Friday, February 16, 2007

Bruce Metzger 1914-2007

If you appreciate reading the Bible that's in your home, there's a person you may never have heard of who you ought to thank.

Bruce Metzger.

Metzger, an authority on Greek manuscripts of the Bible and emeritus professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, died February 13th in Princeton, New Jersey. He was 93.

Metzger did scholarly work in determining the original words of the New Testament writers and served on the translation committee that produced the RSV and NRSV versions of the Bible. Any modern English translation of the Bible today has been influenced in one way or another by Metzger's work.

I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Metzger in 1992 when he came to Dallas Theological Seminary to deliver the W.H. Griffith Thomas lectures. It was early in the morning and he was sitting by himself in our dormitory cafeteria eating breakfast. Me and a couple of others friend asked if we could sit with him and he graciously welcomed us.

I don't remember what was discussed as much as how Dr. Metzger carried himself. When a few friends challenged him on his view of inerrancy (he believed the Scriptures were infallible, but not inerrant), his words were always gracious and kind.

Later in the week I had him sign my copy of his book, The New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. It's a fascinating book that tells the history and characteristics of the many ancient manuscripts that together give us the New Testament. The style of his signature was a reflection of his life's work--careful and precise.

Dr. Metzger was an incredible Bible scholar and a true Christian gentlemen who demonstrated how to love God with all your mind.

UPDATE: Ben Witherington's tribute illustrates Metzger's brillance and charity.

1 comment:

Chuck said...

I'm envious of this opportunity you had to meet Metzger. He must have had an amazing faith to retain his belief in the authority of scripture in an environment that so often lord's itself over the holy scriptures. Again, I'm envious!

God bless Ted.