words” because vowel-less Hebrew spells the different words the same,
This adds so much understanding that would have been lost to this Goyische mensch illiterate in Hebrew. Still, you really need a separate, simpler Bible for prayer and meditation. But the rich insights in this Study Bible will invigorate your quiet time with a Bible without notes and commentary.
Bullinger prefaces each of the 66 books with an outline showing various patterns of symmetry of each book. This proves to me that The Book is not random ramblings by a man. This structure also exposes the fallacy of other religious books ostensibly from a Midwest Angel in the US, or a prophet who abandoned conversion by heartfelt reason and instead chose fear of death by scimitar. Bullinger also cross references English and the original… gently exposing “King James-isms” without disrespect.
Examples: ° marks English words that have a side note that amplifies the meaning with a literal rendering or word study. For instance many Hebrew “plays on words” and figures of speech are lost to the English reader, until explained with the original language.
Is Esther a valid book in the “Canon”? It has been criticized that it never mentions God once. Bullinger shows the hidden repetition of God’s Name, where God hid it from the hurried scholar. Similar Acrostics are commonly known in Psalm 119 but this book shows even more. With the Psalms, and other books he shows structural patterns and symmetry to the non-Hebrew reader. This gives me a new appreciation of the depth and beauty of God’s Word, and increases my faith in the “now” of God.
The popular criticism that Isaiah was the work of 2-3 authors is clearly debunked by Bullinger’s easy to understand analysis of the structure of the book.
Psalm 19 is one of 150 Psalms in the Protestant Bible, but 19 and 20 of 151 Psalms in the Douay. You can clearly see by the outline structure that this is one Psalm by One Author, proving that “the Word of God can shed a lot of light on commentaries.”
In areas that may not seem to fully match modern interpretation, Bullinger’s reverence and respect for the Word encourage you to seek your own personal touch from the Original Author. This work predates Israel’s birth in 1948 by 50 years, which opened so much more the Bible to us. So some may quibble on a few points with the benefit of a century of hindsight. But a few chips against this lifetime work pale to insignificance against the new sense of beauty and awe you will feel toward the Author that Bullinger served.
If you get this book you will benefit from Bullinger’s knowledge of Hebrew and Greek and proven devotion to God.
You will be enriched.
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