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Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

Arm Yourself
“You live in a world where your soul is in constant danger. Enemies are round you on every side. Your own heart is deceitful. Bad examples are numerous. Satan is always labouring to lead you astray. Above all, false doctrine and false teachers of every kind abound. This is your great danger.

“To be safe you must be well armed. You must provide yourself with the weapons which God has given you for your help. You must store your mind with Holy Scripture. This is to be well armed.

“Arm yourself with a thorough knowledge of the written Word of God. Read your Bible regularly. Become familiar with your Bible… Neglect your Bible and nothing that I know of can prevent you from error if a plausible advocate of false teaching shall happen to meet you. Make it a rule to believe nothing except it can be proved from Scripture. The Bible alone is infallible… Do you really use your Bible as much as you ought?

“There are many today, who believe the Bible, yet read it very little. Does your conscience tell you that you are one of these persons?

“If so, you are the [one]…

that is likely to get little help from the Bible in time of need. Trial is a sifting experience… Your store of Bible consolations may one day run very low.

“If so, you are the [one]…

that is unlikely to become established in the truth. I shall not be surprised to hear that you are troubled with doubts and questions about assurance, grace, faith, perseverance, etc. The devil is an old and cunning enemy. He can quote Scripture readily enough when he pleases. Now you are not sufficiently ready with your weapons to fight a good fight with him… Your sword is held loosely in your hand.

“If so, you are the [one]…

that is likely to make mistakes in life. I shall not wonder if I am told that you have problems in your marriage, problems with your children, problems about the conduct of your family and about the company you keep. The world you steer through is full of rocks, shoals and sandbanks. You are not sufficiently familiar either with lighthouses or charts.

“If so, you are the [one]…

who is likely to be carried away by some false teacher for a time. It will not surprise me if I hear that one of these clever, eloquent men who can make a convincing presentation is leading you into error. You are in need of ballast (truth); no wonder if you are tossed to and fro like a cork on the waves.

“All these are uncomfortable situations. I want you to escape them all. Take the advice I offer you today. Do not merely read your Bible a little – but read it a great deal… Remember your many enemies. Be armed!”

~Tract, 19th century English evangelical preacher and writer, J.C. Ryle
[Thank you to Alistair Begg for distributing the quote.]

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Jonathan Edwards studying

“Since wisdom is found in the Word of God, we must apply ourselves in study and meditation to know the Word and do it. ‘The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.’ (Psalm 19:7). Therefore, we must devote ourselves to know and understand the testimonies of the Lord. And here I commend not only faithful Bible study, but also regular reading of great books on theology and biblical interpretation, books that distill the wisdom of the greatest students of the word over the past 1900 years.

“Now, I know what you are thinking: I don’t have the time or the ability to get anywhere in books like that. So I want to show you something really encouraging. When this was shown to me about four years ago by my pastor, it changed my life. Most of us don’t aspire very high in our reading because we don’t feel like there is any hope.

“But listen to this: Suppose you read about 250 words a minute and that you resolve to devote just 15 minutes a day to serious theological reading to deepen your grasp of biblical truth. In one year (365 days) you would read for 5,475 minutes. Multiply that times 250 words per minute and you get 1,368,750 words per year. Now most books have between 300 and 400 words per page. So if we take 350 words per page and divide that into 1,368,750 words per year, we get 3,910 pages per year. This means that at 250 words a minute, 15 minutes a day, you could read about 20 average sized books a year!”

                                                                                       ~ John Piper, May 24, 1981

 

“Give yourself unto reading… He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. You need to read.”

~Charles H. Spurgeon

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Our church uses the ESV (English Standard Version) version of the Bible and there are many whom I respect promoting it.  I’ve carried the 1984 NIV (New International Version) since nearly 1984, but translation questions have been raised and the newer NIV versions are disappointing in their commitment to gender neutrality.

Because of these reasons, I am going to order an ESV Bible.  Our household already has the ESV Study Bible and everyone else in my family has made the leap to the ESV.  So I am looking forward to having my own, as I begin again to read through the Word of God.

With this new beginning, I hope to make a habit to consistently pray before I read.  Two acrostics have crossed my desk recently, both of which model “praying the Word to receive the Word” as son-in-law Andrew Jacobson puts it.

Andrew proposes the following acrostic: D.E.S.I.R.E.

DDelight my heart increasingly in you.

EEnlighten my eyes to see more of your glory.

SSatisfy my soul to be replenished by your truth and promises.

I  – Ingrain your truth in my heart that I might fight off sin.

RRenew my mind to be conformed to Christ and not the world.

EEquip me with every good thing that I might do your will.

In prayer form, it might look like this:

I pray God, through your Word, that you would…

… increase my delight in You, that I might receive the desires of my heart [i.e. God, himself] (Psalm 37:4);

enlighten the eyes of my heart that I might see your glory and greatness in increasing measures (Eph. 1:18-19);

satisfy my weary soul that I might be replenished by your truth and promises (Jer. 31:25);

ingrain your Truth in my heart that I might be able to fight sin (Psalm 119:9-11);

renew my mind so that I would not be conformed to this world but transformed into the image of Christ (Rom. 12:2);

equip me with every good thing that I might be able to do your will (Heb. 13:21).

In When I Don’t Desire God, John Piper, likewise, introduces a memorable and helpful acrostic for what to pray before reading Scripture: I. O. U. S.

 I   Incline my heart to you, not to prideful gain or any false motive. (Psalm 119:36)

OOpen my eyes to behold wonderful things in your Word. (Psalm 119:18)

UUnite my heart to fear your name. (Psalm 86:11)

S Satisfy me with you steadfast love. (Psalm 90:14)

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”

[Painting: Vincent Van Gogh]

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Years ago when I was a mother to one, I heard a devotional that urged us to read through the Bible for each of our children.  This caught my heart and I have done it for each of my four; filling their margins with notes to them that the text suggested.

Now today marks the 7th time I’ve read through the Bible cover-to-cover.  The word of God is truly living and active (Heb. 4:12).  The Holy Spirit teaches me new things every time I read it as I am a different person each time.  My age and stage and experiences have changed since last I read, and God is always faithful to speak to me according to my need.

Today, at the end of God’s Revelation to John…by the time I get through all the horrors of the Last Days (Revelation 8-16) and arrive at Revelation 22, I am almost on my feet, cheering.  For the Redeemed, Revelation 22 is the best ending to any book you’ll ever read:

 

Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”  Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.”

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!  (vv. 12-14, 17, 20)

 

[Illustration: Ron DiCianni]

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