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(Bible Hours). Devotional services, often informal, in which longer sections of Scripture are explained usually in the form of a homily. Such devotional services were common in the Luth. Ch. in Ger. (e.g., those by Louis Harms) and in Am.

Bible Belt.

Term applied to S states because chs. there were opposed to liberalism and were fundamentalistic in their approach to Scripture.

Bible Christians.

Also called Bryanites, organized 1815 in Eng. along Meth. lines by William O'Bryan (1778–1868); officially constituted 1831; merged with other Meths. in the United Meth. Ch. 1907. See also Methodist Churches, 1.

Bible Churchmen's Missionary Society.

Organization formed 1922 in Eng. by conservative evangelicals when the CMS became predominantly liberal.

Bible Church of Christ, Inc., The.

Est. 1961; includes congs. in US and Afr.; trinitarian; teaches divine inspiration of the Bible, miracles of healing, and baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Bible History.

Often differentiated from Biblical history,* Bible hist. emphasizes use of Bible stories for instructional and religious values. In NT, knowledge of OT was communicated at home (2 Ti 3:15) or at pub. services (1 Ti 4:13). In the primitive ch., home reading, private instruction, and pub. services provided knowledge of Bible hist. (Eusebius, HE, VI, ii; Chrysostom on Eph 4:4; Cyril, Catecheses, IV, 35). Instruction in Bible hist. was almost forgotten during the Middle Ages (lack of common schools, cost of Bibles, dearth of Bibles in vernacular). Luther and Melanchthon stressed use of Bible hist. Otto Braunfels sought to introduce Bible hist. in his Lat. school (Heldenbüchlein). Luther's Passionale (1529; 11 OT, 38 NT pictures with explanatory notes) has been called the first Bible hist. for the home. With the establishment of Christian common schools, instruction in Bible hist. came into its own. Noted early texts were J. Gesenius,* Biblische Historien (1656) and J. Hübner,* Zweimal 52 auserlesene biblische Historien (1714). Since these were pub., use of Bible stories for instruction has been greatly expanded (core of S. S. training; special Bible histories for different ages; pictorial presentations of the Bible stories; films and slides; prominent in Saturday schools, summer schools, etc.).

J. M. Reu, Quellen zur Geschichte des biblischen Unterrichts, in Quellen zur Geschichte des kirchlichen Unterrichts in der evangelischen Kirche Deutschlands zwischen 1530 und 1600, Part II (Gütersloh, 1906) and Catechetics, 3d ed. (Chicago, 1931), pp. 289–308.

Bible Holiness Movement.

Organized 1949 in Vancouver, B. C., Can.

Bible League.

Traces its origin to Good Friday, April 15, 1938, when Wm. Chapman (a real estate agent in Chicago, Illinois) and his wife Betty began to distribute Bibles to Bibleless homes in Walkerton, Indiana, free on promise that the Bibles would be read. Motto: A Bible for Every Bibleless Home in the World. Active in ca. 50 countries. Name changed from World Home Bible League to Bible League in May 1989.

Bible Protestant Church.

Name adopted 1940 by the Eastern Conf. of the Meth. Prot. Ch. (see Methodist Churches, 1).

Bible Societies.

1. The formal principle* of the Luth. Reformation brought about a renewed emphasis on Bible study, and the Prot. miss. activities of the 17th and 18th c. brought a philanthropic element into the distribution of Bibles which led to the organization of Bible societies in the 18th and 19th c..

2. Germany. K. H. von Canstein* felt that the low spirituality of his times revealed a need for a Bible in every home. The funds he received as a result of his pleas enabled him to est. the Canstein Bible Institute 1710, the earliest organization created for the distribution of Bibles. The first Nürnberg Bible Society, founded 1804 with aid from the BFBS, was absorbed 1806 by the Basel Bible Society (see Spittler, Christian Friedrich). In 1823 the Central Bible Society was est. in Nurnberg. The Berlin Bible Society was organized 1806 through the efforts of J. Jänicke for the purpose of providing Bibles for Bohemians in Berlin. Later it was expanded and called the Prussian Bible Society (1814). The Württemberg Bible Society was organized 1812 through the efforts of K. F. A. Steinkopf and others. Additional societies arose: Saxon Bible Society (1814), Bible Society of Schleswig-Holstein (1815), Berg Bible Society (1814), and others.

3. England. Various Christian organizations that included Bible distribution on their program arose out of the ev. movements of the 17th and 18th c. Among them: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge - 1698; Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts - 1701; Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge - 1709; Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge among the Poor 1750; Naval and Military Bible Society - 1780 (originally called Bible Society); French Bible Society 1792; Trinitarian Bible Society; Society for Distributing the Holy Scriptures to the Jews. The Canadian Bible Society, auxiliary to the BFBS, was formed 1904.

The suggestion to form the British and Foreign Bible Society was first made 1802; the soc. was founded March 7, 1804, at a large interdenominational meeting at the London Tavern. Its object was “to promote the circulation of Holy Scriptures, without note or comment, both at home and in foreign lands.” The first goal was to provide Wales with Bibles, but the soc. soon extended its activities to Eur., Asia, Afr., S. Am., Can., and elsewhere. It helped est. Bible societies in Ger., Scand., and other countries (often as branches). The controversy regarding the Apocrypha caused much difficulty; when the soc. decided 1826 to discontinue printing the Apocrypha, more than 50 branch organizations severed connections with it.

See also Brainerd, 1; Church Missionary Society; England, C 5; Evangelicals, 4; Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, The Board of Foreign Missions of the; Society for the Propagatic of the Gospel in New England.

4. Other Eur. Countries. In Scotland, the Edinburgh Bible Society (1809) and the Glasgow Bible Society (1812) withdrew from the BFBS as a result of the Apocrypha controversy and united 1861 to form the National Bible Society of Scotland. In Ireland the Hibernian Bible Society was organized 1806. The most important societies of France: Bible Society of France (1864) and the Bible Society of Paris (1818). The Netherlands Bible Society was organized 1814. In Swed. an ev. soc. was organized 1809, which included Bible distribution in its work; later the king became the patron of the Swedish Bible Society (1814). The Danish Bible Society was organized 1814; the Finnish Bible Society 1812; the Norwegian Bible Society 1816. In Switz. the Basel Bible Society was founded 1804 by C. G. Blumhardt* and C. F. Spittler* with aid from BFBS; it absorbed the first Nürnberg Bible Society 1806; other Bible socs. in Switz. have included one at Saint Gall (1813). In S Eur. the Malta Bible Society (1817) played an important role. The Russian Bible Society (representing Protestants and Catholics) was organized by an imperial ukase 1813; when it was suppressed 1826, the Evangelical Bible Society was organized; the Russian Bible Society was reest. 1863. See also Kraemer, Hendrik; Skovgaard-Petersen, Carl Axel; Spittler, Christian Friedrich; Williamson, Alexander.

5. In America the Philadelphia Bible Society was organized 1808 and the societies of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey in 1809, followed by many others.

The American Bible Society was organized in New York 1816 by 60 distinguished men. Invitations to the founding meeting had been sent out by the Bible Society of New Jersey at the suggestion of S. J. Mills.* The first pres. was E. Boudinot.* The object of the soc. was the circulation of the Holy Scriptures in the commonly received version (KJV) without note or comment. In 1822 the Bible House on Nassau Street was erected and in 1852 the Bible House on Astor Place. In 1835 Bap. missionaries tr. baptismos and baptizo with Burmese words meaning “to immerse.” When the ABS refused to print the version, the American and Foreign Bible Society (Bap.) was organized 1836. When this soc. agreed to use the KJV in the distribution of the Bible in the Eng. language, seceders organized the American Bible Union 1850.

The Christian Commercial Travelers' Association of Am., Internat.. (Christian Commercial Men's Assoc. of Am., Internat.; Christian Bus. Men's Assoc.; The Gideons Internat.; organized 1899) supplies hotels, hosp. rooms, and other pub. places with Bibles.

Bible Societies in Latin America (Sociedades Bíblicas en América Latina). Offices in Asunción, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Cochabamba, Cristóbal, Guatemala, Havana, Lima, Mexico, Montevideo, Quito, San Juan, Santiago.

