E. W. Bullinger (1837-1913)

Discussion in 'Bible, Doctrine, and Other Topics' started by Eric, May 9, 2008.

  1. Eric

    Eric Beta Tester

    I recently did a little internet search on E. W. Bullinger. I have his book Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, but I don't think I have any others. I found out EWB worked with the Trinitarian Bible Society for many years (1867-1913), that he was an ultra-dispensationalist, and that "Bullinger also taught a form of annihilationism" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._W._Bullinger).
    I noticed that the tentmaker.org website also promotes something they call "Christian universalism" which is apparently similar to E. W. Bullinger's doctrine regarding the eternal state(s). I have no doubt that "Christian universalism" is unbiblical and dangerous theology. Just this morning I was reading a biography of J. Sidlow Baxter (J. Sidlow Baxter: A Heart Awake by E. A. Johnston, Baker Books, 2005). On p. 188 the biographer talks about Baxter's 1987 book The Other Side of Death. I quote, "In it he cries out against the "soul sleep theory" espoused by E. W. Bullinger." Of course, there are things I heartily disagree with in Baxter's writings and practice, too (e. g. gap theory), but I thought I'd mention this. I found this review of ultra-dispensationalism useful: http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/bewareof-hyperdisp.html. Only recently did I learn anything about J. Sidlow Baxter, so I found the review of his Explore the Book in this article interesting since the article points out some of Baxter's theological positions: http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/bible-commentaries.html.
  2. wsbones

    wsbones Beta Tester

    Bullinger has some great insights. Another author that I think has some very useful material is Finis J. Dake. But, he has some strange ideas too. Comparing everything with Scripture is the only right way to sort it out. Even then, it seems like there are too many unknowns and not enough equations. (1Co 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.) So we end up with multiple feasible solutions and a set of assumptions.
  3. Truckerboy

    Truckerboy Member


    As WSBones says in his reply, check everything against scripture.

    I have used Bullinger's Companion Bible for many years and it is a tremendous resource. He does raise some very interesting questions, often which haven't been raised before. Some of them are questionable (e.g. he teaches the Gap Theory of creation) but so long as you check things out for yourself instead of simply accepting what he says because he is "a minister", then it is a valuable book.

    You might find it hard to obtain, and it's sheer size will make it expensive but it is well worth while. It is becoming available online, but I can't remember where.

    PS: how about a module, guys?

    Yours in Him,

  4. Brandon Staggs

    Brandon Staggs Administrator Staff Member

    As far as I know, there is no complete Bullinger Companion Bible text available in digital format. The work is mammoth in size and formatting complexity is intricate to say the least.
  5. wsbones

    wsbones Beta Tester

    The Companion Bible is available at http://www.companion-bible.com/CBPdffiles/

    The files are digital images of each book of the Bible (not text). They can be viewed with a PDF viewer.

    I have put together an index for Swordsearcher to open the correct file. I keep the pdf's stored on my hard drive in c:\companion. When I want to refer to Bullinger's notes for a passage, I open the correct book file and then go to the page containing the verse. My index is available here:

  6. Truckerboy

    Truckerboy Member

    Thanks for the swift replies, Brandon & WS.

    Brandon, my request was, I admit, a little tongue in cheek because I knew what it might involve! If I didn't have to work for a living I might try taking the task on. One day, perhaps!

    Thanks for your links, Mr Bones, much appreciated. I shall link in to that.

  7. SkyNacTex

    SkyNacTex New Member

    Bullinger's Companion Bible is the only bible I have used my entire life and have read most of the books he has read. Despite what some of the detractors to be found on the web have had to say, Bullinger never espoused the Adventist (JW/7th Day) concept of soul sleep nor did he advocate Universalism. Adventists and Universalists, despite the fact they later adhered to (and, sadly, twisted to fit their own beliefs) certain aspects of Bullinger's writings is beside the issue. To what degree one might be a dispensationalist would appear to be rooted in whether they believe the church began in Acts chapter 2, 9 or 28, all of which Bullinger explained in great detail in the Companion Bible and its accompanying Appendixes. A few-some years back someone tried to digitize the CB and made it nearly to the end (ie, proofreading) and apparently their spiritual batteries, time and funds ran out of gas. He called it the Companion Bible Electronification and it was at http://thecompanionbible.com/.

  8. RevTim

    RevTim Beta Tester

    No man is, of course, perfect.

    But all men can be a blessing, to the extent that they are yielded to the Lord's filling and leading.

    Bullinger's Figures of Speech is pretty much THE standard for student's of hermeneutics, and for good reason. I highly recommend it.
  9. RevTim

    RevTim Beta Tester

    There really isn't anything at that link. Too bad. I hope some day it's available in a more user friendly format.
  10. SkyNacTex

    SkyNacTex New Member

    I agree, it is a most excellent volume, mammothly comprehensively though it is.

    I am constantly dumbfounded when I look at the amount of work and the shear size and the amount of time it took to compile works such as these when considering no computers, no typewriters, costly paper (don't even think of making an error and wadding a page up to throw it away grabbing in its place a new sheet off the ream!), candlelight and how much had to be retained in memory and the very concept that all thoughts had to be well reasoned and thought out in advance before putting it to paper one time only with, of all things, a bird feather (quill) the ink of which, often had to be blotted after writing. Amazing, simply amazing!

