Study of The Scriptures
One of the evidences that we are saved is a love for the Bible. An infidel once said that he had no confidence in the sincerity of certain converts because there was dust on their Bibles. The Bible is our guide book, our book of directions, telling us how to get to heaven. He who loves the way will surely love the book that tells about the way.
We make no apology for the Bible. We make no defense of it, for it is able to defend itself. This it has done all through the ages. Wicked men have attempted to suppress it and remove it from society, but it has a greater hold upon the world than ever. There is no new argument that can be brought against it. As some one says, this is the anvil that has worn out thousands of hammers of unbelief and skepticism. But it is as sound as ever. All it needs in any generation is men and women who will preach its precepts and live its principles.
This is the book that the best men and women have squared their lives by and have had underneath their dying pillow. No book has ever been wept and rejoiced over as this book.
Said Daniel Webster, who was undoubtedly the greatest statesman that America ever produced, “From the time that at my mother’s feet or on my father’s knee, I first learned to lisp verses from the sacred writings, they have been my daily study and vigilant contemplation. If there be anything in my style or thoughts to be commended, the credit is due to my kind parents in instilling into my mind an early love of the scriptures.”
John Quincy Adams, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, the great statesman of that period, said, “I have for many years made it a practice to read through the Bible every year. My custom is to read through four or five chapters every morning immediately after rising from my bed. It employs about an hour of my time, and seems to me to be the most suitable manner of beginning the day.”
When Sir Walter Scott, the greatest writer of Scotland, was on his death bed, he requested his son-in-law to read to him.
“From what book shall I read?” said he.
“And you ask?” said Scott. “There is but one book.” “I chose,” said his son-in-law, “John 14.” He listened with mild devotion, and said, when I had done, ‘Well, this is a great comfort.’ ”
We quote these instances and had we space might quote from hundreds of the world’s great minds to show how much they felt that they owed to the Bible. We do this to put emphasis on this truth, that none of us can afford to slight our Bibles if we wish to be strong Christians.
Will we resolve this day as we read these lines that we will be real Bible students! John Wesley said he owed his success to the fact that he resolved to be “a man of one book” — the Bible. We dwell upon this point, praying as we pen these lines that all our readers may resolve by the help of God, that they will be no ordinary students of the Bible.
1) Not only ought every Christian to have a Bible that is his own, but he ought to have a good one. Cheap editions may do to distribute among the poor but every one ought to show how much they prize the Bible by having a good one. Men of the world have their costly editions of books that do not do them one whit of spiritual good.
A man that can live in a costly house and wear fine clothing and fare sumptuously every day and be satisfied to own only a cheap edition ,of the word of God, with fine, dingy print, shows that he takes more delight in the things that minister to the comfort of the body rather than of the soul. We know by the investment of our money, what we have most confidence in, and prize the most.
2) Commit whole chapters of the Bible to memory. Why not? “O my memory is so poor. It is difficult for me to recall what I have seen and heard.” That is just the reason then that you ought to cultivate it. And there is nothing better to practice on than the Bible. We believe God helps some people whom we know, in recalling scripture. , If we can remember any thing easily, it is the things we are most interested in. There are plenty of people who can not remember scripture but have no difficulty in remembering the prices of the market, no matter how often they change. They have no trouble about recalling current news of the gossip of the neighborhood.
It is because they are interested along these lines. Secret societies often require members to memorize their whole ritual and they do it too. But why commit to memory whole chapters? For several good reasons. It stores up the scripture for future use. We have known of people who by misfortune were laid aside from active life who found that their fund of scripture, learned when in prosperity, was a constant feast of soul.
It was so safely hid in the treasure house of memory that it became a daily delight.
But there is a fascination in the very utterances of the word of God. Very much good can be done if we are not gifted in talk, by the recitation of scripture. We have known of preachers who were not eloquent but the quotation of much scripture in their sermons awakened great interest. People like to hear the word of God and God blesses it when quoted. We once told a young man who felt that he was called to preach but had little opportunity to study that if it were our case we would commit whole chapters of the Bible and give them to the people in a regular broadside, for we knew if we could think of but little to say of our own thought, God would bless His word.
3) Make your Bible a history of your experience. By this we mean mark the passages that you have got special light upon by some one’s preaching or testimony. Put down the date and the person’s name who preached from the text marked or in any way gave you a new view of the truth therein; mark the passages that you have proved. After a few months your Bible will be very suggestive as you come to these places. This will make your Bible a register of your advancing growth in grace.
4) Study a book at a time. Any good commentary will tell you why each book of the Bible was written and its main object and the circumstances that surrounded its origin. No one can rightly understand the Bible who does not understand these things. To many people the Bible is like the dictionary, disjointed and unconnected. They quote passages and apply them in a sense never intended because they do not get the connection and hence fail to get the sense. We have seen people apply scripture who thought their application very bright when it was farthest from right. Be able to have a bird’s-eye view of each book when you think of it.
5) Another good way to study the Bible is by topics. Take one subject or word and look it up in the concordance. Then look up the parallel passages. Much can be learned in this way. You may say this is labor. True, but the Bible is a gold mine, more precious than all the Klondike.
If men are willing to labor to get “gold that perisheth,” how much ought we to be willing to dig for the gold of God’s word, which is able to make us “wise unto salvation.” If you want to be a Bible Christian and get to heaven, you must know the Bible.
6) Read a portion of the word of God before you begin the day. Many read it at night. This is well but if we can read it only once the first thing in the day is the better time. In the morning we read it to have something to meditate upon through the day. In the evening we should read it, if at all, to quiet and soothe our spirits, which may have been harassed and disturbed by the trials of the day. It is a good thing to hem in both edges of the day by prayer and the word of God.
7) It is quite profitable to study the Bible upon your knees, asking God to open it to your spiritual understanding.
Many people rush to the commentators first and find out what they say. This is the extent of their Bible study. It is better to go to the author first and see what he says. Ask Him who inspired it to open your eyes that you may behold wondrous things out of his law. Whatever is in the commentaries is what God has showed good men. Ask him to show you what lessons he has for you and then compare them with what he showed others in their commentaries. This is the best use for commentaries.
Resolve at any cost to be a Bible Christian and thus you will be a strong Christian and get to heaven with an abundant entrance. Weak Christians get along at a poor limping rate in this world and get a low seat in heaven and a starless crown. Some are “saved as by fire” so we read. Make up your mind that you will have an abundant entrance into the kingdom.