See also Evangelicals, 5.

The German Evangelical Lutheran Central Bible Society for Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa, in St. Louis, Missouri was organized April 24, 1853, to promulgate Ger. Bibles and New Testaments.

6. Though Bible study was encouraged in some areas of the W Ch. before the Reformation (e.g., Spain), RC popes gen. opposed Bible reading in the vernacular because they held such action might lead to heretical views. Emphasis on Scripture by reformers led popes (Pius VII, Leo XII. Gregory XVI, Pius IX) to oppose Bible reading by laymen without theol. training. The principle that the Bible is not to be printed in the vernacular without explanation is still held. The first RC Bible institution was est. 1805 by G. M. Wittmann (1760–1833) at Ratisbon; dissolved 1817 by Pius VII. In It. the Compagnia di San Paolo (Community of St. Paul), founded 1563, encourages Bible reading. The Pia Società San Girolamo (Pious Society of St. Jerome), organized 1901 by Giacomo della Chiesa (later Benedict XV) prints and distributes the NT in Italian. The Pia Società San Paolo (Pious Society of St. Paul), founded at Alba, Cuneo, 1914, sponsors the Società Cattolica Biblica Internazionale (Catholic International Bible Society), which fosters reading and study of the Bible. After WW I, Bible movements became more gen. in the RC Ch., often connected with Catholic Action* and the liturgical revival. The Katholisches Bibelwerk (Germany 1933), Catholic Biblical Association (England 1940), and the Catholic Biblical Association of America (US 1936) are among leading RC Bible societies. Similar societies were organized in other countries of Eur. and Am. See also Bible Study.

7. Bible societies aid translators and publish and distribute Bibles and special books and phonograph records for the blind as widely as possible according to need. Bible societies and related agencies distribute ca. 25,000,000 Bibles or parts thereof annually.

8. United Bible Societies. Internat. fellowship of 23 Bible socs.; organized 1946. Its Council, to which each mem. soc. sends I representative, meets at least once in 3 yrs. Business of world organization conducted bet. Council sessions by Standing Com. The Secretariat: Gen. Secy.; Secy. for Promotion; two Study Secys.

E. Breest, “Bibelgesellschaften,” in Realencyklopädie für protestantische Theologie und Kirche, 3d ed. J. J. Herzog and A. Hauck, II (Leipzig, 1897), 691 to 699; H. O. Dwight, Centennial History of the American Bible Society (New York, 1916); The Bible in a Thousand Tongues, comp. O. M. Norlie (Minneapolis, 1935); The Book of a Thousand Tongues, ed. E. M. North (New York, 1938); reports of Bible societies. EL, LP

Bible Study.

Bible study is that activity by which a person comes to an understanding of the Bible text and its relation to Christ and personally reflects on the words he has read for a fuller application of God's will to his life. It comes to its climax when it is tr. into daily living. Bible study is not an end in itself, but a means used by the Holy Spirit to create and sustain faith in Christ. It equips the man of God to fulfill his mission in life. It is the means by which he develops into a mature Christian. True Bible study penetrates into whole divisions, periods, books, chapters as well as the individual verses and words of the Holy Scriptures.

Meditating on the words of Scripture was the immediate rule of life for every Jew (Jos. 1; 2 Ch 34; Neh 8; 1 Mac 2:67). Bible reading and study is the normal expression of intelligent Christian discipleship. This is clear from many passages of the NT and from the practice of the early ch. (Jn 5:39; Lk 24:27; Acts 17:11; 18:24–28; 2 Ti 3:14–17; Heb 5:12–14; 2 Ptr 1:19–21; 3:2).

The apostolic fathers and the early apologists are united in the belief “that the regular way to become a convinced Christian was to read the Holy Scriptures.” Justin, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Origen expected Bible study, not only of adults, but of children. The Bible was to them “the great public book of Christendom, to which all men must be introduced,” so that they might feed their souls “from every Scripture of the Lord.” Polycarp writes to the Philippian church: “I trust that ye are well exercised in the Holy Scriptures and that nothing is there hidden from you.” This implies personal study. Chrysostom commended private Bible study classes. Like Augustine, he knew that the Bible is the church's best missionary.

Bible study declined, however, with the growing institutionalization of the ch. As time went on, the laity made less and less use of its right to a firsthand approach to Scripture. When in the 12th c. the Waldenses came forth with a Christianity growing out of private Bible study, it was too late. A ch. based on priesthood and mystery had not only crushed the development of Bible study, but had practically withdrawn the Book from the common people. This happened despite Jerome's warning: “Ignorance of the Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

With the Reformation a new day dawned for Scripture study. Luther appealed from the dicta of the church to the naked truth of Scripture alone. This renascence of Bible study was greatly aided by the invention of printing and Bibles in the vernacular. Adolf Harnack rightly says: “… the Reformation by placing the Bible into the hands of the layman has only returned to the simple confidence of the early church.”

One of the basic assumptions of the Prot. faith is that those who embrace it will be able to read and interpret the Bible for themselves (the right of private judgment). But not always and not fully did the Prot. churches carry out the principles of the Reformation. Often there was too much study “about” the Bible and too little “in” the Bible. Bible histories, catechisms, and lesson materials have often supplanted personal Bible use. Strange as it may seem, the Bible has had to struggle to be received up to the present moment. Century after century it was relegated to 2d place by ecclesiasticism and clericalism of various forms and degrees.

Modern Bible study received a strong impetus from Pietism, particularly the popular Bible expositions of A. H. Francke,* which met the common need. Since 1685 Bible study has won a leading place within all Prot. denominations. Other factors contributing greatly to Bible study were the organization of Bible societies and the development of S. S. with classes for young people and adults devoted chiefly to Bible study. A revival of interest in the Bible at the beginning of the 20th c. suffered reverses at the hands of modern liberalism and higher criticism. Two world wars, the failure of materialism, and advances in gen. adult educ. stimulated various efforts to call people of the disordered world back to God through Bible study.

Some Bible study was carried on in the earlier days of the Mo. Syn. chiefly through Bibelstunden and young people's societies. The first regularly issued Bible study materials appeared 1912. Bible study classes were put on a firmer footing when they were received into the S. S. structure. A new advance in Bible study came with the Centennial Bible Study Program initiated 1947 by the Bd. of Parish Educ. and from the rise of Bible Institutes.

This advance has been intensified through leadership training for pastors, ch. bds., and over 25,000 laymen and women. It aimed at improving the quality of teaching, increasing the number of Bible classes (esp. small, face-to-face study groups), and reaching out to more people so that study group enrollments keep pace with numerical growth of churches. Two basic factors lie behind this new thrust: 1. the new expressions of materialism, secularism, hedonism, nihilism, moral decline, and mere religiosity call for an awakened laity sure of its convictions; 2. the realization that the church's power index is not its clergy but its people exercising their priesthood daily, wherever they are, in all situations in life, in all the world.

Two mid-20th c. phenomena have accelerated Bible study: the revival of Biblical studies in RCm and the appearance of a host of popular new Bible translations.

Bible study is essential for the vitality of the ch. and for the preservation of human freedom. Through Bible study, privately and in a class, the Scriptures become “the Book to live by.”

There are 5 essentials of good method in Bible study: (1) good motivation; (2) intensive and repeated reading of the Bible text itself; (3) observing exactly what the text says; (4) finding Christ and doctrinal content; (5) assimilation through meditation. OEF

See also Bible Societies, 6; Parish Education, H 2.

K. G. A. v. Harnack, Uber den privaten Gebrauch der Heiligen Schriften in der alten Kirche, in Beiträge zur Einleitung in das Neue Testament, V (Leipzig, 1912), tr. J. R. Wilkinson, Bible Reading in the Early Church, in New Testament Studies, V (New York, (1912); F. A. O. Pieper, “Die Heilige Schrift,” in Christliche Dogmatik, I (St. Louis, 1924), 233–444, tr. T. Engelder, “Holy Scripture,” in Christian Dogmatics, I (St. Louis, 1950), 193–367; The Encyclopedia of Sunday Schools and Religious Education, ed. J. T. McFarland et al. (New York, 1915); O. Beguin, Roman Catholicism and the Bible (New York, 1963); monographs on Bible study by E. H. Robertson (Association Press, New York).

