Weymouth's New Testament in Modern English (Weymouth), by Richard Francis Weymouth. By special arrangements with James Clarke and Co., Ltd., and by permission of Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.
The New Testament in the Language of the People (Williams' NTLP), by Charles B. Williams. Copyright 1937 by Bruce Humphries, Inc.; assigned 1949 to Moody Bible Institute, Chicago. Preface
One sign of an aroused interest in family or personal health is the presence in the home of a layman's medical dictionary or encyclopedia. In most homes such a volume is referred to frequently, with great interest and concern.
It is equally true that a person or household awakened intellectually and spiritually will desire to have handy a means of becoming informed concerning their faith, both in its major outlines and in its more intricate details. The desire to possess a dictionary of theology is therefore as natural and logical as the desire to have a medical guide. But the importance of such a reference work is as much greater than the medical guide as spiritual health is greater than physical health.
The ground covered in the following 954 articles is as comprehensive as would be covered by a standard systematic theology. The difference is that the subject matter is divided up into small units and arranged alphabetically, for easy reference. One can thus pursue one's particular interest of the moment, or seek out the answer to some puzzling question, without having to wade through scores of pages.
By following the cross-references at the end of the article, the student can pursue his special area of interest as far as he desires. In the process his theological horizons will be pushed farther and farther back, and he will discover the excitement of the intellectual chase—a chase of infinitely greater consequence and more lasting benefit than could ever accrue from pursuing the fox or the possum. Many an enthusiastic hunter thinks nothing of scrambling through brush all night, spurred on by the baying of his possum hounds. It is to be hoped that many a budding intellectual, or just plain honest Christian with an aroused thirst for knowledge, will follow his own inner inquiring "hounds," poring through this dictionary. At least if it is in the house, or on the student's or pastor's desk, as a readily available tool, it may even come second to the Bible itself for frequency of handling.
This volume has been designed for the busy pastor, evangelist, missionary, student, teacher, doctor, and lawyer, as well as for the alert homemaker and farmer or shopkeeper who desires to acquire a better understanding of God and His redemption. The use of foreign words has been restrained, and those used are transliterated into English spelling. Some abbreviation has been used, but the key is found in the front of the book. Under the heading "For Further Reading," reference items have usually been reduced to last name of author and a minimal title.
It must be admitted that the desired simplicity and clarity will not be found in all the articles equally. But if the reader encounters more verbal fog than he can comfortably handle, he should glance at the cross-references and proceed to a related article. Perhaps by following through in this way the fog will be dispelled. In the process he will gradually find himself becoming more and more at home in these strange "lands," and in time will be a truly knowledgeable Christian. And really, he owes this much to his Lord.
Readers with some degree of expertise in these matters will note that this dictionary represents a very broad definition of theology. As a consequence, many topics are discussed which might be expected to be found in other kinds of dictionaries. The gamut covers such areas as philosophy, psychology, history, practics, and devotion. A sincere attempt has been made to relate every topic to the basic concerns of theology and the Bible.
This dictionary is unabashedly evangelical and just as unabashedly Wesleyan. Some immensely valuable help has been given by scholars who are not themselves identified with the Wesleyan-Arminian school of interpretation. We are grateful to them. This is possible because among evangelicals the basic points of agreement are very wide indeed. However, it is the conviction of the editors and publishers that a scholarly dictionary frankly committed to a Wesleyan understanding of salvation has been long overdue.
These 954 articles do not reflect total unanimity of opinion, either among the contributors themselves or between them and
the editors. There are areas of tolerable variation in viewpoint. But every effort has been sought to avoid a muffled or uncertain trumpet in respect to sin, salvation, holiness, and eternal destiny. Certainly it does not need to be stated that equal care has been taken to preserve utmost fidelity to the historic doctrines of the faith respecting the Trinity, Christ Jesus our Lord, the authority of the
May God whet our intellectual and spiritual appetites, quicken our understanding, and mercifully bestow His blessing upon the efforts of the 157 contributors of this volume, to the edification of all and the misdirection of none.
RICHARD S. TAYLOR, Editor
J. Kenneth Grider Willard H. Taylor*
"The untimely death of Willard H. Taylor, just as this volume was in the final stages of completion, was a great loss to the project. He assisted as consulting editor only about 31 months, during which time his counsel was of inestimable value. He lived long enough to write some of the major articles, but was to have written more—articles for which he had made partial preparation but in the providence of God had to leave to others. In many important and subtle ways the impress of his great mind, wide learning, mature experience, and intensely devoted heart is on this volume. It is stronger because he was on the team.
R. s. t.
List of Contributors Abraham, William J., M.Div., D.Phil.