Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Books #15: How Readest Thou by J. C. Ryle

Okay, so I did not quite achieve my goal. I wanted to never miss a day on this series of blogs. But I have now missed the last two days. But you will forgive me, wouldn't you? The last two days have been some of the craziest of our lives. I will write more about that later, but we are in the process of moving. We are now in Indiana spending some time with some of our best friends. In order to catch up, I will be doing two blog posts today and two tomorrow. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. 

Now to the actual blog post. Do you need challenged to read the Bible? How Readest Thou by J.C. Ryle is a very short book, but it packs a heavy punch. I first read this short booklet when I was a youth pastor and was so convicted about my own Bible reading and the reading by our students. It was this book that motivated me to write Bible study guides for our students, in order to get them into the Word of God on a consistent basis.

The book is written like a letter from Ryle to you. It is based on Jesus' words in Luke 10:26 when He says, "What is written in the law? How Readest thou?" He starts the book this way: "The question before your eyes is 1800 years old. It was asked by our Lord Jesus Christ. It was asked concerning the Bible. I invite you to examine and consider this question. I warn you, it is just as mighty and important now as it was on the day when it came from the Lord's lips. I want to apply it to the conscience of every one who reads this paper, and to knock at the door of his heart. I would fain sound a trumpet in the ear of every one who speaks English, and cry aloud, 'How readest thou? Does thou read the Bible?"

Then, throughout the book, he is going to ask very direct questions that will pierce your heart. He so accurately diagnoses our culture, which is amazing considering that he died over a hundred years ago. Let me end with my favorite quote in the book. I hope this book motivates you to read the REAL BOOK today and always.

"I fear we are in danger of forgetting that to have the Bible is one thing, and to read it quite another. I am firmly persuaded that the Bible of many a man and woman . . . is never read at all. In one house it lies in a corner, stiff, cold, glossy, and fresh as it was when it came from the bookseller's shop. In another it lies on a table, with its owner's name written in it--a silent witness against him day after day. In another it lies on some high shelf, neglected and dusty, to be brought down only on grand occasions, such as a birth in the family, like a heathen idol at its yearly festival. In another it lies deep down at the bottom of some box or drawer, among the things not wanted, and is never dragged forth into the light of the day, until the arrival of sickness, the doctor, and death. Ah! these things are sad and solemn. But they are true" (33-4).

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