Bible Versions.

A. Septuagint.

1. The earliest attempt to tr. the Scriptures is represented by the Gk. version of the OT commonly known as the Septuagint (LXX). It owes its name to the story (now discredited) that it is the work of 72 translators, 6 from each tribe of Israel, who at the request of Ptolemy* Philadelphus II were sent to Egypt by the high priest Eleazar to prepare a version of the Jewish Law for the royal library at Alexandria. While there is doubtless a kernel of truth in this story and the bare fact of a tr. of the Law in the days of Ptolemy need not be questioned, the LXX as a whole exhibits such varying degrees of skill and accuracy that it can be neither the product of a single body of translators acting in unison nor even the product of a single age. The tr. of the Pentateuch, for example, is pretty well done; that of Daniel is exceedingly poor (the early Christian ch. from ca. AD 200 on used the Gk. version of Theodotion in its stead); while the rendering of Ecclesiastes is so slavishly literal that it is little more than Grecized Hebrew. The most that can be said as to the origin of the LXX is that it was begun ca. 285 BC and completed before 132 BC (Cf. the Prolog of Ecclesiasticus.) The LXX differs strongly from the Hebrew in content and arrangement (Job. for instance, is ca. 400 lines shorter in the Gk.; the Gk. Jeremiah differs from the Heb. by addition, omission, and transposition) and presents also in its renderings innumerable divergences from our present Masoretic text. This is due in part, no doubt, to the arbitrary procedure of the translators, but also in some cases to the fact that the Heb. original differed from the text we possess today. This fact makes the LXX an invaluable aid, though to be used with caution, in the textual criticism of the OT.

2. The LXX was adopted by the Greek-speaking Jews, was used, as a rule, by the writers of the NT in citing the OT, and was regarded as authoritative, even inspired, by the early Christian Fathers. The constant appeal to it on the part of the leaders of the ch. to prove the Messiahship of Jesus aroused the antagonism of the Jews and gave rise, in the 2d c., to 3 rival translations: the strictly literal version of Aquila; the revision of the LXX by Theodotion; and the elegantly periphrastic version of Symmachus. These versions have been preserved only in isolated fragments.

B. Targums.

The Targums, or Aramaic paraphrases, arose from the oral interpretation of the OT Scriptures that had become necessary since the days of the Exile, when Aramaic became the language of common intercourse in Palestine. These oral paraphrases were, in course of time, reduced to writing. The most important Targums are the Targum of Onkelos (1st or 2d c.) on the Pentateuch, which received its present form about the 3d c. after Christ, and the Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel on the Prophets: Jonathan, a pupil of Hillel* I, lived in the 1st c. after Christ, but the Targum associated with his name did not receive its final form until about the 5th c. The Targums are of value to the scholar in helping to determine the Heb. text used in the early Synagog as well as in determining what interpretation the Jews gave to difficult passages.

C. Syriac.

1. For the OT, the oldest and most important version is the Peshitta. Whether this tr. is of Jewish or of Christian origin remains uncertain; at any rate, it was used early by the Syriac-speaking ch. and has remained the chief version of the Syriac OT It is by various hands, though in fairly uniform style, and was made directly from the Heb. But there are traces of LXX influence.

2. Two later versions of the LXX OT, that by Philoxenus* of Hierapolis (AD 508) and that by Paul, bp. of Tella, (AD 616), were based on the LXX. Neither succeeded in displacing the Peshitta in common use.

3. Of the oldest Syriac tr. of the NT, dating from the 2d c., only the Gospels have been preserved. This old Syriac version is of the highest importance for the textual criticism of the Gospels, representing as it does a textual tradition indep. of the 2 great branches of the textual tradition represented by MSS B and D.

4. However, the version destined to become the standard version of the NT for the Syriac-speaking ch. was the Peshitta, a complete revision of the NT ascribed to Rabbula,* bp. of Edessa. “It's style is beautifully smooth and clear, and it can claim to be one of the great literary achievements of the Eastern Church.” (T. H. Robinson.)

5. Two later versions, or better, revisions, deserve notice because they contain those portions of the NT originally omitted from the Syriac Canon (2 Ptr, 2 and 3 Jn, Jude, Rv). That of Philoxenus of Hierapolis (AD 508) first included the 5 disputed books; it has hardly survived except for the 4 catholic Epistles, which are usually printed from this version. Similarly, the version by Thomas of Heraclea (or Harkel; bp. of Hierapolis), the NT counterpart to the OT version by Paul of Tella and of about the same date (AD 616), is used in Syriac Bibles only for Rv, though it is extant in its entirety.

D. Egyptian.

There were 3 Egyptian, or Coptic (derived from Gk. Aigyptios) versions: Sahidic, dialect of Upper (southern) Egypt; Bohairic, of the W delta; and Fayumic of Cen. Egypt (of the NT only). Very little is known of the Fayumic at present. The Sahidic is the earlier of the 2 complete versions, having originated in the 2d or 3d c. after Christ. The Bohairic, now in ecclesiastical use among all Egyptian Christians, is considerably later, dated about AD 600. Both the Sahidic and the Bohairic are important for the textual criticism of the NT; the earlier Sahidic shows both “Neutral” and “Western” affinities, while the later Bohairic is more pronouncedly “Neutral.” The OT portion of both these versions is based on the LXX, not on the original Heb.

E. Eihiopic.

The Ethiopic version, still used by the Abyssinians, though Ethiopic has long ceased to be spoken, possibly dates from the 4th c. In the OT the tr. was made from the LXX, though it contains many variations from the Gk., the text in some MSS having been corrected from the Heb.

F. Arabic.

Among the Arabic versi ons of the OT that of Saadia* ben Joseph was made directly from the Heb. text. It won great popularity among the Jews and was publicly read in the synagogs besides the Heb. text. Yet only the Pentateuch, Isaiah, Canticles, Proverbs, and Job have been printed. The complete text of the OT in Arabic appeared in the Paris and London polyglots of the 17th c.; but it is of composite origin. The Pentateuch is the tr. of Saadia. Joshua, though also derived from the Heb., is by another hand. Judges, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, and Job are based on the Peshitta; the Prophets, Psalms, and Proverbs are based on the LXX As to the NT, Arabic versions have been made from the Gk., from the Peshitta, and from the Lat. The current Arabic NT is a translation, in the main, from the Bohairic dialect, with corrections and additions from the Gk. and Syriac.

G. Armenian.

The Armenian version is ascribed by a 5th-c. Armenian writer, Moses* of Chorene, to the patriarch Sahak (patriarch AD 390–428); his version was made from a Syriac text. Koriun, (fl. 5th c.; pupil and biographer of Mesrob*) says that Mesrob had by 411 translated the entire Bible from the Gk. He is said to have begun with Proverbs; this may indicate that the earlier books had been translated previously by unknown hands. After 431 Sahak and Mesrop later revised the Armenian Bible on the basis of a Gk. Bible brought from Constantinople.

H. Slavonic.

The Old Slavonic version, dating from the middle of the 9th c., is generally attributed to Cyril* and Methodius. The OT tr. is based on the LXX, that of the NT on the Gk. Except for fragments that survive in the official Slavonic Bible of 1751 (the St. Petersburg revision, known as the Bible of Elizabeth, after Elizabeth Petrovna, empress of Russia 1741–62), the old version has been lost. See also Bohemian Brethren, 3; Czechoslovakia, 7.

I. Gothic.

The Gothic version is the work of Ulfilas.* Of the OT, based on the LXX, only the most meager fragments remain. Most of the NT, a literally faithful version, is preserved in various MSS, preeminent among which is the superb Codex Argenteus. The story that Ulfilas omitted from the tr. of the OT the Books of Kings for fear of exciting the warlike passions of the Goths is unworthy of credence, since such considerations would have barred Joshua and Judges as well. The probability is that Ulfilas did not live to finish the tr. See also Goths, Conversion of.

