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How Wesley read the Bible

Engraving of Wesley preaching in the City Road Chapel in London. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Engraving of Wesley preaching in the City Road Chapel in London. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Academic dean and professor of New Testament at United Theological Seminary, the Rev. David F. Watson recently shared his insights on how John Wesley, (the founder of Methodism, read the Bible.

In “Reading the Bible like Wesley (sort of),” Watson argues that while Wesley often read the Bible plainly and looked for the simple truth contained in the verses without too much speculation, he always read it with what Watson calls "the analogy of faith". The analogy was a basic summation of key doctrines such the Trinity and salvation by faith that Wesley allowed to always frame his reading.

Wesley also always read the scripture with a goal of recapturing the witness and vigor of the early or "primitive" church as it appears in the New Testament. Wesley, says Watson, was always using doctrine and scripture to inform each other.

Originally published on David F. Watson's blog. Republished with permission by Ministry Matters Aug. 14, 2019. Republished with permission on UMCResource.org September 12, 2019.