Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Francis Siewart

Many thanks to El Shaddai for mentioning Francis Siewart of the Amplified Bible.

The story of the Amplified Bible is a remarkable story of faith, hope, and love. It's the story of a woman, a foundation, a committee, and a publisher. Commitment, energy, enthusiasm, and giftedness--these are the words that paint the picture, the picture of the making of a translation.

Frances Siewert (Litt. B., B.D., M.A., Litt. D.) was a woman with an intense dedication to the study of the Bible. It was Mrs. Siewert (1881-1967) who laid the foundation of the Amplified Bible, devoting her life to a familiarity with the Bible, with the Hebrew and Greek languages, and with the cultural and archaeological background of Biblical times, which would result in the publication of this unique translation.

Remembered by The Lockman Foundation for her long life of tireless devotion to God, her expertise in the Greek language, and for her impressive knowledge concerning Scripture, Mrs. Frances Siewert went home to be with the Lord late Wednesday night, March 29, 1967. As the official Research Secretary of the Amplified Bibleproject, Mrs. Siewert displayed her tremendous passion for the Lord. This passion shown brightly throughout her monumental task of laying the translation foundation for the Amplified Bible.

Born in 1881, Mrs. Siewert (Litt. B., B.D., M.A., Litt. D.) dedicated her life to the intensive study of the Scriptures as well as to the cultural and archaeological background of biblical times. When asked by The Lockman Foundation in 1956 to recount, in her own words, her long journey as a Christian, Mrs. Siewert submitted the following amazing list concerning her life as a Christian to that point:

At six years of age knew scores of hymns and Bible verses.
At ten passed an oral examination on the Catechism.
At fifteen entered the academy of Pacific University, deeply religious atmosphere, compulsory Bible study.
At seventeen was meeting regularly with classmates to help them prepare for their Bible lessons.
At eighteen entered Willamette University. Elected president of the Y.W.C.A. under intensely spiritual stimulus. Elected editor of the Willamette Collegian by unanimous vote of all factions of the student body. (With no Bible in Willamette’s curriculum, she started a campaign to have it introduced, which authorities honored and was graduated at barely twenty with the degree of Bachelor of Literature, "cum laude.")
At twenty-two married a minister, who was a brilliant Greek student.
At twenty-four began helping ministers with their public written work, religious authors and editors with their manuscripts, writing stories for Sunday School material, some to be translated into German. Later, articles for such periodicals as the Sunday School Times.
At twenty-nine received Master of Arts degree from Willamette University. Thesis subject, "The Effect of the Bible on English Language."
At thirty-two received bachelor of divinity degree from Schuylkill Seminary (to which the credits had been transferred to make the graduation of a woman possible).
At thirty-three teaching Bible to girls and women on campus at the University of Washington, downtown in Seattle from city’s high schools and factories.
At thirty-six teaching young people and teachers of Bible in Denver, Colorado.
At forty teaching Bible daily in Clay County High School, Kansas, sixteen communities represented. In constant demand for Bible lectures at clubs, conventions, and in organized classes -- 254 such talks in one year. In meantime, completed seventeen reading courses at University of Indiana, and earned considerable credit in Psychology and teacher training at Kansas State College. Studied all of the courses pertinent to Bible teaching.
In 1940 left a widow. Devoted full time to biblical research for ministers and religious writers.
From 1952 to the present (1956) devoted time entirely to the translation task now in hand, with the work of the Gospel of John, which preceded it.

For all her immense educational preparation and thorough knowledge of Scripture, Mrs. Siewert always remained a humble servant of the Lord. In correspondence dated Sept. 8, 1954 to The Lockman Foundation President and Founder, F. Dewey Lockman, she stated, "Every day, almost, I find myself bubbling with the thrill of discovering some shade of meaning in the original Greek that had never been evident to me before. I have averaged 4 hours a day of serious Bible study since 1914, when I was already a theological seminary graduate, and yet I am finding daily evidence of the fact that there are countless Scripture passages which have been obscure to me until now."


Jane said...

Thank you so much for these posts Suzanne - Ilove the petit prince - but the story of Frances Siewart is very heartening

Suzanne McCarthy said...

thanks, Jane, I am enjoying these posts too and learning a lot as I go.