J. Latin.

1. Latin versions antedating the work of Jerome* are now commonly designated as the Old Lat. (Vetus Latina). The term Itala, formerly used and applied by Augustine to one of these versions, is rightly avoided. The term Old Lat. designates a number of versions rather than a version, for if there was a single early version at all (and some evidence points in that direction), it was probably not the work of one man, but rather the result of a process of accretion and revision, book being added to book and the resulting whole subjected to constant revision in various localities to meet local standards and needs. The Old Lat. versions probably originated in Afr., since Tertullian* is the first to mention a Lat. version and his younger contemporary Cyprian* of Carthage cites Scripture in a form identical with the oldest type of Old Lat. text in existing MSS The version, or versions, date from the 2d c. onward and are valuable in textual criticism, since they enable one to tap the stream of textual tradition at a point several centuries earlier than that of most extant Gk. MSS

2. By the 4th c. there was such a welter of Lat. versions that Damasus* I called on Jerome to revise the Old Lat. Bible. He began by tr. the OT from the LXX; the Gallican Psalter (so called because it became very popular in Gaul), the version included in the modern Vulgate, represents this rendering from the Gk. But Jerome became convinced that a satisfactory version could be made only from the Heb. directly, and the rest of the OT books in the Vulgate are a direct rendering of the original. Jerome's revisions of the Gospels appeared ca. 383, and perhaps the rest of the NT was also revised at this time. There is some doubt as to the extent of Jerome's revision of the NT outside the Gospels. He does not cite the Epistles, e.g., in the present Vulgate form—and Augustine* of Hippo, though he shows knowledge of the Vulgate Gospels and OT, seems not to have known the Epistles in their revised form. Jerome's new tr. encountered stubborn opposition; it did not win gen. acceptance in the ch. until the 6th or 7th c. From the 13th c. on it is known as the Vulgata, a name that had formerly been applied to the LXX. In 1546 the Council of Trent* (4th Sess.) authorized the Scriptures “as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church and as they are contained in the old Latin Vulgate Edition,” but failed to distinguish unequivocally bet. the old Lat. tr. and the work of Jerome (regarding the scope of which there was disagreement). A fully authorized ed. of the Vulgate was not completed till ca. mid-20th c. See also Amiatinus, Codex; Apocrypha, B 2; Clement VIII; Popes, 22.


Of the hundreds of modern versions only a few of the most important can be mentioned here. Since the Reformation the Bible has been tr. into all the languages and many of the dialects of Eur. Among the French versions that of J. Lefevre* d'Etaples (first printed completely in Antwerp. 1530), of P. R. Olivétan* (Neuchatel, 1535), and esp. the Geneva Bible, a revision of Olivetan's work made by pastors of Geneva with the assistance of T. Beza* and others, deserve particular notice. The latter version, having undergone numerous revisions, still holds its place, though there are more recent translations. The principal Dutch version is the so-called States Bible (because authorized by the States General in 1594), pub. 1637 with sanction of the 1618–19 Syn. of Dordrecht.* A Lithuanian version +. was completed 1988 by Alfred Velius, made to replace the 1900 version.

L. English.

1. Although portions of the Bible had been tr. into the vernacular in Anglo-Saxon times, and also after the Norman Conquest, the tr. known as Wycliffe's was the first complete Eng. version. It was based on the Vulgate and appeared 1382–84. It is uncertain how much of the work is that of J. Wycliffe.* The greater part of the OT is probably the work of Nicholas* of Hereford. The NT is attributed to Wycliffe himself, but even this is not beyond doubt. A revision of Wycliffe's Bible, probably made by J. Purvey,* appeared not long after Wycliffe's death. This 2d version remained in common use until the beginning of the 16th c., when it was displaced by the work of W. Tyndale.*

2. The first Englishman to tr. the NT from the original Gk. was W. Tyndale. His tr. appeared on the Continent in 2 editions (3,000 copies each) before 1526. In 1530 Tyndale pub. his version of the Pentateuch and in the following yr. the Book of Jonah. In the OT, too, Tyndale worked from the original, using Luther and the Vulgate as aids.

3. In 1535 M. Coverdale* pub. at Zurich his tr. of the whole Bible “out of the Douche and Latin” (i. e., the Ger. of Luther and the Zurich Bible, and the Vulgate). This was the first complete printed Bible in Eng. and the first complete tr. by a single hand.

4. The so-called Matthew's Bible, essentially a compilation from Tyndale and Coverdale prepared by John Rogers,* appeared 1537. dedicated to “The most noble and gracyous Prynce Kyng Henry the Eyght and Queen Jane.” Since it bore on its title page the inscription “Set forth with the Kinges most gracyous lycence,” it may be considered the first Eng. authorized version.

5. Because of the deficiencies of both the Coverdale and the Matthew version, Coverdale, at the instance of T. Cromwell,* undertook a fresh revision, which appeared 1539; because of the large proportions of the book (it measured 10 by 15 in.), it was known as the Great Bible. Its 2d ed., issued 1540, is called Cranmer's Bible because of his preface. (See also Cranmer, Thomas; Pagninus, Santes).

6. Richard Taverner's* version, a revision of Matthew's Bible, appeared 1539, but did not become popular.

7. During the persecution under Mary* I some Eng. reformers found refuge in Geneva. Here W. Whittingham* and his associates undertook a revision of Tyndale, collated with the Great Bible. Their work resulted in what is known as the Geneva Bible, completed 1560), most scholarly of the early Eng. versions. It won immediate popularity (Shakespeare used it extensively), no fewer than 120 editions appearing up to 1611. It did not, however, at once displace the Great Bible, but was used side by side with it until the appearance of the Bishops' Bible 1568 displaced the Great Bible.

8. The Bishops' Bible, revision of the Great Bible. owes its name to the fact that most of the revisers were bps. The revision was an attempt to counteract the popularity of the Geneva Bible, with its “pestilent glosses” or comments, often caustic. The Bishops' Bible, though never quite popular, passed through 20 editions, the last appearing 1606. This version is important historically, since the improved and revised ed. of 1572 is the basis of the revision that led to the KJV 1611. See also Parker, Matthew.

9. The RC version pub. in Fr. at Reims (NT 1582) and Douai (OT 1609–10) was based on the Vulgate and was very literal.

10. The King James Version of 1611 (also called Authorized Version) resulted from a suggestion by John Rainolds* at the Hampton* Court Conference* James* I, interested in theol., ordered that a tr. be made of the whole Bible consonant to the original Hebrew and Greek, to be used in all chs. of Eng. To insure accuracy, the translators (54 were appointed, but only ca. 50 can be identified) were bound to observe no fewer than 15 specific rules. In particular, it was provided that the entire body of translators, divided into 6 companies, should approve the work of every member. The version is essentially a revision of the Bishops' Bible of 1572. See also Abbot, George; Andrewes, Lancelot; Apocrypha, B 2; Textus receptus.

11. The new version, appearing under royal authority and commended by the best scholarship of the age, though bitterly criticized in some quarters, soon won gen. favor. For 350 yrs. it held its place as the Bible of the English-speaking world. The rare beauty and purity of its diction, its dignified and elegant simplicity, its reverent spirit and attitude endeared it to millions of hearts and made it the most popular book in the Eng. tongue.

12. The Revised Version. The discovery and collation of numerous Biblical MSS in the first half of the 19th c., as well as the advances made in Gk. and Heb. scholarship, revealed some of the inaccuracies of the KJV and started the movement for revision about 1855. In 1870 a com. representing nearly all the churches in Eng. (no RCs were included) was entrusted with the work of preparing a revised version. The NT company began its work on June 22, 1870, and the OT company on June 30. In response to an invitation on the part of the Brit. revisers to participate in the task, an Am. revision committee was organized toward the close of the following year. The details of the plan of cooperation were, however, not fully arranged until 1875. The Eng. com. promised to give due consideration to all the Am. suggestions and renderings before the conclusion of its own labors and to permit the pub., in an appendix, of all important differences of rendering and reading that the Brit. reviewers should decline to accept. On the other hand, the Am. com. was to give its moral support to the Brit. editions “with a view to their freest circulation within the United States, and not to issue an edition of its own for a term of fourteen years.” On May 17, 1881, the Eng. revised NT appeared in Eng. and a few days later in the US. In both countries the demand was enormous, about 3 million copies being sold within a yr. of pub. The OT revision was completed 1884; the entire RV, bound in 1 vol., appeared 1885. The ASV, which embodied not only the readings which had appeared in the appendix to the Eng. RV, but also others which had been adopted by the Am. revisers later, appeared 1901. Neither the Brit. RV nor the ASV achieved the widespread acceptance that had been anticipated for them.

