Original Research

Bullinger’s expression – praedicatio verbi Dei est verbum Dei, within his view of Scripture

Morné Diedericks
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 58, No 1 | a3079 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v58i1.3079 | © 2024 Morne Diedericks | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 March 2024 | Published: 10 June 2024

About the author(s)

Morné Diedericks, Department of Education, Faculty of Biblical studies, Philosophy and Life Sciences, Aros, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

The Reformers’ debates with, among others, the Catholics and Anabaptists on the authority of Scripture offered a valuable response to modern attacks on the authority of Scripture. While the Reformers confessed Sola Scriptura [Scripture alone] against the Catholics, Bullinger’s well-known statement, praedicatio verbi Dei est verbum Dei, could be seen as a confession against the Anabaptists, as well as some of today’s Christian movements that prioritised the personal interpretation of Scripture. Where personal interpretation of Scripture had become the primary principle for Scriptural interpretation in some of today’s Christian communities, Heinrich Bullinger relegated it to the background. For Bullinger, the inner working of the Holy Spirit during the external proclamation of the Word of God in worship within the covenant community was the starting point for Scriptural interpretation.

Contribution: The thesis of this article is that within the Reformers’ view of Scripture, as exemplified by the insights of Heinrich Bullinger, the personal reading of the Bible by each member of the covenant community was understood within the context of communal interpretation and covenant theology. Emphasising the significance of communal worship and the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit, this perspective underscored the transformative nature of Scriptural interpretation within the covenant community, rejecting the notion of personal interpretation as the sole authority. It was within the context of Bullinger’s covenant theology that the well-known expression praedicatio verbi Dei est verbum Dei [the preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God], had to be understood.


Keywords

authority of scripture; covenant theology; Heinrich Bullinger; Hermeneutics; Reformation; Perspicuity of scripture; Preaching; Ulrich Zwingli.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

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