04 January, 2006

Reading the Word with Profit

Richard Greenham was an English Puritan who ministered in Dry Dayton, England from 1570-1590. He was known to have a fantastic ministry in which he aided in the training of many young Puritan ministers. He was also known for his extensive counseling ministry. In his book titled, A Profitable Treatise For the Reading and Understanding of the Scriptures, he gives eight states of person with which we are to approach the scriptures.

We are to read with:

1. Diligence. If you read diligently it will make your rough places plain. Most of the time when we have difficulty with scripture it is because we do not read it with diligence.
2. Wisdom. Do not spend the most amount of time in the difficult passages of Scripture. Do not be in difficult parts without balancing with easier passages. That is a matter in wisdom. You need a whole Bible to make a whole Christian. We are to use wisdom in the manner of the use of time. Do not ever let a day go by without reading the scriptures.
3. Proper Preparation. You must approach the bible with a reverential fear. We are to lay up God's word in our heart. We are to approach in preparation desiring to learn of God. Do not come to your Bible without a heart for sitting at the master's feet.
4. Meditation. We can read, but without meditation we will not receive depth. The difference between reading and mediation is the difference between drifting and rowing in a boat. Do we want to drift through life, or do we want to row towards a goal? Meditation makes the Scriptures to be our own.
5. Conference. We are to get together for spiritual conversation. We are to speak with others about that which we are reading and experiencing in the Christian life. This is for the sake of iron sharpening iron. Conference is to be done with ministers as well as lay people.
6. Faith. Without faith the reading of Scripture is an empty practice. We are to mingle all of our reading with Faith as Paul tells us to do.
7. Practice. We are not to just hear a sermon or the reading of Scripture, we are to live that which we read.
8. Prayer. Prayer is indispensable. We are to pray before, during, and after reading. We are to pray for more understanding and for light to discern. All reading is to be mingled with prayer. We are to have a conversation with God as we read his written Word.

"To neglect the reading of the Word is to neglect the Lord. That is a very dread thing."


Stephen said...

These are great helps, Nathan. Thanks for putting them up.

Beth said...

Thanks Nate. One of my ongoing goals is to develop a deeper passion and understanding for God's Word. One must diligently study it in order to grow as a Christian.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled onto your site today and liked what you had to say. I just started a Web ring for Presbyterians and I thought that you might be interested in joining. If you have a minute check it out. http://pcusablog.blogspot.com/

Nate said...

Why do I feel as though I have been spammed by the PC(USA)?

Andrew Duggan said...

Blog spam has a certain feel to it, doesn't it. Plus they didn't even bother to make their url clickable.
This guy
has some good things to say, though.

The exhortation to wisdom to not spend too much time "in the difficult passages of Scripture." is very important. I think that is a pitfall for many people.

The word that comes to mind after consdering these "eight states of person with which we are to approach the scriptures" is wanting. Against that standard I know I am found wanting.

I'm going to clip this to the outside cover of my Bible.