13. Private versions that have appeared since 1901 include those of F. Fenton* (1903), R. F. Weymouth* (NT 1903), J. Moffatt* (NT 1913, OT 1924 E. J. Goodspeed* (NT 1923), E. J. Goodspeed and J. M. P. Smith,* with others (OT and NT 1935, Apocrypha 1938), J. B. Phillips* (NT 1958), Hugh Joseph Schonfield (1901–88: b. London, Eng.; educ. U. of Glasgow and U. of London. The Authenti## New Testament, 1955; The Song of Songs, 1959), Jay Patrick Green Sr. (b. 1918 Ennis, Ky.; educ. La Salle U., Philadelphi Pa. Modern King James Version the Holy Bible, 1962; A Literal Translation of the Bible, 1977), and W. F. Beck* (NT 1963, OT 1976).

14. Other 20th-c. versions include The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text (Jewish; 1917, 1955, 1965), the Revised Standard Version (NT 1946, OT 1952), the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Jeh. Wit.; 1950–61), the New American Standard Bible (1960), The New English Bible (NT 1961, OT and Apocrypha 1970), The Jerusalem Bible (1966), the Good News Bible (NT 1966, OT 1976), the New American Bible (RC; 1970), The Living Bible Paraphrased (1971), the New International Version (1973), the New King James Version (1982), God's Word to the Nations (a rev. of the Beck Bible; NT 1988), The Revised English Bible (a rev. of The New English Bible; 1989).

M. German.

The Bible was tr. into Ger. as early as the 14th c. This tr. follows the Vulgate. After the invention of printing it appeared (1466–1521) in no fewer than 18 ed., 14 in the High and 4-according to some, 5-in the Low Ger. dialect. The origin of the pre-Lutheran Ger. Bible is still uncertain. That Luther was acquainted with it and made use of it has been est. Luther's version was made from the Heb. and Gk. and everywhere bears the stamp of originality. Its merits are well known. Schaft calls it “a wonderful monument of genius, learning, and piety,” Its homely simplicity and rugged vigor, its idiomatic diction and rhythmic flow of language, its happily alliterative phrases (Stecken und Stab, Dornen trod Disteln, matt und müde, etc.), and its freedom from all pedantic restraint have assured it a permanent place in the hearts of the Ger. people. Luther began his work on the NT in November or early December 1521 and completed it in the following March before he left the Wartburg. The tr. was pub. September 1522. In the greater and more difficult task of tr. the OT, begun 1522, Luther had the assistance of Melanchthon. Bugenhagen, C. Cruciger the Elder, and others. The work was completed 1534, but Luther continued to improve his tr. with every new ed., esp. on the linguistic side. Luther's version not only formed the basis of several other versions (Dan., Swed., Icelandic, Dutch), but naturally gave rise to counter versions by the Catholics (H. Emser* 1527; J. Dietenberger* 1534; J. Eck* 1537). The tr. of Dietenberger, rev. by K. Ulenberg* (pub. 1630) and by the clergy of Mainz 1662, became known as the “Catholic Bible.” A revision of Luther's version known as the “Revidierte Bibel” appeared 1892 but has not met with gen. favor. Finally, several more recent scholarly translations deserve mention, notably those of E. F. Kautzsch* (OT) and K. H. v. Weizsácker* (NT), which have also been pub. together in 1 vol., and those of W. M. L. DeWette,* J. F. Meier. F. E. Schlachter, and H. Menge.* A. v. Schlatter,* W. Michaelis, and others tried to tr. the Bible into contemporary idiom. See also Apocrypha. B 2.


As of 1993, 329 languages had entire Bibles; 770 had the whole NT Some parts of the Bible had been pub. in 2,009 languages and dialects.

John Eliot's* Mohican tr. was the first Bible pub. in Am. (NT 1661; OT 1663). MHF

See also Polychrome Bible; Theology.

English Bible in America: A Bibliography of Editions of the Bible and the New Testament Published in America 1777–1957, ed. M. T. Hills (New York. 1961); The Translated Bible 1534–1934, ed. O. M. Norlie (Philadelphia, 1934); O. M. Norlie, The Bible in a Thousand Tongues (Minneapolis, 1935).

Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ World Wide, Inc.

Est. 1957; Pentecostal; emphasizes evangelism and for. missions; in doctrine the same as the Church* of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc.

Biblia pauperum

(Lat. “Bible of the poor”). Books of late Middle Ages which attempted to illustrate with pictures the fulfillment of the OT in the NT (from Annunciation to crowning of Mary in heaven). NT picture is grouped with OT types and prophecies and explained with a biblical text. Title may refer to “spiritually poor” or to the fact that the Biblia pauperum was used by priests who preached to the poor. Among first books printed from blocks and type in Ger. and Neth. Copies in Lat. and Ger. extant. A similar work was called Speculum humanae salvationis. A work of Bonaventura* which arranged biblical events in alphabetical order was also called Biblia pauperum.

Biblical Canonics.

That part of isagogics* which deals with the hist. side of the aim to determine what books constitute the Bible. See also Canon, Bible.

Biblical History.

Biblical hist. follows the Bible in its chronology and treats the Jewish dispensation, life of Christ. life of the apostles, and the founding of the ch. to the end of the first century. The chief sources are the Bible, Apocryphal books, Philo, Josephus, some classical authors (Herodotus, Ctesins, Polybius. Diodorus, Siculus, Strabo, Plutarch, Livy, Tacitus), archaeological discoveries, patristic writings, papyri, and other MS discoveries. Biblical hist. treats all phases (political. economic, soc., religious) of the sacred narrative.


Term used with negative connotation to describe the approach of some theologians to Scripture; used already 1883 by K. M. A. Kähler.* Attempts to identify theol. tendencies as biblicism proved futile. Often men like J. A. Bengel* and J. T. Beck* were classified as biblicists. H. Engelland (b. Föhrden, Schleswig, 1903; prof. theol. Hamburg Theol. Inst.) classifies A. H. Cremer,* K. M. A. Kähler, and A. V. Schlatter* as neo-biblicists. At times attempts were made to distinguish biblicism in the narrow and wide sense. It has been defined as a liberal use of the Bible that ignores context, figures of speech, and principles of interpretation. K. Barth regards biblicism as immediate approach to Scripture without use of dogma. R. Niebuhr regards biblicism as identical with bibliolatry. Calvin* is often classified as a biblicist whereas Luther's* emphasis on the Gospel protected him from a one-sided biblicism.

In a good sense Biblicism denotes thorough acquaintance with the Bible. In this sense a Bible scholar may be called a Biblicist.


(Gk. “Bible worship”). Term applied, usually in reproach, to those who are regarded as giving too much reverence to the letter of the Scriptures.


That part of dogmatics* which deals with the essence and attributes of Holy Scripture in relation to mankind.


1. Johann Wilhelm (1799–1848). Authority on canon law. B. Marburg; d. Kassel. Studied law at Marburg and Göttingen. Prof. jurisprudence Marburg 1824–34; pres. supreme court Hesse-Cassel 1841; minister of state 1846. Upheld necessity of subscription of pastors to Confessions. 2. Gustav (1836[38?]–1906). Son of J. W. Bickell; theol. and linguist; taught Marburg and Giessen; joined RC Ch. 1865; prof. Münster, Innsbruck, and Vienna; works include translations and studies in area of Syriac and OT.


1. Edward (1786–1850). Angl. clergyman and hymnist. Ordained 1815; sent to Afr.; returned; secy. CMS 1816–30; rector Watton, Hertfordshire, 1830–50; helped found Evangelical Alliance*; compiled Christian Psalmody 1833, a collection of over 700 hymns. 2. Edward (1814–92). Nephew of E. Bickersteth (1786–1850); dean Lichfield; mem. of committee of NT revisers; works include commentary on Mark in Pulpit Commentary. 3. Edward Henry (1825–1906). Angl. clergyman; son of E. Bickersteth (1786–1850); educ. Cambridge; held a number of charges; bp. Exeter 1885 to 1900; hymnist; ed. hymnals. 4. Edward (1850 to 97). Angl. clergyman; son of E. H. Bickersteth; bp. S Tokyo. Educ. Cambridge; miss. to Japan; organized Nippon Sei Kokwai (Catholic Church of Japan); founded community missions of St. Andrew and St. Hilda.

