The following was written in 1857 (in German) by one of the great intellectuals of the early Reform Movement, Abraham Geiger. Translation by Max Wiener:
The Bible is now and has always been an ever-living Word, not a dead letter. It has spoken to all generations and imparted its teaching to them; it expressed the fullness of its spirit in the living, spontaneous phrase. It has ever been an immediate presence among men. It never was a sealed book of antiquity, whose meaning the student had to unlock in order to acquaint himself with the ideas of a day long past, while he himself could feel quite free to pursue a path of his own that might well be quite at variance with its teachings… The Eternal Word was never considered part of any one era; its validity could not be dependent upon the time at which it was composed; by the same token, it could not be construed to lack any of the newer truths and insights. This is the reason why every age, every movement, and every personality in history has brought its own ideas to bear upon the Bible… All efforts notwithstanding, it seems impossible to achieve an objective interpretation of the Bible… This may result in a good deal of instability in exegesis, but at the same time it points up all the more clearly the significance of the Bible as all things to all men.