GIVING & SHARING NEWSLETTER September, 1989 No. 6
Companion Bible An Excellent Study Tool
Ethelbert W. Bullinger (1837-1913) was a brilliant Bible scholar. His Companion Bible is published by Kregel. This valuable study Bible, with its 227-page Appendix, has long been one of the most popular items distributed by Giving & Sharing.
The Appendix is the heart of the Companion Bible. Bullinger’s 198 Appendices cover such topics as genealogies, outlines of books and passages, Biblical synonyms and figures of speech, tables of coins and measures, detailed word studies, historical contexts for Biblical events, and much more. This excellent study tool proves, among other things, that the crucifixion was on Wednesday; the Savior was crucified on an upright pole, not a cross; that Messiah was born in the fall near Tabernacles; it is not wrong to drink wine moderately; and Nimrod was the first dictator.
You will enjoy Bullinger’s other works. The Church Epistles is a commentary on the Apostle Paul’s books. Number in Scripture is a valuable study on the spiritual significance of numbers and proof of the divine design of Holy Scripture.
Sabbatarians or Sabbath-Keepers?
In the July, 1989, Sabbath Sentinel, Eugene Lincoln referred to those of us who keep the seventh-day Sabbath as “Sabbatarians.” He expressed aversion to the term “Sabbath-keepers” which in his opinion smacks of a “Pharisaical attitude.”
Actually, the opposite is true. Here are two good reasons why “Sabbath-keeper” is a better term than “Sabbatarian”:
(1) “Sabbatarian” generally means “a strict Sunday-keeper.” The Encyclopaedia Britannica, article, “Sabbatarianism,” says that Sabbatarians are those “who regard the first day of the week as the sabbath . . . . [and are] concerned mainly with the things that may not be done on that day. Sabbatarianism in this sense of excessive strictness in observance of Sunday, and legislation on the subject, is as old as Constantine, who decreed regulations against Sunday labour in 321, [and reached its height with] the Puritans and Scottish Presbyterians . . . [who enacted] the most rigorous ‘blue laws’ . . . .” The article concludes by saying that those who observe a Saturday Sabbath “are not those to whom the name Sabbatarian is commonly given.”
(2) The term “Sabbatarian,” by definition, means one who has an excessive Pharisaical attitude towards observance of a day of rest. “Sabbatarian” rhymes with “sectarian,” a narrow-minded bigot who cannot transcend a tightly defined set of ideas. Likewise, a Sabbatarian worships the Sabbath instead of the Creator of the Sabbath. I have many important religious beliefs that I would die for, in addition to the Sabbath!
Webster's Third International Dictionary, Unabridged, defines “sabbatarian” as not only one who keeps the seventh (a seventh) day, but also “one who favors strict observance of the Sabbath,” and “rigidly strict.” Sabbatarianism is “the puritanical suppression on Sunday of all avoidable work and enjoyment as an enforcement of pious devotion and sobriety.” Here is the “Pharisaical attitude” that we oppose. Devotion must come from the heart, and cannot be enforced through “blue laws.” God’s Sabbath is a joyous blessing, not a somber burden. The Sabbath was made for man’s spiritual and physical enjoyment. We abhor those who make the Sabbath a burden with excessive strictness.
It is true that “Sabbath-keeper” and “Sabbath-observer” are not in the unabridged dictionary. Yet no better terms express true seventh-day Sabbath observance. The commandment states, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” And we who believe and practice this command are “Sabbath-keepers,” not “Sabbatarians.”
In its masthead the BSA is defined as a “strictly nonsectarian association dedicated to helping Sabbath-keepers.” Eugene Lincoln has written a helpful booklet “Right Face: A Handbook for Sabbath-keepers.”
A sabbatarian is a sectarian, strictly enforcing Sunday, rather than the Bible Sabbath. Let us be known for what we are, loving keepers of the Bible Sabbath, the seventh day, not the first day, of the week. “Sabbath-keeper” rather than “Sabbatarian” is the proper term. Ω