Reading the Bible for Life
Reading the Bible for Life
Dear New Covenant Family,
This Sunday we embark on our journey together through the Bible as we begin the Behold Our God series. On Monday morning (Labor Day), the Bible reading plan begins. If you haven’t picked up a copy of the reading schedule yet, you may get one from the Welcome Center or download one from our website.
I thought I’d whet your appetite for reading the Word of God by including a few quotations that have been an encouragement to me. The first is from Tim Keller on remembering Who the Bible is all about. The second is from Charles Spurgeon on how to approach our daily devotions. And the last is a list of practical tips on Bible reading from J.C. Ryle.
Remember Who the Bible is About: Tim Keller
Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is imputed to us.
Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, his blood now that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for acquittal.
Jesus is the true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void not knowing wither he went to create a new people of God.
Jesus is the true and better Isaac who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us. And when God said to Abraham, “Now I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love from me,” now we can look at God taking his son up the mountain and sacrificing him and say, “Now we know that you love us because you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love from us.”
Jesus is the true and better Jacob who wrestled and took the blow of justice we deserved, so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us.
Jesus is the true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them.
Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant.
Jesus is the true and better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of God’s justice, now gives us water in the desert.
Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer, who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.
Jesus is the true and better David whose victory becomes his people’s victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.
Jesus is the true and better Esther who didn’t just risk leaving an earthly palace but lost the ultimate and heavenly one, who didn’t just risk his life, but gave his life to save his people.
Jesus is the true and better Jonah who was cast out into the storm so that we could be brought in.
Jesus is the real Rock of Moses, the real Passover Lamb, innocent, perfect, helpless, slain so the angel of death will pass over us. He’s the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light, the true bread.
The Bible’s really not about you—it’s about him.
(From Justin Taylor’s blog: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2010/08/26/the-bible-is-not-basically-about-you/)
How to Approach Daily Devotions: Charles Spurgeon
You are retired for your private devotions; you
have opened the Bible, and you begin to read.
Now, do not be satisfied with merely reading
through a chapter. Some people thoughtlessly
read through two or three chapters- stupid
people for doing such a thing!
It is always better to read a little and digest
it, than it is to read much and then think you
have done a good thing by merely reading the
letter of the word.
For you might as well read the alphabet
backwards and forwards, as read a chapter
of Scripture, unless you meditate upon it,
and seek to comprehend its meaning.
Merely to read words is nothing: the letter kills.
The business of the believer with his Bible
open is to pray, “Lord, give me the meaning
and spirit of your word, while it lies open
before me; apply your word with power to
my soul, threatening or promise, doctrine
or precept, whatever it may be; lead me
into the soul and marrow of your word.”
Also, it is not the form of prayer, but the spirit
of prayer that shall truly benefit your souls.
That prayer has not benefited you,
which is not the prayer of the soul.
You have need to say, “Lord, give me the
spirit of prayer; now help me to feel my
need deeply, to perceive your promises
clearly, and to exercise faith upon them.”
In your private devotions, strive after vital
godliness, real soul-work, the life-giving
operation of the Spirit of God in your hearts.
Seven Practical Directions on Reading the Bible: J.C. Ryle
1) Read the Bible with an earnest desire to understand it.
2) Read the Scriptures with a simple, childlike faith and humility.
3) Read the Word with a spirit of obedience and self-application.
4) Read the Holy Scriptures everyday.
5) Read the whole Bible and read it an orderly way.
6) Read the Word of God fairly and honestly.
7) Read the Bible with Christ constantly in view.
[Practical Religion, “Bible Reading”, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1998], 131-33.