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Preface to Poole's "Synopsis": Poole's Plan to Meet the Need for a Synopsis of Interpreters

Updated: Feb 24, 2021

Oftentimes meditating upon these and other things of the sort, and anxiously enquiring if any remedy might be applied to these evils, I finally settled into this train of thought: there would be some medicine for this disease and a definite lessening of the requisite studies, if someone suitable to the task would attentively read over the Interpreters of better note (first, the Critics, who inquire into words, phrases, and idioms with superior perception; then, others, who handle the substance and sense of the Scripture with greater precision), would, with the superfluities excised, select the remainder with prudence and judgment; and would, by a suitable method, arrange the collected remainder into a compendium, with things added where needed, so that the deficiencies might be supplemented with learned Interpretations of various passages of the Sacred Text, which Interpretations are found here and there in certain, most weighty Authors. This I had often in my prayers, that someone skilled in the Authors and issues, and gifted with incisive judgment, might undertake this work. Having been for a long time frustrated in this expectation, and burning with a most ardent desire for this kind of resource, since all others were drawing back from the charge as extremely difficult, I, however inferior, preferred to undertake it myself, rather than to have it undertaken by no one. Therefore, having implored Him, at the hand of whom is πᾶσα δόσις ἀγαθὴ καὶ πᾶν δώρημα τέλειον, every good gift and every perfect gift,[1] and thinking over the matter anew, and sifting my soul, at one time on this point, at another time on that point, here discouraged by the difficulty of such a great exertion, there moved by the utility and necessity of the work; finally, I communicated my thoughts with Learned Men, neither few, nor of low degree. To them I opened my mind quite fully; I revealed the Authors chiefly out of whom I was desiring to compose my work; and I likewise exhibited a kind of rough outline of my Plan. When I had thought the outline to have received sufficient approval from them, supported by their counsels and encouragements, I applied my hand with the help of God to this good Work; and I committed a Model of it to the press, and sent it forth into the light. How favorable and candid have been the judgments of the Professors and other Theologians, both native and foreign, concerning this Model! Not a few of them published their complimentary Testimonies of them, far above my deserving and hope; others likewise conferred their approbation by most lengthy letters of favor given unto me, and they have been actively encouraging me unto the undertaking of the Work, liberally promising their influence, if ever it should be of use. Urged on by their authority, and confident in Divine aid, I eagerly undertook my plan, and after various inconveniences (to which it is not desirable here to refer), I have at last, although later than I had wished and hoped, brought to completion the First Volume.

[1] James 1:17.

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