Bible Scholar Spreads the Word Retirement Puts Noted Theologian to Work on Road
Esther Talbot Fenning St. Charles Post Special Correspondent, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
When the Rev. Bruce Metzger retired from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1984, the renowned Bible scholar took to the road.
For the past 10 years Metzger, 80, has traveled at least once a month from his home in Princeton, N.J., to churches and universities across the United States. He lectures, preaches, conducts workshops and talks about the more than 35 books he has written, edited and translated from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
Metzger co-edited the New Oxford Annotated Bible and edited the Reader's Digest Condensed Bible.
He served as general editor of the 1990 New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. He is the author of the Oxford Companion to the Bible published last year by Oxford University Press.
Metzger will conduct workshops from Sunday through Tuesday at John Calvin Presbyterian Church, Bonsiles at Larchsburr, in Bridgeton. He will deliver Sunday's sermon at John Calvin Presbyterian at 10:30 a.m. on the subject: Message from Christ to the Churches.
The public is invited to call the church at 739-3066 for information about Metzger's workshops.
While in the St. Louis area, Metzger will speak to a New Testament class at Lindenwood College at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and after the class attend a reception at the home of Lindenwood president Dennis Spellmann.
Last week Metzger was on the campus of the University of Georgia, Athens, where he lectured to a group of graduate religion students.
In a telephone interview from Athens, Metzger talked about his work as Bible translator, editor, and scriptural scholar.
Metzger says the Bible has been translated into 239 of the world's 6,000 languages and dialects. Individual books of the Bible have been translated into 2,009 different languages. He says people of many other languages still need translations.
"Even so, perhaps as many as 80 percent of the people living in the world have at least one Biblical book in their language," he said.
Last year the United Bible Society sent Metzger to South Korea and St. Petersburg, Russia, where he lectured through interpreters to Bible translators from countries of the former Soviet Union.
There are 120 languages in what used to be the Soviet Union, says Metzger. Many of those are interested in Bible translations. Metzger says the first workshop in Russia was in Moscow in 1992.
"A man came up to me at that workshop and told me he was a Gypsy," Metzger said. "He wanted to translate the Bible into his dialect for his people."
There were 27 English translations of the King James version of the Bible between 1952 and 1990, says Metzger.
"There were an additional 25 English translations of the New Testament adding up to 52 translations for the New Testament alone," Metzger added. …