The Bible says give tribute to whom tribute is due. So I hereby give tribute to Bruce Manning Metzger who died on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 at the age of 93. He was the George L. Collord Professor Emeritus of New Testament Language and Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary. I had the huge privilege of studying with this preeminent American New Testament critic and biblical translator while working on my MDiv at Princeton.
Being a born-from-above Christian at Princeton who still believed that the Bible was the Word of God, I often felt like the proverbial fish out of water. Several times Dr. Metzger calmed my biblical nerves and excited my academic instincts while explaining his view of biblical inspiration (yet, I didn’t agree). On one occasion while perambulating about campus, I happened to find myself alongside him. We were enjoying light conversation when the Holy Spirit moved upon me and I experienced Christ’s presence leading this truly devout man. The Spirit bore witness and I was invited to decrease.
Indeed, Bruce Metzger was a spiritual man who cared passionately about the Bible in ways I knew not of. In fact, he was one of the world leaders in textual study of the New Testament, the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha. Dr. Metzger served as Chair of the Committee of Translators for the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible 1977–90 and the story goes that he saw it through the press almost single-handedly. This was important to him because, as he saw it, with the NRSV Bible in the hands of the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Protestant Christians they all would have recourse to a common biblical text as an instrument of unity.
BTW: A Bible autographed by Bruce Metzger is sealed in the time capsule embedded in the corner of Princeton Seminary’s Scheide Hall.