Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What is the best way of reading the Scriptures?

Jehovah Magnified“Does any one ask me, What is the best way of reading the Scriptures? I may say a little about this, because in my experience in pastoral labour I have found how deeply important it is to know how to read the Scriptures; and because, after forty years’ blessed experience, I can confidently recommend the plan I have adopted. In the first place, in order to have a deeper acquaintance with the Scriptures, it is absolutely needful that you read the whole in course, regularly through,—not as some perhaps do, take the Bible, and where it opens there begin to read. If it opens on Psalm 103, they read Psalm 103; if at John 14 or Romans 8, they read John 14 or Romans 8. By degrees the Bible opens naturally on such portions of Scripture. Let me affectionately say that it ill becomes the child of God thus to treat the Father’s book; it ill becomes the disciples of the Lord Jesus thus to treat their blessed Master. Let me affectionately urge those who have not done so, to begin the Old Testament from the beginning, and the New Testament from the beginning; at one time reading in the Old, and at another time in the New Testament; keeping a mark in their Bible to show how far they have proceeded. Why is it important to do this? There is a special purpose in the arrangement of the Scriptures. They begin with the creation of the world, and close with the end of the world. As you read a book of biography or history, commencing at the beginning and reading through to the end, so should you read the revelation of God’s will; and when you get to the end, begin again and again. But this is not all that is necessary. When you come to this blessed Book, the great point is to come with a deep consciousness of your own ignorance, seeking on your knees the help of God, that by His Spirit He may graciously instruct you. I remember when I thus began to read the Scriptures. I had been a student of divinity in the university of Halle, and had written many a long manuscript at the lectures of the professors of divinity; but I had not come to this blessed Book in the right spirit. At length I came to it as I had never done before. I said, “The Holy Ghost is the Teacher now in the Church of Christ; the Holy Scriptures are now the rule given by God; from them I must learn His mind,—I will now prove it.” I locked my door. I put my Bible on the chair. I fell down before the chair, and spent three hours prayerfully reading the word of God; and I unhesitatingly say that in those three hours I learned more than in any previous three, six, or twelve months’ period of my life. This was not all. I not only increased in knowledge, but there came with that knowledge a peace and joy in the Holy Ghost of which I had known little before. Since that time, for more than forty years, I have been in the habit of regularly reading the Scriptures; and I can therefore affectionately and confidently recommend to my beloved younger fellow-disciples to read them carefully, with an humble mind, comparing Scripture with Scripture, bringing the more difficult passages to the easy ones, and letting them interpret one another. If you do not understand some portions, be not discouraged, but come again and again to God, and He will guide you by little and little, and further instruct you in the knowledge of His will. But this is not all; for with an increasing knowledge of God, obtained in a prayerful, humble way, you will receive, not something which simply fills the head, but something which exercises the heart, and cheers, comforts, and strengthens you, and will therefore be of real good to you.”
http://ref.ly/o/jehvahmagnfd/84825 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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