King's Business - 1968-03

ing themselves in this way. They see what the Bible teaches, but they do not follow it, and they soon lose their power to see it. Truth obeyed leads to more truth. Truth disobeyed destroys the capacity for discovering truth. There must be not only a general surrender of the will but also specific, practical obedience to each new word of God dis­ covered. Do not study the Bible for the mere grati­ fication of intellectual curiosity but to find out how to live and please God. Whatever duty you find commanded in the Bible, do it at once. Whatever good you see in any Bible character, imitate it im­ mediately. Whatever mistake you note in the ac­ tions of Bible men and women, scrutinize your own life to see if you are making the same mis­ take, and if you find you are, correct it forthwith. The sixth condition is a childlike mind. God reveals His deepest truths to babes. No age needs more than our own to lay to heart the words of Jesus, “ I thank thee, 0 Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (Matt. 11:25). A child is not full of its own wisdom. It recognizes its ignorance and is ready to be taught. It does not oppose its own notions and ideas to those of its teachers. It is in that spirit we should come to the Bible if we are to get the most profit out of our study. Come to the Bible not to find a confirmation of your own opinion, but to be taught what God may be pleased to teach. We see why it is that many persons can­ not see things which are plainly taught in the Bible. The doctrine taught is not their notion, of which they are so full that there is no room left for that which the Bible actually teaches. Many a man is so full of an unbiblical theology that it takes him a lifetime to get rid of it and to understand the clear teaching o f the Bible. “Oh, what can this verse mean?” many a bewildered man cries. Why, it means what it plainly says; but what you are after is not the meaning God has manifestly put into it, but the meaning you can by some ingenious trick of exegesis twist out of it and make it fit into your scheme. Don’t come to the Bible to find out what you can make it mean. Someone has well said the best method of Bible study is “ the baby method.” I was once talking with a ministerial friend about what seemed to be the clear teaching o f a certain passage. “Yes,” he replied, “but that doesn’t agree with my phi­ losophy.” This man was sincere, yet he did not have the childlike spirit, which is an essential condition of the most profitable Bible study. The seventh condition o f studying the Bible for the greatest profit is that we study it as the Word of God. The Apostle Paul, in writing to the church of the Thessalonians, thanked God without

more appetite for books about the Bible than he had for the Bible itself, but with increasing study there has come increasing love for the Book. The third condition is willingness to do hard work. Solomon has given a graphic picture o f the Bible student who gets the most profit out o f his study, “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and lay up my commandments with thee; so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; yea, if thou cry after discernment, and lift up thy voice for understand­ ing; if thou seek her as silver and search for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear o f the Lord and find the knowledge of God” (Prov. 2:1-5, A.S.V.). Now, seeking for silver and searching for hid treasures means hard work, and he who wishes to get not only the silver but the gold as well out of the Bible, and find its “ hid treasures,” must make up his mind to dig. It is not glancing at the Word, or reading the Word, but studying the Word, that brings the rich­ est yields. The reason why many get so little out of their Bible reading is simply because they are not willing to think. People are constantly crying for new methods o f Bible study, but what many of them wish is simply some method of Bible study by which they can get all the good out o f the Bible without work. Weigh every word you read in the Bible. Look at it. Turn it over and over. The most familiar passages get a new meaning in this way. Spend fifteen minutes on each word in Psalm 23:1 or Philippians 4:19, and see if it is not so. The fourth condition is a will wholly surren­ dered to God. Jesus said, “ If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching” (John 7 :17, A.S.V.). A surrendered will gives that clear­ ness of spiritual vision which is necessary to un­ derstand God’s Book. Many of the difficulties and obscurities of the Bible rise wholly from the fact that the will o f the student is not surrendered to the will of the Author of the Book. It is remark­ able how clear and simple and beautiful passages that once puzzled us become when we are brought to that place where we say to God, “ I surrender my will unconditionally to Thine. I have no will but Thine. Teach me Thy will.” Doing that wrought a complete transformation in the author’s theology, life and ministry. The fifth condition is very closely related to the fourth. The student of the Bible who would get the greatest profit out o f his studies must be obedient to its teachings as soon as he sees them. It was good advice James gave to early Christians and to us, “Be ye doers of the word and not hear­ ers only, deceiving your own selves.” A good many who consider themselves Bible students are deceiv­


MARCH, 1968

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