Tag Archives: Bible Reading

“We must read our Bibles like men digging for hidden treasure” by J.C. Ryle

“What our Lord did mean to rebuke was that excessive attention to labour for the body, while the soul is neglected, which prevails everywhere in the world (John 6:26). What He reproved was, the common habit of labouring only for the things of time, and letting alone the things of eternity—of minding only the life that now is, and disregarding the life to come. Against this habit He delivers a solemn warning.

Surely, we must all feel our Lord did not say the words before us without good cause. They are a startling caution which should ring in the ears of many in these latter days.

How many in every rank of life are doing the very thing against which Jesus warns us! They are labouring night and day for ‘the meat that perisheth,’ and doing nothing for their immortal souls.

Happy are those who learn betimes the respective value of soul and body, and give the first and best place in their thoughts to salvation. One thing is needful. He that seeks first the kingdom of God, will never fail to find ‘all other things added to him.’ (Matt. 6:33)

We should mark, thirdly, in this passage, what Christ advises. He tells us to ‘labour for the meat that endureth to everlasting life.’ (John 6:27) He would have us take pains to find food and satisfaction for our souls. That food is provided in rich abundance in Him. But he that would have it must diligently seek it.

How are we to labour? There is but one answer. We must labour in the use of all appointed means.

We must read our Bibles like men digging for hidden treasure.

We must wrestle earnestly in prayer like men contending with a deadly enemy for life.

We must take our whole heart to the house of God and worship and hear like those who listen to the reading of a will.

We must fight daily against sin, the world, and the devil, like those who fight for liberty, and must conquer, or be slaves.

These are the ways we must walk in if we would find Christ, and be found of Him. This is ‘labouring.’ This is the secret of getting on about our souls.

Labour like this no doubt is very uncommon. In carrying it on we shall have little encouragement from man, and shall often be told that we are “extreme,” and go too far.

Strange and absurd as it is, the natural man is always fancying that we may take too much thought about religion, and refusing to see that we are far more likely to take too much thought about the world.

But whatever man may say, the soul will never get spiritual food without labour. We must ‘strive,’ we must ‘run,’ we must ‘fight,’ we must throw our whole heart into our soul’s affairs. It is ‘the violent’ who take the kingdom. (Matt. 11:12)

We should mark, lastly, in this passage, what a promise Christ holds out. He tells us that He himself will give eternal food to all who seek it: ‘The Son of man shall give you the meat that endureth unto everlasting life.’

How gracious and encouraging these words are! Whatever we need for the relief of our hungering souls, Christ is ready and willing to bestow. Whatever mercy, grace, peace, strength we require, the Son of man will give freely, immediately, abundantly, and eternally.

He is ‘sealed,’ and appointed, and commissioned by God the Father for this very purpose. Like Joseph in the Egyptian famine, it is His office to be the Friend, and Almoner, and Reliever of a sinful world. He is far more willing to give than man is to receive. The more sinners apply to Him, the better He is pleased.

And now, as we leave this rich passage, let us ask ourselves, what use we make of it? For what are we labouring ourselves? What do we know of lasting food and satisfaction for our inward man?

Never let us rest till we have eaten of the meat which Christ alone can give. They that are content with any other spiritual food will sooner or later ‘lie down in sorrow.’ (Isa. 50:11)”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, Volume 1 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1869/2012), 1: 243-245. Ryle is commenting on John 6:22-27.

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“We are fascinated with ourselves but the Psalms are fascinated with God” by C. Richard Wells

“Apart from biblical illiteracy, there are special reasons for neglect of the Psalms. The language of poetry doesn’t easily connect in a sound-byte culture.

The Psalms call for time, not tweets– time to read, ponder, pray, digest. It’s easy to be too busy for the Psalms.

Then again, the strong emotions of the Psalms make many modern people uncomfortable– which is ironic since our culture seems to feed on feelings.

On top of everything else, strange to say, the Psalms are just so… well… God intoxicated. We are fascinated with ourselves; the Psalms are fascinated with God.”

–C. Richard Wells, Forgotten Songs: Reclaiming the Psalms for Christian Worship (Nashville, TN: B&H, 2012), 203-204.

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“They that pray, and read, and sing do best of all” by Charles Spurgeon

“I agree with Matthew Henry when he says:

‘They that pray in the family do well.

They that pray and read the Scriptures do better.

But they that pray, and read, and sing do best of all.’

There is a completeness in that kind of family worship which is much to be desired.

Whether in the family or not, yet personally and privately, let us endeavour to be filled with God’s praise and with His honour all the day.