Bidding Prayer.

Ancient prayer, appointed esp. for Good Friday, with intercessions for various classes of men both in the ch. and without; so called because it bids people pray and mentions things to be prayed for.

Biddle, John

(1615–62). Founder of Eng. Unitarianism: imprisoned several times for anti-Trinitarian views expressed in Twelve Arguments and Confession of Faith Touching the Holy Trinity. D. in prison in London.

Bidembach, Balthasar

(1533–78). Provost Stuttgart. Attended Maulbronn* Colloquy 1564. With L. Osiander the Elder* wrote the Maulbronn Formula 1576, antecedent of the Formula of Concord. Successor of J. Brenz.* Wrote homiletic works on 1 Kings and Romans. Hymnist. See also Lutheran Confessions, C 2.

Biedermann, Alois Emanuel

(1819–85). Swiss dogmatician; freethinker; Hegelian pantheist; held that spirituality and infinity were central in the idea of God; from 1850 to his death prof. Zurich.

Biedermann, Richard Daniel

(October 6, 1864–March 8, 1921). Educ. Conc. Coll., Fort Wayne, and Conc. Sem., St. Louis (grad. 1885): pastor St. Paul, Minnesota; Mobile, Ala.; Kendallville and Indianapolis, Indiana; pres. Conc. Sem., Springfield, Illinois, 1914–21; secy. Mo. Syn. 1905–20.

Biel, Gabriel

(ca. 1420–95). Ger. scholastic philos.; nominalist; taught at Tübingen; protagonist of semi-Pelagianism, mechanical theory of sacraments, “mighty dignity” of priests, and Immaculate Conception; position on ch. polity was that of the councils of Constance and Basel. Wrote commentary on Sentences of Peter Lombard. Writings were among first theol. works read by Luther.

F. X. Linsenmann, “Gabriel Biel und die Anfänge der Universität zu Tübingen,” Theologische Quartalschrift, XLVII (1865), 195–226, and “Gabriel Biel, der letzte Scholastiker, und der Nominalismus,” ib., 449–481, 601–676; Friedrich Ueberwegs Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie, ed. B. Geyer, 12th ed., II (Basel, 1951), 611–612, 786.

Bienemann, Kaspar

(Melissander; 1540–91). Gen. supt. Pfalz-Neuburg; tutor Weimar ducal court; pastor and gen. supt. Altenburg; hymnist.

Biewend, Adolf Friedrich Theodor

(May 6, 1816–April 10, 1858). Pastor and educator. B. Rothehütte, Hannover. Educ. Clausthal 1828–35 and U. of Göttingen 1835–38. Tutor Grünenplan, Braunschweig, 1838–42. Applied to a miss. soc. in Stade, which was ready to send him to America. Encouraged by F. K. D. Wyneken to go to America. Ordained May 10, 1843, Hannover. Pastor Washington, D. C., 1843–47. Joined Pennsylvania Synod. Resigned pastorate because cong. was not purely Luth., but a mixture of Luth., Ref., and RC elements. Taught Columbian Coll., Washington, D. C., 1847–49; prof. Ft. Wayne seminary as successor of C. L. A. Wolter 1849–50; prof. Conc. Sem., St. Louis, 1850–58. Promoted study and use of Eng. language and an Eng. academy in St. Louis. Advocated closer relations with other Luth. chs., esp. the Norw. and Tennessee Synods.

H. C. Wyneken, Adolf Fr. Th. Biewend (St. Louis. 1896).


Formal entering into second marriage while the first is undissolved. The normal form of marriage as instituted by God (Gn 1:27) and acknowledged and reaffirmed by Christ (Mt 19:4–6) is monogamy. Bigamy, accordingly, is a corruption of the original institution of marriage and is tolerated neither by the ch. nor, as a rule, by the state.

Big Bang Theory.

Originated 1922 by A. Friedmann* and popularized 1927 by G. E. Lemaître.* Holds that the universe began billions of yrs. ago with the explosion of a hot, dense blob of matter sometimes called the primordial fireball, primeval atom, or cosmic egg. The theory was modified by Martin Ryle (b. 1918; Eng. radio astronomer) and others. See also Cosmogony; Evolution, I.

Bigg, Charles

(1840–1908). Church historian; educ. Oxford. Wrote The Christian Platonists of Alexandria; Neoplatonism; The Origins of Christianity.

Bihlmeyer, Karl

(1874–1942). B. Aulendorf; d. Tübingen. RC theol.; wrote in area of patristics and medieval mysticism.

Bill, Samuel Alexander

(January 10, 1964–January 24, 1942). B. Belfast, N. Ireland; educ. at the Miss. Training Institute at harley House (an indep. School), London, Eng., under H. G. Guinness*; Presb.; miss. to Nigeria 1887; founded Qua Iboe Miss., named after the Qua Iboe River. See also Africa, C 14.

Billerbeck, Paul

(1853–1932). German pastor in Zielensig and Heinersdorf. Wrote (with H. L. Strack) Kommentar zum Neuen Testament arts Talmud and Midrasch.

Billicanus, Theobald

(Gerlacher; Gernolt; ca. 1490–1554). Ger. theol.; favored Luther as early as 1518; later wavered between Luther. Zwingli, and Karlstadt; finally affirmed belief in RC doctrine. D. as prof. rhetoric Marburg.

Billick, Eberhard

(ca. 1499–1557). RC theol. Chief RC opponent of Bucer. Participated in Regensburg* Conf. 1546 and Council of Trent.*

Billing, Einar Magnus

(1871–1939). Son of Gottfrid Billing. Taught systematic theol. Uppsala 1900–20; bp. Västeraas 1920–39; outstanding Swed. theol.; one of the most original, creative thinkers of his time. Probably influenced Aulén and through him the so-called Lundensian school. His theol. research was chiefly directed toward the Bible and Luther. He originated the idea of the Swed. folk ch. ( folkkyrkotanken), widely accepted among clergy and laity. Most important theol. works: De etiska tankarna i urkristendomen (“The Ethical Thoughts of the Primitive Church”); Försoningen (“The Atonement”); Den svenska folkkyrkan (“The Swedish Folk Church”). See also Sweden, Lutheranism in, 6.

G. Wingren, “Om Einar Billings teologi,” in Svensk teologisk kvartalskrift, XX (1944), 271–301, and “Swedish Theology Since 1900,” in Scottish Journal of Theology, IX (June 1956), 113–134; Einar Billing in Memoriam, by several authors (Stockholm, 1940). GH

Billing, Gottfrid

(1841–1925). Swed. ch. leader and statesman; bp. Västeraas 1884, Lund 1898. Presided in the Swed. Ch. Assembly 1878–1920; played important role as promoter of Luth. confessions against liberal theology. Influential mem. of the Swed. parliament.

E. Rodhe, Svenska kyrkan omkring sekelskiftet (Stockholm, 1930). GH

Billot, Louis

(1846–1931). Jesuit theol.; neo-Thomist: wrote on sacraments, Trin., ch., tradition, original sin, grace, parousia.

Bilney, Thomas

(ca. 1495–1531). Eng. Prot. martyr. Mem. Trin. Hall, Cambridge; read Luther's writings in early 1520s. Converted by reading NT in Erasmus' ed. Said to have converted Hugh Latimer. Influenced Robert Barnes and Miles Coverdale. Preached against relics, pilgrimages, and cult of saints. Friend of M. Parker.* Arrested for heresy 1527; recanted. Arrested again 1531; burned at Norwich.

John Foxe. Acts and Monuments, ed. S. R. Cattley, IV (London, 1837), 619–656, 755–763.


Term used to denote power to be in 2 places at the same time. In theol. bilocation receives consideration in the doctrine of Christology.

