George Fox has always been famous for his knowledge of the bible. His writings are infused with scripture references, frequently containing only snippets of verses, and usually without providing the chapter and verse that he is quoting. Fortunately, Esther Mu ̈rer has endeavored to track down Fox’s scripture references, as well as those of other early Friends, and has made them available on the Quaker Bible Index (http://esr.earlham.edu/qbi/).
In 2007, I used the Quaker Bible Index to compile a list of the bible verses that George Fox quoted most often. I was particularly looking for devotional or inspirational verses. After some online discussions with Kirk Wattles, I realized that my list included quotes used to defend Quaker doctrines and teaching. I compiled a new list using only those verses appearing in Fox’s epistles, reasoning that the epistles were more pastoral in nature and I wanted the verses that Fox would quote when writing to other Friends.
From this set of verses, and looking at the way Fox used them, I pieced together a description of Fox’s message that, while possibly incomplete, shows the major parts of that message and their scriptural foundation. Essentially, this message is:
Christ, the light or the seed, enlightens every one in the world, and is known inwardly and spiritually, not by the teachings of humans. He destroys sin, purifying those who obey him, and restoring them into the image of God in which they know peace and love. Those who obey Christ as the ultimate ruler become members of the body of Christ, and are brought into unity with him and with each other, and are called to fight a spiritual war against evil, for which they are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
This paper continues in part 2.