What Shall We Read in the Bible? 

Description

Dr. Donald Barnhouse shares his approach to the proper method of Bible study.

Peter wrote that the brethren were to be put always in remembrance of certain things, even though they knew them, so that they might be established in the present truth (2 Peter 1:12). It is a great phrase, and one that needs to be understood if there is to be true growth in the life in Christ from day to day. 

I thought of this when I read an essay written a generation ago by an Edinburgh professor of theology on "The Practice of the Spiritual Life." After speaking about the necessity of reading the Word of God the professor asks, "What shall we read in the Bible?" He then answers his question: "First, read what feeds your soul: which means that as you get older, new and before unappreciated portions of the Bible will disclose their value. Certain parts probably will come to no harm if you leave them alone altogether. But let first things be first: make the Psalms and the Gospels central." 

That paragraph may be plausible to the unthinking, but there are two spiritual errors in it that account for much that is wrong in today's great, spiritually dying churches. The first error is the denial of Christ's own words: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). It is true that the parts will not come to harm if you leave them alone, but you will come to harm, for you will have a vitamin deficiency by neglecting some of the truths which God has given you in various parts of the Scripture. 

The second error is in thinking that the Psalms and the Gospels take priority over the Epistles. The Christian must learn to live by reading the Epistles. The Christian must learn to live by reading the Epistles. We do not believe that any Christian life will develop very rapidly if it is confined to the Psalms and the Gospels. Even when we read the Gospels we must think of them constantly in terms of the truths that are revealed in the Epistles. Our Lord said, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you [in the Epistles] into all truth" (John 16:12, 13). 

The proper method of Bible study is to enter into the Gospels through the Epistles, and to enter into the Old Testament through the New. And the prerequisite to any of this study is that the truth which is revealed in the Epistles, as to the nature of the new birth, shall have entered into you. 

How imperative is it that we know the entire council of God?

What are some consequences of not knowing the word of God, that are found in scripture?

Is it true that the only way we can properly understand scripture through the power of the Holy Spirit? 

If so, then what about atheists who can quote and remember scripture better than we can sometimes?

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