Friday, August 10, 2012

JC Ryle on Bible Reading

Usually when people come to me with troubles, I ask them one main question. I ask them how much time they are spending in reading the Bible. It amazes me how often their answer is little to none. The most basic thing that we can do as Christians to hear from God is the one thing that the enemy so often convinces us not to do. Or we are just lazy.

I was thumbing through my copy of Practical Religion by J. C. Ryle and he had these words of advice concerning our Bible reading.
"For one thing, begin reading your Bible this very day. The way to do a thing is to do it, and the way to read the Bible is actually to read it. It is not meaning, or wishing, or resolving, or intending, or thinking about it, which will advance you one step. You must positively read. There is no royal road in this matter, any more than in the matter of prayer. If you cannot read yourself, you must persuade somebody else to read to you. But one way or another, through eyes or ears, the words of Scripture must actually pass before your mind . . . For another thing, read the Bible with child-like faith and humility. Open your heart as you open your book, and say, 'Speak, Lord, for they servant heareth.' Resolve to believe implicitly whatever you find there, however much it may run counter to your own prejudices. Resolve to receive heartily every statement of truth, whether you like it or not. Beware of that miserable habit of mind into which some readers of the Bible fall. They receive some doctrines because they like them: they reject others because they are condemning to themselves, or to some lover, or relation, or friend. At this rate the Bible is useless. Are we to be judges of what ought to be in the Word? Do we know better than God? Settle it down in your mind that you will receive all and believe all, and that what you cannot understand you will take on trust. Remember, when you pray, you are speaking to God, and God hears you. But, remember, when you read, God is speaking to you, and you are not to 'answer again,' but to listen" (131-132).
There is much more that he has to say here. I would encourage you to pick up this book. But don't pick it up until you have picked up THE BOOK!

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