Biltz, Franz Julius

(July 24, 1825–November 19, 1908). B. Mittel-Frohna, Saxony; came to US as 13-yr.-old orphan with Saxons led by M. Stephan: one of the first students at Conc. Coll., Altenburg; ordained March 12, 1848; served in Dissen (Friedheim), Cape Girardeau Co., Missouri, Cumberland, Maryland, and Concordia, Missouri Missionary among Ger. immigrants; Pres. W Dist., Mo. Syn.: mem. Electoral Coll.; instrumental in founding St. Paul's Coll., Concordia, Missouri

Bimeler, Joseph Michael.

(Bäumeler; Baumeler; Bimmeler). See Communistic Societies, 5.


(from Lat. bini: twofold). Offering of mass twice on same day by same person.

Bingham, Hiram

(October 30, 1789–1869). B. Bennington, Vermont; educ. at Middlebury Coll. and Andover Sem. Sent by ABCFM to Hawaii 1819; wrote a history of the mission in Hawaii down to 1845.

Bingham, Joseph

(1668–1723). Eng. clergyman and archaeologist. B. Wakefield; d. Havant. Rector of Headbourne Worthy, near Winchester, and of Hayant. Works include Origines Ecclesiasticae; or The Antiquities of the Christian Church, containing information on the hierarchy, organization, rites, discipline, and calendar of the early ch.

Bingham, Roland Victor

(1872–December 4, 1942). B. East Grinstead, Sussex, Eng.; to Can., where he met 2 missionaries to the Sudan; the 3 made an unsuccessful attempt to evangelize the Sudan 1893. After training in Cleveland and New York, Bingham formed the council 1898 that later became the Sudan* Interior Miss.. A 2d unsuccessful venture to enter the Sudan 1900 was followed by a 3d attempt 1901–02 (see Africa, C 14).


Belief that there are only 2 persons in the Trinity,* Father and Son.

Binney, Joseph G.

(1807–77). Bap. pastor; ABCFM (Cong.) miss. to Karens in Burma 1844–50, and Rangoon, Burma 1858–76.

Biography, Bibliography of.

I. General. World Biography, 5th ed. (Bethpage, New York, 1954); Biographical Encyclopedia of America, ed. J. C. Schwarz (New York, 1940); Dictionary of American Biography, ed. A. Johnson and D. Malone, new rev. pop. ed., 20 vols., with index and suppl. 1 (New York, 1943 to 1945), suppl. 2 ed. R. L. Schuyler and E. T. James, vol. 22 (New York, 1958); Concise Dictionary of American Biography, ed. F. Burkhardt et al. (New York, 1964); Who's Who in America (pub. since 1899 by the A. N. Marquis Co., Chicago); Who Was Who in America (A. N. Marquis Co., Chicago); R. W. Murphey, How and Where to Look It Up: a Guide to Standard Sources of Information (New York, 1958); excellent biographical materials have been prepared by R. R. Bowker Co.,; New York (see Directory of American Scholars, 1963). Biographies and bibliographies are also given in encyclopedias.*

II. Biblical. Outstanding biographical material is given in Bible dictionaries, lexicons,* and encyclopedias;* H. Morton, Women of the Bible (New York, 1941); L. Wangemann, Biblische Biographien and Monographien (Leipzig, 1899); H. Hunter, Sacred Biography, 6 vols. (Boston, 1794); R. Wenger, Die Frauen des Netten Testaments (Stuttgart, 1927); J. Hastings, Greater Men and Women of the Bible, 6 vols. (New York, 1913–16).

III. Early Christianity. See references under Patristics; Saints; Popes. A. G. Rudelbach, Biographien von Zeugen der christlichen Kirche (Leipzig, 1850).

IV. Christian (General). W. Smith and H. Wace, Dictionary of Christian Biography, 4 vols. (London, 1877–87); M. Meurer, Das Leben der Altväter der lutherischen Kirche (Leipzig) 1861–64); M. Adam, Vitae Germanorum theologorum (Heidelberg 1620); A. G. Rudelbach, Biographien von Zeugen der christlichen Kirche (Leipzig, 1850) and Christliche Biographie (Leipzig, 1850): Religious Leaders of America, ed. J. C. Schwarz, Vol. I: Who's Who In the Clergy, 1935–1936 (New York, 1936), Vol. II: Religious Leaders of America, 1941–1942 (New York, 1941); R. F. Sample, Beacon Lights of the Reformation (Philadelphia, 1889): E. M. Harrison, Heroes of Faith on Pioneer Trails (Chicago, 1945); K. R. Hagenbach, Leben und auserwählte Schriften der Väter und Begründer der Reformierten Kirche, 10 vols. (Elberfeld, 1859–62); Religion in American Life, eds. J. W. Smith and A. L. Jamison (Princeton, 1961); Dictionary of American History, ed. in chief J. T. Adams, 6 vols. (New York, 1940); The American Charch History Series, 13 vols. (New York, 1893–97); The Yearbook of American Churches (New York). Other good sources and bibliographies can be found in religious encyclopedias.*

V. American Lutheran. J. W. Richards, Penn's Lutheran Forerunners and Friends (Columbus, 1926); L. Fuerbringer, Persons and Events (Saint Louis, 1947); I. O. Nothstein, Latheran Makers of America (Philadeplhia, 1930); A. R. Wentz, History of the Gettysburg Theological Seminary (Philadelphia, 1926); W. J. Finck, Lutheran Landmarks and Pioneers in America (Philadelphia, 1913); Lutheran World Almanac (pub. since 1921 by NLC); Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly (pub. since 1928 by Conc. Hist. inst.); H. E. Jacobs and J. A. W. Haas, The Lutheran Cyclopedia (New York, 1899); J. C. Jensson, American Lutheran Biographies (Milwaukee, 1890); J. G. Morris, Fifty Years in the Lutheran Ministry (Baltimore, 1878); O. M. Norlie, Prominent Personalities (Northfield, Minnesota, 1942) and School Calendar, 1824–1924 (Minneapolis, 1924); W. B. Sprague, Annals of the American Lutheran Pulpit (New York, 1869); A Biographical Dictionary of Pastors of the American Lutheran Church (Minneapolis, 1932); obituaries in church magazines and periodicals; American Lutheran church histories (by Graebner, Jacobs, Fritschel, Bente, Neve, Wentz, Wolf, and others). ARS

Bionomic Forces.

In science and philosophy, extra-biological forces (all physical, chemical, and environmental factors) which affect living organisms in any way.

Biran, Maine de

(1766–1824). Outstanding Fr. psychologist; defender of Fr. spiritualism; regarded religion as a matter of emotion rather than belief.


Square cap with 3 or 4 projecting prominences and a tassel, worn by priests when approaching the altar for mass, and in choir, etc. A cardinal's biretta is red, a bishop's purple, that of other clerics black. See also Vestments, Clerical.


(d. ca. 650). Apostle of W Saxons and first bp. Dorchester. Came to Eng. 634.

Birkedal, Wilhelm

(1809–92). Educ. U. of Copenhagen; pastor Ryslinge, Den.; propagated theol. of Grundtvig*; est. a free cong. which, after 1868, functioned under the care of the bp. of the est. church.

Birken, Siegmund von

(Betulius; 1626—81). B. Wildstein, Bohemia: because of religious persecution his family fled to Nürnberg, where he started his schooling. Studied law and theol. at U. of Jena. Because of his poetical gifts he was admitted as a mem. of the Pegnitz Shepherd and Flower Order; poet laureate. Tutor at Wolfenbüttel to the princes of Brunswick-Lüneburg; tutor at various courts. Wrote 52 hymns, including “Jesus, I Will Ponder Now” and “Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus.”

Birkner, Henry Philip Ludwig

(February 26. 1857–November 7, 1932). B. Brooklyn, New York; grad. Conc. Sem., Saint Louis, 1878; attended New York U. 1878–79; pastor Gordonville, Missouri, 1879–86, St. Louis 1886–90, Boston 1890; vice-pres. Atlantic Dist., Mo. Syn., 1915 to 1918; pres. 1918–30.

Bischoff, Johann Gottfried

(1871–1960). Leader of New Apostolic Church.

Bischoff, Rudolf Adam

(May 16, 1847–September 11, 1916). B. St. Louis; d. Bingen, Indiana Educ. Conc. Coll., Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Conc. Sem., St. Louis; pastor Alexandria, Virginia: prof. Conc. Coll., Fort Wayne, 1872–82, pres. 1882–86; pastor Bingen. Indiana, 1886–89; prof. Conc. Coll., Fort Wayne, 1889 to 1904; ed. Lutheran Pioneer 1879–1912.


