Useful Directions for Reading and Searching the Scriptures
By Thomas Boston
1. Follow a regular plan in reading of them, that you may be acquainted with the whole. Not that you should confine yourselves only to a set plan, so as never to read by choice, but ordinarily this tends most to edification.
2. Set a special mark, however you find convenient, on those passages you read, which you find most suitable to your case, condition, or temptations; or such as you have found to move your hearts more than other passages. Often review these.
3. Compare one Scripture with another, the more obscure with that which is more plain (2 Pet. 1:20). And keep Christ in your eye, for to him the scriptures of the Old Testament look (in its genealogies, types, and sacrifices), as well as those of the New.
4. Read with a holy attention, arising from the consideration of the majesty of God, and the reverence due to him. This must be done with attention, first, to the words; second, to the sense; and, third, to the divine authority of the Scripture, and the obligation it lays on the conscience for obedience (1 Thess. 2:13)
5. Let your main purpose in reading the Scriptures be practice, and not bare knowledge (James 1:22). Read that you may learn and do, and that without any limitation or distinction, but that whatever you see God requires, you may study to practice.
6. Beg of God and look to him for his Spirit for it is the Spirit that inspired it, that it must be savingly understood by (1 Cor 2:11). And therefore before you read, it is highly reasonable you beg a blessing on what you are to read.
7. Beware of a worldly, fleshly mind: for fleshly sins blind the mind from the things of God; and the worldly heart cannot favor them. But labor to be disciplined toward godliness and to observe your spiritual circumstances because a disciplined attitude helps mightily to understand the scriptures.
"THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT BUT I DON’T PREACH IT"
I was showing a young woman the doctrine of election from the Holy Scriptures one day. She told me she had never heard her pastor preach that before. I said to her, "Go show this truth to your pastor and ask him if he believes it." She did just that. The above quote is the pastor’s answer to her question; "The Bible teaches that but I don’t preach it." He naturally gave his reasons for not doing so. One was that it might confuse the congregation.
Our answer to this pastor’s answer is this; "you are smarter then God. God should have consulted you before he moved upon holy men of old to reveal his truth. You have such a great mind, you could have taught God a thing or to."
Here is the trouble with that pastor and others like him. One dear brother said it like this: "Do we believe in THE BIBLE AS OUR ONLY REVELATION OF TRUTH, AND OUR ONLY AUTHORITY, or are we TRUSTING OURSELVES and our OWN UNDERSTANDING? Miserable worms that we are, and making such chaos of our world with our great minds and understanding.... How ridiculous it all is!"
"To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them (Isa. 8:20). This pastor’s trouble went much deeper then just not believing the doctrine of election, his trouble is he don’t believe God. And a man who doesn’t believe God is in darkness and there is no light in him.
- Pastor Bruce Crabtree
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By God’s all-wise appointment, our assemblies are the life, the food, and the nourishment of our souls. It is the main way whereby we publicly identify with Christ and His Gospel. We evidence our love for Christ by our loyalty and support of one another in opposition to all false worship. Manythings will rise up in competition to the diligent attendance of our assemblies. We must recognize and refuse to give in to anything that is opposed to what Christ commands. The totalfallingaway of a graceless professor always begins with this neglect, this disassociation with God’s people. (Heb. 10:25)