PROFITABLE ^ A BIBLE STUDY
Cont. ceasing that when they received the Word o f God they “ accepted it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth the Word of God” (I Thess. 2:13, A.S.V.). One of the best things one who does not believe that the Bible is the Word of God can do, if he is honest, is to study it. The author once doubted utterly that the Bible was the Word o f God, and the firm confidence that he has today that the Bible is the Word of God has come more from the Book itself than from anything else. Studying the Bible as the Word o f God involves four things. First, it involves the unquestioning acceptance of its teachings when definitely ascer tained, even when they may appear unreasonable or impossible. Reason demands that we submit our judgment and reasonings to the statements of in finite wisdom. There is nothing more irrational than rationalism, liberalism, which makes finite wisdom the test of infinite wisdom, and submits the teachings of God’s omniscience to the approval of man’s judgment. A “ Thus saith the Lord” will settle every question. Yet there are many who pro fess to believe that the Bible is the Word o f God, and if you show them what the Bible clearly teaches on some disputed point, they will shake their heads and say, “Yes, but I think so and so.” Studying the Bible as the Word of God involves, in the second place, absolute reliance on all its prom ises in all their length and breadth. He who studies the Bible as the Word of God will say, “God, who cannot lie, has promised,” and will not attempt to make God a liar by trying to make one o f His prom ises mean less than it says. He who studies the Bible as the Word o f God will be on the lookout for promises, and as soon as he finds one he will seek to ascertain just what it means, and as soon as he discovers that, he will step right out on that prom ise and risk everything on its full import. That is one of the secrets of profitable Bible study. Studying the Bible as the Word of God involves, in the third place, obedience — prompt, exact obedience, without asking any questions to its every precept. Obedience may seem hard; it may seem impossible; but God has bidden it and I have nothing to do but to obey and leave the results with God. Studying the Bible as the Word of God involves, in the fourth place, studying it in God’s presence. When you read a verse of Scripture, hear the voice o f the living God speaking directly to you in these words. There is new power and attractiveness in the Bible when you have learned to hear a living, present Person, God our Father Himself, talking directly to you in these words. With what holy awe and strange and unutterable joy one studies the Bible if he studies it in this way! It is heaven come down to earth.
The eighth and last condition o f the most prof itable Bible study is prayerfulness. The Psalmist prayed, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (Psa. 119:18). Every one who desires to get the greatest profit out of his Bible study needs to offer that or a similar prayer every time he undertakes the study of the Word. I believe in studying the Bible a good deal on your knees. When one reads an entire book through on his knees — and this is easily done — that book has a new meaning and becomes a new book. One ought never to open the Bible to read it without at least lifting the heart to God in silent prayer that He will interpret it, illumine its pages by the light of His Spirit. Harry Morehouse, one of the most remarkable Bible scholars among un learned men, used to say that whenever he came to a passage in the Bible which he could not under stand, he would search for some other passage that threw light on it, and lay it before God in prayer, and that he had never found a passage that did not yield to this treatment. Some years ago, accompanied by a friend, I was making a tour afoot o f Franconian Switzer land, and visiting some of the more famous zooli- thic caves. One day a rural letter carrier stopped us and asked if we would like to see a cave o f rare beauty and interest, away from the beaten tracks of travel. Of course, we said, “ Yes.” He led us through the woods and underbrush to the mouth of the cave, telling us of altars and fantastic for mations, but we could see absolutely nothing. Now and then he uttered a note to warn us to have a care, as near our feet lay a gulf the bottom of which had never been discovered. We began to fear that we might be the first discoverers of the bottom. There was nothing pleasant about the whole affair. But as soon as a magnesium taper was lighted, all became different. There were the stalagmites rising from the floor to meet the sta lactites as they came down from the ceiling. There was the great altar of nature, which peasant fancy ascribed to the skill of ancient worshippers; there were the beautiful and fantastic formations on every hand, all glistening in fairylike beauty in the brilliant light. So I have often thought it was with many a passage of Scripture. Others tell you of its beauty, but you cannot see it. It looks dark and intricate and forbidding and dangerous, but when God’s own light is kindled there by prayer, how different all becomes in an instant! He who would under stand and love his Bible must be much in prayer. Follow these simple eight rules and you will find practical and profitable Bible study. Condensed from THE TREASURY OF R. A. TORREY, Baker Book House, 1967, Chapter lk .
THE KING'S BUSINESS
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