Friday, November 10, 2006

Light From Wesley's Greek New Testament

ταυτα δε αυτου απολογουμενου ο φηστος μεγαλη τη φωνη φησιν μαινη παυλε τα πολλα σε γραμματα εις μανιαν περιτρεπει
(Acts 26.24)

John Wesley was smart.

While we tend to think of him as a horseback riding evangelist, we must not forget that he was a man of education, an Oxford educated scholar and linguist. Read portions of his Journal entries:

"I began to learn German in order to converse with the Germans, six-and-twenty of whom we had on board. On Sunday, the weather being fair and calm, we had the morning service on quarterdeck. I now first preached extempore and then administered the Lord’s Supper to six or seven communicants." (October 17, 1735)

"I began learning Spanish in order to converse with My Jewish parishioners; some of whom seem nearer the mind that was in Christ than many of those who called Him Lord." (April 4, 1737)

"I met Peter Bohler again, who now amazed me more and more by the account he gave of the fruits of living faith—the holiness and happiness which he affirmed to attend it. The next morning I began the Greek Testament again, resolving to abide by 'the law and the testimony'; I was confident that God would hereby show me whether this doctrine was of God." (March 23, 1738)

"I began writing a short French grammar." (March 6, 1750)

"I read over Mr. Holmes's Latin Grammar and extracted from it what was needful to perfect our own." (October 15, 1750)

"I removed to Threadneedle Street; where I spent the remainder of the week, partly in prayer, reading, and conversation, partly in writing a Hebrew grammar, and Lessons for Children."
(February 10, 1751)

"I began reading over the Greek Testament and the notes, with my brother and several others; carefully comparing the translation with the original and correcting or enlarging the notes as we saw occasion." (December 12, 1759)

It does no good to pretend that all are of equal intelligence. Wesley arguably was a genius; most of us are not. Genius, however, isn't necessary to be effective in the work of the Kingdom of God. One of my favorite Wesleyans, William Carvosso (another great soul-winner), didn't write a sentence in his native English until he reached 65 years of age. Still, God used John Wesley—and God used William Carvosso.

It doesn't matter how educated or intelligent you are; it only matters how obedient you are.