Did you know how The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge Came About?
I didn’t know that The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge was not composed by R.A. Torrey. It was originally pulled together by Samuel Bagster. Here’s an excellent background of the project by Fred Sanders, a systematic theologian with an emphasis on the doctrine of the Trinity. He and his wife Susan have two children, Freddy and Phoebe. They are members of Grace Evangelical Free Church.
“Samuel Bagster (1772-1851) was a London publisher (first in the Strand, then at Paternoster Row) whose company specialized in producing multilingual Bibles, or polyglot editions with several languages printed in parallel. Aside from the TSK, his greatest publishing success was the Biblia Sacra Polyglotta Bagsteriana (1817-28), which apparently included up to 8 languages side by side, but could also be purchased with any two languages you liked interleaved on facing pages. That was an important resource for scholars. Bagster’s most popular work for ordinary people, however, was Daily Light, which was for decades the world’s best-known book of daily private devotional readings taken entirely from the scriptures. It’s still in print, still worth using, and available electronically as well.
When the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge was first published, its sub-title boasted “Consisting of Five-hundred Thousand Scripture References and Parallel Passages from Canne, Browne, Blayney, Scott, and Others, with Numerous Illustrative Notes.” This list of names points to editors of previous study Bibles that emphasized the value of cross-references for profitable Bible study. Bagster’s big idea was to harvest the best insights from all of them, and produce the most comprehensive set of judicious cross-references ever. So the half-million decisions do not represent the work of one student: They are a collection from many sources, and each of those sources in turn encoded decisions made by previous generations, reaching all the way back to patristic commentaries in many cases. I have followed TSK cross-references to surprising texts, only to discover that the same pointer had also been given by the Book of Common Prayer, by an ancient liturgical usage, or by a second-century church father like Irenaeus.
Bagster’s goal was to present an “entirely new Selection and Arrangement of References, in which it has been endeavoured faithfully to exhibit the Scripture as its own Expositor.” He goes on, “The greatness of the advantages that must accrue to a sincere and diligent reader of the Sacred Pages, from having constantly before him a reference to similar and illustrative passages, carefully investigated, and suitably applied, must be obvious to every one; and has been well understood by many pious and able men, to whose diligent and useful labours the Public is unspeakably indebted.”
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