Today I’m continuing my celebration of all things related to the Belgic Confession. This year, I remind you, is the 450th birthday of this beloved statement of faith. For today, I’d like to introduce you to my top five resources on the Belgic Confession. Here they are (in no particular order):
De Nederlandse Belijdenisgeschriften — J. N. Bakhuizen van den Brink
This is a must-have document for anyone doing serious scholarly work on the Belgic Confession (and the Heidelberg Catechism and Canons of Dort, too). It provides the only critical text of the Confession available. Don’t let the Dutch title scare you off (unless you can’t read French or Latin either). For the section on the Confession, Bakhuizen van den Brink provides the French texts of the French Confession of 1559 and the Belgic, as well as Latin and Dutch texts. Each has an accompanying critical apparatus. The bad news is that this volume is out of print and almost impossible to find in hard copy. The good news is that is available for free here as a .pdf.
The Belgic Confession: Its History and Sources — Nicolaas H. Gootjes
Since I just posted my review of this last week, I don’t have anything else to say about this. It’s just a fantastic piece of scholarship.
The Belgic Confession and Its Biblical Basis — Lepusculus Vallensis
This helpful volume includes all the biblical proof texts for the Confession, along with the notes on these texts prepared for the study Bible that had been commissioned by the Synod of Dort 1618-19. This was a translation of a Dutch work published in 1951. Unfortunately for us, the translator was selective in what he put into English. For instance, the original volume included the historical preface to the Confession as well as an “manual” with much historical material on the Confession.
The Church’s Witness to the World — P. Y. De Jong
This remains one of the best commentaries on the Confession. If nothing else, De Jong deserves kudos for getting the purpose of the Confession correct. Indeed, it was one intended to be a message from the Church to the unbelieving world. This one is also out of print, but you can get a free .pdf right here.
With Heart and Mouth — Daniel R. Hyde
This is the best in-print commentary. One the things I appreciate most about this commentary is its self-conscious attention to the historical background of the Confession. It’s also one of the few places where you can find a translation of the original preface. I’ll post my full review later this week.