  11. RevTim

    RevTim Beta Tester

    The more a man is yielded to the Lord, the less amazing it ought to be to us.

    Perhaps that's the problem with our generation: we aren't Spiritual enough.

    (Please note: I mean no disrespect to you, nor did I intend this to apply to you. I know it applies to me at times, and I suppose any believer, being honest, would admit the same. But I do believe it applies sadly, and in general, to Western Christianity today.)
  12. SkyNacTex

    SkyNacTex New Member

    I would qualify that with in general for mankind and relevently specific to much of what today considers itself as the Church.
  13. RevTim

    RevTim Beta Tester

    In my experience, I would apply it to believers.

    Not all. But too many.

    But if your experience differs, then I am glad for that for you.
  14. grace5

    grace5 Member

    Just a note about a worthy book by Bullinger is Numbers in Scripture.
    Its a mind blower how numbers and design of all things fit together[FONT=verdana,geneva,lucida,'lucida grande',arial,helvetica,sans-serif]...

  15. joywells

    joywells Member

    I'm new here, and I notice the dates of messages, and I'm wondering if this website is still actively kept up.

    If so, my question is: has anyone read Ironside's counter against Dr. Bullinger's teachings found on www.withchrist.org? He thinks Bullinger's work is of the devil. I recently bought The Companion Bible and How to Enjoy the Bible. I've found them both helpful and challenging of our traditional understanding of several important Evangelical beliefs. I wonder about Ironside's hard review of Bullinger's amazing work, and would like to hear your views.
  16. Truckerboy

    Truckerboy Member

    Welcome to the forum. It is active and maintained, but contributions tend to go in fits and starts. With Swordsearcher being KJV focussed, it tends to have a smaller user-base than say Logos Bible Software, for example,and it would seem that many of us lead very busy lives and are therefore away from the forum for more than we would like.

    I will have a look at the Ironside work - it is on my "to do" list! Maybe I will come back and comment in due course.


  17. Truckerboy

    Truckerboy Member

    Well I have read the Ironside article about Bullinger, and it was very interesting.

    What struck me was the criticism that Bullinger did not recognise the role of the Holy Spirit in our understanding the scriptures, and that he taught the importance of correct technique and methodology in Bible study. In reality, all the methodology in the world is no use on its own - remember, it was theologians who came up with Higher Criticism of the Bible, for instance. But the other side of the argument is that ignoring methodology can be equally dangerous, because we can end up with an experiential approach to scripture, similar to Quakers, and to postmodern thought, something which is rife within the Emergent Church. The result is all manner of unbiblical teachings, as well as denying foundational doctrine.

    In reality, we need correct technique and methodology, but illuminated by the Holy Spirit as He leads us into all truth - in other words we need both.

    Similarly, the article drifts past the Calvinism/Armenianism argument, via Dispensationalism. But there are aspects of Calvinism which can be supported from scripture, and others which can equally be refuted. The same is true for Armenianism/Dispensationalism. In reality, although there may appear to be two contradictory arguments, it is possible to hold both together in tension.This is actually the way the Jewish mind works, and is why we have such difficulties within the pages of scripture. Our problem is that we have been heavily influenced by Greek thought which decided that a particular view is correct, therefore all others must be wrong, so people tend to be either one or the other.

    As has been common to many of the comments in this thread, there are plenty of helpful truths in Bullingers work, but we must always test them against scripture for ourselves, an trust that the Spirit will guide us to the truth.
  18. ishaknatan

    ishaknatan Beta Tester

    Well said . . .
  19. Don68

    Don68 Member


    Registered just to post a link to an article, if I may do so, which you may find it of interest...


    The late C.R. Stam, who knew Ironside personally back in the '30s, wrote of other discussions he had with the man in, I believe, the book HOLDING FAST THE FAITHFUL WORD (from same site) shows the correspondence between Ironside and Stam. I have to tell you, Ironside comes off as less than open minded when earnest correction was offered to him, and in my opinion was knowingly guilty of unrepentant slander against brothers in Christ. I sent these same thoughts, and that same article, to Dan S. at withchrist.org many years ago. He ignored it, just as Ironside pretty much ignored and ridiculed Stam. The book by Stam is worth the pittance just for the chapter on Ironside. For what it's worth,

    In Christ,


    P.S. The article I link above is also not entirely correct on Bullinger...I believe the writer of the piece also believes the common error that Bullinger believed in soul sleep, etc. If Bullinger ever came to believe in these doctrines, it was toward the very end of his life as no evidence of it has turned up in his existing writings (an earlier poster was quite correct in pointing this out). However, tying soul sleep, etc, to Bullinger has long been so handy a bludgeon that it's commonly believed even in strict dispensationalist circles by the very people who ought best to know better. It will never be eradicated this side of the Bema, but I do what I can to help.

    Thank you for allowing me to post this.
  20. Brandon Staggs

    Brandon Staggs Administrator Staff Member

    I'm bumping this rather old thread to update it so that passers-by will know that the following Bullinger works are now part of SwordSearcher:

    • The Companion Bible (notes and Appendixes)
    • Figures of Speech Used in the Bible (new in version 6.2)