(Gk. episkopos, “overseer”). 1. Used in NT for those who governed and directed the Christian communities. The NT does not distinguish between bps. and presbyters (Acts 14:23; 20:17, 28). In gen., “presbyter” indicated the office (Ro 12:8; 1 Th. 5:12) and “bishop” the function (Acts 20:28). The tendency toward investing one presbyter with over all responsibility may appear as early as the Pastoral Epistles (see 1 Ti 3:2, 5).

By the end of the 1st c. the bp. has become the head of the local ch. at least at Corinth (1 Clement. 44). In the Didache (XV) the bp. is preacher, teacher, and leader of worship. The bp. is the responsible leader of the cong. in the letters of Ignatius of Antioch (2d c.). In this monarchical episcopate, one bp. rules in each ch., maintains purity of doctrine, is the chief celebrant at the Eucharist, and presides at baptisms. Irenaeus* and Tertullian* are concerned with demonstrating the apostolic succession of episcopal offices. In Hippolytus* the “presbyter-bishop” has become the priest through whom the worshiping cong. at the Eucharist offers its sacrifice of praise, and to whom the responsibility of teaching and certain limited judicial functions belong. The bp. of the 3d c. is chosen by the community (nos eligimus eum) and is consecrated by the neighboring bps. assisted by the presbyters. The situation confronting Cyprian* of Carthage leads to an emphasis on the administrative and judicial functions of the bp. Each bp. is the representative of Christ and the contemporary embodiment of the apostles (“The bishop is in the church and the church in the bishop.”).

2. Thus by the middle of the 3d c. the office of bp. had emerged as chief magisterial, liturgical, administrative, and judicial ministry of the ch. As Christianity moved out of the cities into the surrounding countryside jurisdiction of the bp. was extended beyond the original town limits to larger areas. When the Christian religion was recognized by Constantine, bps. were given the rank of an illustris, their right to distinctive garb was recognized, and their jurisdiction was conformed to the pattern of imperial administration. The distinctive features of the office of bp. were formalized by councils between Nicaea (325) and Chalcedon (451). From the 5th c. on the original parity of presbyters and bps. was more and more lost sight of. During the Middle Ages the bps. of the Christian West received functions of secular magistrates in many places.

3. In W canon law three things are necessary to est. a bp. in office: election, mission, and consecration. In RC theol., the office of bp. exists by divine right but jurisdiction is conceived of as conferred by the pope. At the present time RC bps. are usually selected by the pope; they receive their mission, or episc. powers, either directly from pope or through a metropolitan, and they are consecrated by a bp. assisted by two bps. The bp. swears allegiance to the pope and must periodically report to him (visitatio liminum).

4. In the Ch. of Eng. the cathedral dean and chapter elect a candidate nominated by the crown and mission and consecration is by the metropolitan. In other parts of the Angl. communion the provisions of local canon law govern.

5. The chief duties of RC,; Old Catholic, E Orthodox, and Angl. bps. are to administer those sacraments of which they alone are the ordinary ministers (ordination, confirmation) and serve as shepherd, priest, and teacher of the diocese.* The bps. of these communions claim apostolic* succession, although the validity of Angl. orders is not universally recognized.

6. The Hussite schismatics of Bohemia retained the title of bp., although without a demonstrable apostolic succession, and the episcopate was revived 1735 with the restoration of the Unitas Fratrum on the Saxon estates of Count von Zinzendorf. The title of bp. is gen. in Am. Methodism and related churches. Many smaller Prot. churches have adopted the title.

7. The Luth. symbols (AC XXVIII; Ap XXVIII; Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope. 60–82; SA II iv 9; III x) recognized the rank of bps. and described their true function as preaching the Gospel, administering the sacraments, and exercising the keys. Though the symbols strongly express a desire to continue canonical govt., political factors prevented the perpetuation of the episcopate among the Luth. estates of the Holy Roman empire.

8. The office of bp. was kept in Swed. and Fin. (with apostolic succession); the title was restored in Den., Norw., Iceland, Transylvania, Slov. and Hung. In Ger. the supervision of the ch. was given to supts. In Luth. Ger. secular rulers often assumed the juridical functions of bps. and the style of summus episcopus of the ch. in their territories. The term Landes bischof (episcopus territorialis) was introduced in Nassau 1827. Several Luth. theologians (e.g., F. J. Stahl,* J. K. W. Löne*) tried to reintroduce the office of bp. Efforts of the 18th and 19th c. Prussian kings to restore the episcopate in their domains climaxed in the shortlived joint Angl. and Prussian Union bishopric of Jerusalem.

9. When the office of summus episcopus was abolished after WW I, some Ger. territorial churches used the title “bishop” for their presiding officer. In 1933 the office was introduced throughout most of Ger. The prestige of bps. rose during the Kirchenkampf* so that the office is regarded as self-evident in ch. orders and constitutions after 1945. The title has been rejected for the most part only in areas where Ref. influence is strong.

10. Ger. Ev. bps. are usually elected for life by synods or other ecclesiastical authorities. They usually have little or no legislative or administrative authority and their functions are largely spiritual (ordination, installation of pastors and prelates, visitation, consecration of churches, access to all pulpits of their territory, general oversight of the ch. and clergy, presiding over synods and other major administrative agencies).

11. In the 17th and 18th c. the RC Ch. began to consecrate indigenous bps. in India and China and the practice has now become gen. The first indigenous Angl. bp. was S. Crowther* of Afr. The episc. Luth. churches of Eur. often est. the episcopate in their missions, notably in India and Afr. The All Afr. Luth. Conf. (1955) expressed itself in favor of bps.

The episcopate was briefly est. among the Saxon Luth. immigrants to the US; Löhe designed his Franconian colony in Mich. to be episcopally governed, but his intention was never realized.

12. Today counselors, presidents of districts and synods in the Luth. churches of Am., and similar officers perform the function of bps. The extent of their administrative power may be greater or less than that exercised by their Eur. counterparts. EL, ACP

See also Titular Bishop; Western Christianity 500–1500, 8.

F. Haupt, Der Episcopat der deutschen Reformation, 2 vols. (Frankfurt/M, 1863–66); Episcopacy, Ancient and Modern, eds. C. Jenkins and K. D. MacKenzie (New York, 1930); The Apostolic Ministry: Essays on the History and the Doctrine of Episcopacy, ed. K. E. Kirk (London, 1946); A. Ehrhardt, The Apostolic Succession in the First Two Centuries of the Church (London, 1953); E. Benz, Bischofsamt und apostolische Sukzession im deutschen Protestantismus (Stuttgart, 1953); The Historic Episcopate in the Fullness of the Church, ed. K. M. Carey (London, 1954); The Ministry in Historical Perspectives, eds. H. R. Niebuhr and D. D. Williams (New York, 1956); K. Rahner and J. Ratzinger, The Episcopate and the Primacy, tr. K. Barker and others (New York, 1962); R. Caemmerer and E. Lueker, Church and Ministry in Transition (St. Louis, 1964).

Bismarck Archipelago.

E of Territory of New Guinea (of which it is politically a part); includes New Brit., New Ireland, Lavongai (New Hanover), and the Admiralty Islands, and ca. 200 other islands and islets. Area: ca. 22,920 sq. mi. Pop.: ca. 247,780, mostly Melanesians. Ger. protectorate 1884; after WW I under Australian control. George Brown of the Meth. Miss. Soc. of Australasia began work on New Brit. 1875. The Liebenzeller Miss. is at work on several islands of the Admiralty group. RC missions began 1889.


(Arab. “In the name of Allah”). Formula at beginning of each sura (chapter) of Koran; commonly used by Muslim as pious expletive.

Bitter, Karl Hermann

(1813–85). Prussian statesman and writer on music; biographer of J. S. Bach.

Bittle, David Frederick

(January 1811–September 25, 1876). B. Frederick Co., Maryland; educ. Pennsylvania Coll. and Theol. Sem., Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; United Synod pastor Virginia and Maryland; helped est. Roanoke Coll. and served as first pres. 1853–76.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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