Bible Study Guides – Huss and Jerome

November 13, 2010 – November 19, 2010

Key Text

“Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:5.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 97–119; The Acts of the Apostles, 598–600.


“ ‘I call God to witness that all that I have written and preached has been with the view of rescuing souls from sin and perdition; and, therefore, most joyfully will I confirm with my blood that truth which I have written and preached.’ ” The Great Controversy, 109.

1 In what century was the gospel established in Bohemia and in what language was their Bible and their worship?

Note: “The gospel had been planted in Bohemia as early as the ninth century. The Bible was translated, and public worship was conducted, in the language of the people.” The Great Controversy, 97.

2 Contrary to the example in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, what directive did Pope Gregory VII make and what reason did he give? Nehemiah 8:5–8.

Note: “Gregory VII, who had taken it upon himself to humble the pride of kings, was no less intent upon enslaving the people, and accordingly a bull was issued forbidding public worship to be conducted in the Bohemian tongue. The pope declared that ‘it was pleasing to the Omnipotent that His worship should be celebrated in an unknown language, and that many evils and heresies had arisen from not observing this rule.’—Wylie, b. 3, ch. 1. Thus Rome decreed that the light of God’s word should be extinguished and the people should be shut up in darkness.” The Great Controversy, 97.

3 What similarities may be observed between the childhood and youth of John Huss and Samuel, the Old Testament prophet? 1 Samuel 1:28; 2:1, 8.

Note: “John Huss was of humble birth, and was early left an orphan by the death of his father. His pious mother, regarding education and the fear of God as the most valuable of possessions, sought to secure this heritage for her son. Huss studied at the provincial school, and then repaired to the university at Prague, receiving admission as a charity scholar. He was accompanied on the journey to Prague by his mother; widowed and poor, she had no gifts of worldly wealth to bestow upon her son, but as they drew near to the great city, she kneeled down beside the fatherless youth and invoked for him the blessing of their Father in heaven. Little did that mother realize how her prayer was to be answered.

“At the university, Huss soon distinguished himself by his untiring application and rapid progress, while his blameless life and gentle, winning deportment gained him universal esteem. … After completing his college course, he entered the priesthood, and rapidly attaining to eminence, he soon became attached to the court of the king. He was also made professor and afterward rector of the university where he had received his education. In a few years the humble charity scholar had become the pride of his country, and his name was renowned throughout Europe.” The Great Controversy, 98, 99.

4 Huss was eventually appointed preacher of the “chapel of Bethlehem.” What significance did this chapel have, and what characterized the preaching of Huss? Isaiah 50:4; Ephesians 5:11; II Timothy 4:2.

Note: “Several years after taking priest’s orders he [Huss] was appointed preacher of the chapel of Bethlehem. The founder of this chapel had advocated, as a matter of great importance, the preaching of the Scriptures in the language of the people. Notwithstanding Rome’s opposition to this practice, it had not been wholly discontinued in Bohemia. But there was great ignorance of the Bible, and the worst vices prevailed among the people of all ranks. These evils Huss unsparingly denounced, appealing to the word of God to enforce the principles of truth and purity which he inculcated.” The Great Controversy, 99.

5 Who returned to Bohemia with the writings of Wycliffe? Revealing Divine providence, what royal connection also helped the cause of the Reformation?

Note: “A citizen of Prague, Jerome, who afterward became so closely associated with Huss, had, on returning from England, brought with him the writings of Wycliffe. The queen of England, who had been a convert to Wycliffe’s teachings, was a Bohemian princess, and through her influence also the Reformer’s works were widely circulated in her native country. These works Huss read with interest; he believed their author to be a sincere Christian and was inclined to regard with favor the reforms which he advocated. Already, though he knew it not, Huss had entered upon a path which was to lead him far away from Rome.” The Great Controversy, 99.

6 How was Huss, among others, influenced by the sermon without words given by two English teachers? Habbakuk 2:2.

Note: “About this time there arrived in Prague two strangers from England, men of learning, who had received the light and had come to spread it in this distant land. Beginning with an open attack on the pope’s supremacy, they were soon silenced by the authorities; but being unwilling to relinquish their purpose, they had recourse to other measures. Being artists as well as preachers, they proceeded to exercise their skill. In a place open to the public they drew two pictures. One represented the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem, ‘meek, and sitting upon an ass’ (Matthew 21:5), and followed by His disciples in travel-worn garments and with naked feet. The other picture portrayed a pontifical procession—the pope arrayed in his rich robes and triple crown, mounted upon a horse magnificently adorned, preceded by trumpeters and followed by cardinals and prelates in dazzling array.

“Here was a sermon which arrested the attention of all classes. Crowds came to gaze upon the drawings. None could fail to read the moral, and many were deeply impressed by the contrast between the meekness and humility of Christ the Master and the pride and arrogance of the pope, His professed servant. There was great commotion in Prague, and the strangers after a time found it necessary, for their own safety, to depart. But the lesson they had taught was not forgotten. The pictures made a deep impression on the mind of Huss and led him to a closer study of the Bible and of Wycliffe’s writings.” The Great Controversy, 99, 100.