Be this our resolve— ‘I will extol Thee, my God, O King. And I will bless Thy name forever and ever. Every day will I bless Thee. And I will praise Thy name forever and ever‘ (Psalm 145:1-2).”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Happy Duty of Daily Praise,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Volume 32 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1886), 32: 289.

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“The most important business of your life” by George Mueller

“We have, through the goodness of the Lord, been permitted to enter upon another year, and the minds of many among us will no doubt be occupied with plans for the future and the various fears of our work and service for the Lord.

If our lives are spared, we shall be engaged in those: the welfare of our families, the prosperity of our business, our work and service for Christ may be considered the most important matters to be attended to; but according to my judgment the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord.

Other things may press upon you, the Lord’s work may even have urgent claims upon your attention, but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself! Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life.

This has been my firm and settled condition for the last five and thirty years. For the first four years after my conversion I knew not its vast importance, but now after much experience I specially commend this point to the notice of my younger brethren and sisters in Christ: the secret of all true effectual service is joy in God, having experimental acquaintance and fellowship with God Himself.

But in what way shall we attain to this settled happiness of soul? How shall we learn to enjoy God? How shall we obtain such an all-sufficient, soul-satisfying portion in Him as shall enable us to let go the things of this world as vain and worthless in comparison?

 I answer, this happiness is to be obtained through the study of the Holy Scriptures. God has therein revealed Himself unto us in the face of Jesus Christ.

In the Scriptures, by the power of the Holy Ghost, He makes Himself known unto our souls… [Therefore] The very earliest portion of the day we can command should be devoted to the meditation on Scriptures. 

Our souls should feed upon the Word…. This intimate experimental acquaintance with Him will make us truly happy.

Nothing else will…. In God our Father, and the blessed Jesus, our souls have a rich, divine, imperishable, eternal treasure. Let us enter into practical possession of these true riches; yea, let the remaining days of our earthly pilgrimage be spent in an ever increasing, devoted, earnest consecration of our souls to God.”

–George Mueller, A Narrative of Some of the Lord’s Dealings with George Mueller, Written by Himself (Muskegon, Mich.: Dust and Ashes Publications, 2003), 730-732. It is excerpted from a sermon the 59-year-old Mueller preached to his congregation at a New Year’s service.

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“Be Bible readers” by Charles Spurgeon

“Let us stop and consider the merciful nature of God, in having written us a Bible at all. Ah! He might have left us without it, to grope our dark way, as blind men seek the wall.

He might have suffered us to wander on with the star of reason as our only guide… The light of creation is a bright light.

God may be seen in the stars. His name is written in gilt letters on the brow of night. You may discover His glory in the ocean waves, yea, in the trees of the field.

But it is better to read His glory in two books rather than in one. You will find it here more clearly revealed, for He has written this book Himself, and He has given you the key to understand it, if you have the Holy Spirit.

Ah, beloved, let us thank God for this Bible. Let us love it. Let us count it more precious than much fine gold.

But let me say one thing before I pass on to the second point. If this be the Word of God, what will become of some of you who have not read it for the last month?

‘Month, sir! I have not read it for this year.’

Ay, there are some of you who have not read it at all.

Most people treat the Bible very politely. They have a small pocket volume, neatly bound. They put a white pocket-handkerchief around it, and carry it to their places of worship.

When they get home, they lay it up in a drawer till next Sunday morning. Then it comes out again for a little bit of a treat and goes to chapel.

That is all the poor Bible gets in the way of an airing. That is your style of entertaining this heavenly messenger.

There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write ‘damnation’ with your fingers. There are some of you who have not turned over your Bibles for a long, long, long while, and what think you? I tell you blunt words, but true words.

What will God say at last? When you shall come before him, he shall say, ‘Did you read my Bible?’

‘No.’

‘I wrote you a letter of mercy; did you read it?’

‘No.’

‘Rebel! I have sent thee a letter inviting thee to me: didst thou ever read it?’

‘Lord I never broke the seal; I kept it shut up.’

‘Wretch!’ says God, ‘then thou deservest hell, if I sent thee a loving epistle and thou wouldst not even break the seal: what shall I do unto thee?’

Oh! Let it not be so with you. Be Bible readers; be Bible searchers.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Bible” in The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons (vol. 1; London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1855), 112–113.

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“A few apples” by Martin Luther

“Divine Scripture is a very fertile tree and there is no branch which I have not shaken with my own hands and knocked down a few apples.”

–Martin Luther, Off the Record With Martin Luther: An Original Translation of the Table Talks, trans. and ed. Charles Daudert (Kalamazoo, MI: Hansa-Hewlett, 2009), entry no. 5355, p. 163.

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