TITLE

"The Spirit Breathes Upon the Word": The Formative Use of Scripture in the Hymns of William Cowper

AUTHOR(S)
Schwanda, Tom
PUB. DATE
May 2012
SOURCE
Journal of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care;Spring2012, Vol. 5 Issue 1, p78
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Recently evangelicals have been discovering the benefits of a formative reading of Scripture. However, eighteenth-century evangelicals consciously practiced both an informational and formational way of reading the Bible. This article raises the question how early evangelicals read Scripture and what was the role of the Holy Spirit in that reading. The hymns of William Cowper from the Olney Hymns (1779) serve as the primary text for this exploration. Cowper's experimental piety that was common among evangelicals assured that the Word would be read both with the head for knowledge as well as the heart for experience and transformation. This paper analyzes Cowper's varied use of Scripture in his hymns, as well as the formative nature of Scripture within those hymns. One prominent feature of Cowper's writing is the dynamic intersection between the Word and Spirit. This article concludes by asking the practical question of retrieval of how the contemporary church can learn to read Scripture more formatively through the themes of Cowper's hymns.
ACCESSION #
76118143

 

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