7 What purpose of God was being fulfilled in Bohemia by the work of Huss and Jerome in their day? Proverbs 4:18.

Note: “God permitted great light to shine upon the minds of these chosen men, revealing to them [Huss and Jerome] many of the errors of Rome; but they did not receive all the light that was to be given to the world. Through these, His servants, God was leading the people out of the darkness of Romanism; but there were many and great obstacles for them to meet, and He led them on, step by step, as they could bear it. They were not prepared to receive all the light at once. Like the full glory of the noontide sun to those who have long dwelt in darkness, it would, if presented, have caused them to turn away. Therefore He revealed it to the leaders little by little, as it could be received by the people. From century to century, other faithful workers were to follow, to lead the people on still further in the path of reform.” The Great Controversy, 103.

8 After a long battle against entrenched evils and superstitions, what prophecy of Jesus was literally fulfilled in the experience of Huss? Matthew 10:16–22.

Note: “The Reformer was in a short time arrested, by order of the pope and cardinals, and thrust into a loathsome dungeon. Later he was transferred to a strong castle across the Rhine and there kept a prisoner. …

“Enfeebled by illness and imprisonment—for the damp, foul air of his dungeon had brought on a fever which nearly ended his life—Huss was at last brought before the council. Loaded with chains he stood in the presence of the emperor, whose honor and good faith had been pledged to protect him. During his long trial he firmly maintained the truth, and in the presence of the assembled dignitaries of church and state he uttered a solemn and faithful protest against the corruptions of the hierarchy. When required to choose whether he would recant his doctrines or suffer death, he accepted the martyr’s fate.

“The grace of God sustained him. During the weeks of suffering that passed before his final sentence, heaven’s peace filled his soul. ‘I write this letter,’ he said to a friend, ‘in my prison, and with my fettered hand, expecting my sentence of death tomorrow. … When, with the assistance of Jesus Christ, we shall again meet in the delicious peace of the future life, you will learn how merciful God has shown Himself toward me, how effectually He has supported me in the midst of my temptations and trials.’—Bonnechose, vol. 2, p. 67.” The Great Controversy, 106, 107.

9 When taken to the tribunal, what pledge was betrayed and whom did Huss reproach? What prophecy was thus fulfilled? Jeremiah 17:5–7.

Note: “For the last time, Huss was brought before the council. …

“Being called upon for his final decision, Huss declared his refusal to abjure, and, fixing his penetrating glance upon the monarch whose plighted word had been so shamelessly violated, he declared: ‘I determined, of my own free will, to appear before this council, under the public protection and faith of the emperor here present.’—Bonnechose, vol. 2, p. 84. A deep flush crimsoned the face of Sigismund as the eyes of all in the assembly turned upon him.” The Great Controversy, 108.

10 When tied to the stake, what invitation was Huss given to save himself and what was his response? Matthew 16:24–26.

Note: “He [Huss] was now delivered up to the secular authorities and led away to the place of execution. An immense procession followed, hundreds of men at arms, priests and bishops in their costly robes, and the inhabitants of Constance. When he had been fastened to the stake, and all was ready for the fire to be lighted, the martyr was once more exhorted to save himself by renouncing his errors. ‘What errors,’ said Huss, ‘shall I renounce? I know myself guilty of none. I call God to witness that all that I have written and preached has been with the view of rescuing souls from sin and perdition; and, therefore, most joyfully will I confirm with my blood that truth which I have written and preached.’ ” The Great Controversy, 109.

Personal Review Questions

1 What were the circumstances of the birth and training of Huss?

2 What enlightened Huss and his country until the papal suppression?

3 What was the influence of Wycliffe on Bohemia?

4 How did the papacy try to quench the light?

5 What was the final testimony of Huss?

Additional Reading

“The enemy of righteousness left nothing undone in his effort to stop the work committed to the Lord’s builders. But God ‘left not Himself without witness.’ Acts 14:17. Workers were raised up who ably defended the faith once delivered to the saints. History bears record to the fortitude and heroism of these men. Like the apostles, many of them fell at their post, but the building of the temple went steadily forward. The workmen were slain, but the work advanced. The Waldenses, John Wycliffe, Huss and Jerome, Martin Luther and Zwingli, Cranmer, Latimer, and Knox, the Huguenots, John and Charles Wesley, and a host of others brought to the foundation material that will endure throughout eternity. And in later years those who have so nobly endeavored to promote the circulation of God’s word, and those who by their service in heathen lands have prepared the way for the proclamation of the last great message—these also have helped to rear the structure.

“Through the ages that have passed since the days of the apostles, the building of God’s temple has never ceased. We may look back through the centuries and see the living stones of which it is composed gleaming like jets of light through the darkness of error and superstition. Throughout eternity these precious jewels will shine with increasing luster, testifying to the power of the truth of God. The flashing light of these polished stones reveals the strong contrast between light and darkness, between the gold of truth and the dross of error.” The Acts of the Apostles, 598, 599.

©2003 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission