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Full text of "How to master the English Bible : an experience, a method, a result, an illustration"

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COPYRIGHT DEPOSIT: 



Hoto to JEaster t|je 
Cngitsl) Bible 



Hoto to Mwttv tjjt 



AN EXPERIENCE 
A METHOD 
A R E S U L T 
AN ILLUSTRATION 



By 
REV. JAMES M. GRAY, D.D. 

V 
MINISTER IN THE REFORMED EPISCOPAL CHURCH, AUTHOR OP 

" SYNTHETIC BIBLE STUDIES," " THE BULWARKS OP THE 

FAITH," "THE HISTORY OP THE HOLY DEAD," ETC. 



CHICAGO 
THE WINONA PUBLISHING COMPANY 

1904 



Lig5»*sv of 09N3RESS 
Two O0BIC8 Received 
SEP 3 1904 
^ooyrtsrht Entry 

CLASS CL XXC No. 

<77£vz 

COPY B 



,A04 



COPYRIGHT 1904 

BY 

THE WINONA PUBLISHING COMPANY 



September 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



I. The Story of the Case . . .13 
II. Explanation of the Method . .31 

III. The Plan at Work .... 41 

IV. Results in the Pulpit ... 59 
V. Expository Outlines .... 77 



NOTE BY THE PUBLISHERS 

The author of this book requires no intro- 
duction to the Bible-loving people of our time. 
A time it is of unusual quickening in the study 
of God's Word along spiritual and evangelical 
lines, toward which, as the editor of a leading 
newspaper has said, no one man has con- 
tributed more than Rev. James M. Gray, D.D. 

"He knows what is in the Book," says the 
Christian Endeavor World, "as Dudley Buck 
knows what majestic melody is in the great 
organ in Carnegie Hall or Trinity, and when 
he sounds the clear, strong notes of God's love, 
of victory over sin, of the believer's assurance, 
it is no wonder that thousands of young people 
wax as enthusiastic over the Bible as others do 
over athletics or art. ' ' 

The interdenominational Bible classes which 
he has carried on, and to which his work 
directly and indirectly has given rise, are the 
largest and in other respects the most remark- 
able known. His work has revolutionized the 
method of teaching in some Sunday schools; 
it has put life into dead prayer -meetings ; in 
not a few instances it has materially helped to 
7 



IRote b£ tbe ©ubltsfoers 



solve the problem of the second service on the 
Lord's day; it has been a boon to many pastors 
in the labors of study and pulpit, whose 
gratitude is outspoken; it has contributed to 
the efficiency of foreign missionary workers, 
whose testimony has come from the uttermost 
parts of the earth ; and it has reacted bene- 
ficially on the instruction given in the English 
Bible in some of our home academies, smaller 
colleges and seminaries. The secret of these 
results is given in this book. 

Nor is it as a Bible teacher only, but also as 
a Bible preacher, that Dr. Gray holds a distin- 
guished place in the current history of the 
church. His expository sermons leave an 
impress not to be effaced. Presbyteries and 
ministerial associations are on record that they 
have stirred communities to their depths. 
Even secular editors, commonly unmoved by 
ordinary types of evangelism, have written: 
"Here is something new for the people, some- 
thing fresh and suggestive for every active 
mind, which the business interests of the city 
cannot afford to neglect." The testimony of 
one pastor given at a meeting of the presbytery is 
practically that of scores of others throughout 
the country. He had attended a series of 
8 



Bote bs tbe publtsbers 



popular meetings conducted by Dr. Gray, and 
said: "I learned more during the few days I 
listened to Dr. Gray about the true character 
of preaching than I had learned in all my 
seminary course and my twenty years of min- 
istry. Because of what I learned there of true 
expository preaching I shall hope to make the 
last years of my ministry the very best of all." 

The Interior holds up Dr. Gray in this re- 
spect as an example "for all preachers of the 
Gospel," adding that "for the pastor who 
would make practical, spiritual use of the 
Word in his ministry, feeding himself and his 
people, the method which is characteristic of 
his work is the right one." 

We are glad that this book contains a prac- 
tical application of all that the author has said 
and taught to the results which may be gath- 
ered from it in the pulpit. 

The Publishers. 



tTOtje g>tori? of tyt Case 



f|oto to faster t^ e CttQlt^ Bible 

PART I 

THE STORY OF THE CASE 

How to master the English Bible! High- 
sounding title that, but does it mean what it 
The Bible says? It is not how to study it, 

Like a Farm b u t how to master it ; for there 
is a sense in which the Bible must be mastered 
before it can be studied, and it is the failure 
to see this which accounts for other failures 
on the part of many earnest would-be Bible 
students. I suppose it is something like a 
farm; for although never a farmer myself, I 
have always imagined a farmer should know 
his farm before he attempted to work it. How 
much upland and how much lowland? How 
much wood and how much pasture? Where 
should the orchard be laid out? Where plant 
my corn, oats, and potatoes? What plot is to 
be seeded down to grass? When he has mas- 
tered his farm he begins to get ready for results 
from it. 

Now there are many ways of studying the 
Bible, any one of which may be good enough 
13 



Ibow to flDaster tbe Bnglisb Bible 

in itself, but there is only one way to master 
it, as we shall see. And it is the Bible itself 
we are to master, not books about the Bible, 
nor yet * 'charts." I once listened to an 
earnest and cultivated young man delivering a 
lecture on Bible study, illustrated by a chart so 
long that when he unrolled and held one end 
of it above his head, as high as his arms could 
reach, the other curled up on the floor below 
the platform. As the auditor gazed upon its 
labyrinthian lines, circles, crosses and other 
things intended to illuminate it, and "gathered 
up the loins of his mind" to listen to the ex- 
planation following, it was with an inward sigh 
of gratitude that God had never put such a 
yoke upon us, "which neither we nor our 
fathers were able to bear." 

And it is the English Bible we are thinking 
about, the Bible in the veruacular, the tongue 
T - most of us best understand. One 

vernacular i s grateful to have studied He- 
Tongues brew and Greek, just to be able 
to tell others who have not that they do not 
require either to hearken to our Heavenly 
Father's voice. He has an advantage as a 
scholar who can utilize the original tongues ; 
but the Bible was not given to scholars, but 
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ZTbe Stors ot tbe Case 



to the people, and "hear we every man in our 
own tongue wherein we were born" (Acts 2:8). 
It is not at all inconsistent to add that he who 
masters the Engish Bible is possessed of the 
strongest inducement to study it in Hebrew 
and Greek. 

That which follows grows largely out of the 
writer's personal experience. For the first 
eight or ten years of my ministry I did not 
know my English Bible as I should have known 
it, a fact to which my own spiritual life and 
the character of my pulpit ministrations bore 
depressing witness. Nor was I so fortunate as 
to meet with more than one or two brethren 
in the ministry who knew their English Bible 

The Bible m ver y mucn better than I knew 
tne Seminary m i ne . They all declared that 
the theological seminaries did not profess to 
teach the English Bible. They taught much 
about the Bible of great importance for min- 
isters to know, such as the Hebrew and Greek 
tongues, the principles of exegesis and inter- 
pretation, the history of the text, and the proofs 
and illustrations of Christian doctrine; but, in 
the words of one of the ministers referred to 
(which have appeared in print), "while we 
15 



1bow to /iDaster tbe Engltsb Bible 

had some special lessons in one or two of the 
epistles, several of the psalms, in some of the 
prophecies, and in a few select portions of 
the gospels, other and vastly important parts 
of the Bible were left out altogether. We had 
nothing on the book of Eevelation, no elabo- 
rate study of the Mosaic ritual and its pro- 
found system of types, and especially were we 
left uninitiated into the minute and wonderful 
coordination of parts in the various books of 
the Old and New Testaments, which disclose a 
stupendous divine plan running through the 
whole, linking them all together as an indis- 
soluble unit and carrying with them an amazing 
power of conviction." 

The seminaries have assumed that students 
were acquainted with the great facts of the 
English Bible and their relation to one another 
before matriculation, but so competent an 
authority as President Harper declares that 
"to indicate the line of thought and chief ideas 
of a particular prophet, or the argument of an 
epistle, or to state even the most important 
events in the life of our Lord, would be im- 
possible for the average college graduate." It 
is such an unfortunate state of things which, 
to a certain extent, accounts for the rise and 
16 



TTbe Stors of tbe Case 



maintenance of those excellent institutions, the 
Moody Bible Institute in this country and 
Spurgeon's College in London, with their 
almost countless offspring and imitators 
everywhere, creating as they have a distinct 
atmosphere of biblical and evangelistic teach- 
ing and preaching. It is commonly supposed, 
it may be said in passing, that these institu- 
tions cater to or attract only men or women 
of very limited educational attainments, but 
in the case of the first-named, at least, an inci- 
dental census taken recently disclosed the fact 
that one-third of the male students then on 
the rolls or who had lately left were college- 
trained; one may safely hazard the opinion 
that in the woman's department the propor- 
tion of college-trained students would hav'e 
been still larger. 

The first practical help I ever received in 
the mastery of the English Bible was from a 
Help from a layman. We were f ellow-attend- 
Layman an ts at a certain Christian con- 

ference or convention and thrown together a 
good deal for several days, and I saw some- 
thing in his Christian life to which I was a 
comparative stranger — a peace, a rest, a joy, 
17 



1bow to /IDaster tbe Bnglisb Bible 

a kind of spiritual poise I knew little about. 
One day I ventured to ask him how he had 
become possessed of the experience, when he 
replied, "By reading the epistle to the Ephe- 
sians." I was surprised, for I had read.it 
without such results, and therefore asked him 
to explain the manner of his reading, when he 
related the following : He had gone into the 
country to spend the Sabbath with his family 
on one occasion, taking with him a pocket 
copy of Ephesians, and in the afternoon, going 
out into the woods and lying down under a 
tree, he began to read it ; he read it through at 
a single reading, and finding his interest 
aroused, read it through again in the same 
way, and, his interest increasing, again and 
again. I think he added that he read it some 
twelve or fifteen times, "and when I arose to go 
into the house," said he, "I was in possession 
of Ephesians, or better yet, it was in possession 
of me, and I had been 'lifted up to sit to- 
gether in heavenly places in Christ Jesus' in 
an experimental sense in which that had not 
been true in me before, and will never cease to 
be true in me again." 

I confess that as I listened to this simple 
recital my heart was going up in thanksgiving 
18 



ttbe Stors of tbe Case 



to God for answered prayer, the prayer 
really of months, if not years, that I might 
3ome to know how to master His Word. And 
yet, side by side with the thanksgiving was 
humiliation that I had not discovered so sim- 
ple a principle before, which a boy of ten or 
twelve might have known. And to think that 
an "ordained" minister must sit at the feet of a 
layman to learn the most important secret of 
his trade ! 

Since that day, however, the writer has 
found some comfort in the thought that other 
Dr. stalker's ministers have had a not unlike 
Experience experience. In an address before 
the National Bible Society of Scotland, the 
Rev. Dr. Stalker speaks of the first time he 
ever "read a whole book of the Bible straight 
through at a sitting." It was while as a 
student he was spending a winter in France, 
and there being no Protestant church in the 
town where he was passing a Sunday, he was 
thrown on his own resources. Leaving the 
hotel where he was staying, he lay down on 
a green knoll and began reading here and there 
as it chanced, till, coming to the epistle to 
the Romans, he read on and on through to 
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t>ow to /l&aster tbe Enalisb IBible 

the end. "As I proceeded," lie said, "I 
began to catch the drift of Paul's thought; 
or rather, I was caught by it and drawn on. 
The mighty argument opened out and arose 
like a great work of art above me till at last 
it enclosed me within its perfect proportions. 
It was a revolutionary experience. I saw for 
the first time that a book of Scripture is a 
complete discussion of a single subject; I felt 
the force of the book as a whole, and I under- 
stood the different parts in the light of the 
whole as I had never understood them when 
reading them by themselves. Thus to master 
book after book is to fill the mind with the 
great thoughts of God." 

Let me now speak of what I, personally, 
began to do after the suggestion of the layman, 

The Author's for tlie results which, in the 
Plan providence of God, have grown 

out of it seem to warrant dwelling upon it 
even at the risk of prolixity on the one hand 
or the suspicion of egotism on the other. At 
first, supposing it more desirable to read the 
books in the original than the vernacular, I 
began to memorize some of the smaller epistles 
in Greek, but the Lord showed me "a more 
20 



Zbc Stors of tbe Case 



excellent way" in view of the purpose which 
the event proved Him to have had in mind in 
the matter. Accordingly, ignoring the Bible 
tongues for the time, I read Genesis through 
in the English at a single reading, and then 
repeated the process again and again until the 
book in its great outlines had practically become 
mine. Then I took up Exodus in the same 
way, Leviticus, Numbers, and practically all 
the other books of the Old and New Testa- 
ments to Eevelation, with the exception of 
Proverbs, the Psalms and one or two others 
which do not lend themselves readily to that 
plan of reading, and indeed do not require it 
to their understanding and mastery. I am 
careful to emphasize the fact that I did not 
read the Bible "in course," as it is commonly 
understood. One might read it in that way a 
great many times and not master it in the 
sense indicated above. The plan was to read 
and reread each book by itself and in its order, 
as though there were no other in existence, 
until it had become a part of the very being. 

"Was the task tedious and long? No more 
than was Jacob's when he served Laban for 
his daughter Rachel. There were compensa- 
21 



Ibow to /l&aster tbe Enalfsb Bible 

tions all along the way and ever-increasing 
delight. No romance ever held sway over the 
Joy and thought and imagination in com- 

Power parison with this Book of books. 

A better investment of time were never made 
by any minister ; and, shut me up to-day to a 
choice between all the ministerial lore I ever 
learned elsewhere and what was learned in this 
synthetic reading of the Bible, and it would not 
take me many minutes to decide in favor of 
the latter. Nor did I know until lately how 
closely my feeling in this respect harmonized 
with that of a great educator and theologian 

Dean Burgon of an earlier da ?- Dean Bur g on 
and Dr. Routh tells of an interview he had in 

1846 with the learned president of Magdalen 

College, Oxford, Dr. Martin Joseph Routh, 

then aged ninety-one. He had called upon him 

for advice as to the best way of pursuing his 

theological studies. 

"I think, sir," said Dr. Routh, "were I you, 

sir — that I would — first of all — read the — the 

Gospel according to St. Matthew." Here he 

paused. "And after I had read the Gospel 

according to St. Matthew — I would — were I 

you, sir — go on to read — the Gospel according 

to St.— Mark." 



XTbe Stors ot tbe Case 



"I looked at him," says Dean Burgon, 
* 'anxiously, to see whether he was serious. 
One glance was enough. He was giving me, 
but at a very slow rate, the outline of my 
future course." 

"Here was a theologian of ninety-one," says 
the narrator of this incident, "who, after sur- 
veying the entire field of sacred science, had 
come back to the starting point, and had 
nothing better to advise me to read than — the 
Gospel!" And thus he kept on until he had 
mentioned all the books of the New Testament. 
Sad, however, that the story should have been 
spoiled by his not beginning at Genesis! 

Words fail me to express the blessing that 
reading has been to me — strengthening my 
Lightening conviction as to the integrity and 
Lat>or plenary inspiration of the whole 

Book, enlarging my mental vision as to the 
divine plan along the line of dispensational 
truth, purifying my life and lightening my 
labors in the ministry until that which before 
had often been a burden and weariness to the 
flesh, became a continual joy and delight. 

To speak of this last-named matter a little 
further. The claims on a city pastor in these 
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1foow to /IDaster tbe Bnglisb JBible 

days are enough to break down the strongest 
men, especially when their pulpit preparation 
involves the production of two orations or fin- 
ished theses each week for which they must 
"read up in systematic treatises, philosophic 
disquisitions, works of literature, magazine 
articles and what not, drawing upon their 
ingenuity of invention and fertility of imagina- 
tion all the time in order to be original, strik- 
ing, elegant and fresh." But when they come 
to know their Bible, and get imbued with its 
lore and anointed by the Spirit through whom 
it speaks, "sermonizing" will give place to 
preaching — the preaching that God bids us to 
preach, the exposition of His own Word, 
which is not only much easier to do, but cor- 
respondingly more fruitful in spiritual results. 
And, indeed, it is the kind of preaching that 
people want to hear — all kinds of people, the 
converted and the unconverted, the rich and 
the poor. A wide experience convinces me 
of this. Here is the minister's field, his 
specialty, his throne. He may not be a mas- 
ter in other things ; he may and should be a 
master in this. The really great preachers 
to-day, the MacLarens, the Torreys, the Camp- 
bell Morgans, are Bible expounders. George 
24 



XTbe 5tor$ of tbe Case 



Whitefield, in Boston, had a congregation of 
two thousand people at six o'clock in the 
morning to hear him "expound the Bible." 
The people trod on Jesus to hear the Word of 
God, and if pastors only knew it, it is the way 
to get and to hold the people still. 

My experience in the premises soon began to 
be that of others. Some theological students 
under my care at the time under- 
bid the° 0dy *°°k ^ e mas ^ er y °f ^ ne English 
Bible classes 1 Bible * n tne same wav an( * with 
the same blessing. Then the 
work began to broaden, and God's further 
purpose to reveal itself. Such Bible institutes 
as those already spoken of, organized for the 
purpose of training Christian young men and 
women as evangelists, pastors' helpers, mis- 
sionaries, and gospel workers generally, were in 
need of some simple, yet practical, method of 
putting their students in possession of the 
facts of the Word of God for use among the 
people with whom they had to deal, and God 
had been making ready to supply their need. 
But out of these institutes again have grown 
those large interdenominational Bible classes 
which have become a feature of our church life 
25 



1bow to faster tbe JEnglisb 3Btble 

in different parts of the country. Their origin 
is traceable, like that of so many other good 
things of the kind, to the suggestion and sup- 
port of the late D. L. Moody. One summer, 
while conducting a special course of Bible 
study in the Chicago Institute, he said to the 
writer: "If this synthetic method of teaching 
the Bible is so desirable for and popular with 
our day classes, why would it not take equally 
well with the masses of the people on a large 
scale? If I arrange for a mass meeting in the 
Chicago Avenue Church, will you speak to the 
people on 'How to Master the English Bible' 
and let us see what will come of it?" The 
suggestion being acted upon, as a result about 
four hundred persons out of some one thousand 
present that evening resolved themselves into 
a union Bible class for the synthetic study of 
the Bible under the leadership of Mr. William 
E. Newell, then assistant superintendent of 
the Institute. This class continued to meet 
regularly once a week with unabated interest 
throughout the whole of that fall and winter, 
and the next year had multiplied into five 
classes held in different parts of the city, on 
different evenings of the week, but under the 
same teacher, and with an aggregate member- 
26 



Ube Stors of tbe Case 



ship of over four thousand. The year follow- 
ing, this had increased to over five thousand, 
two or three of the classes averaging separately 
an attendance of twelve hundred to fifteen 
hundred. Since that time several similar 
classes have attained a membership approach- 
ing two thousand, and one, in Toronto, to 
nearly four thousand. At the time of this 
writing, in the heat of the summer, such a 
class is being held weekly in Chicago. From 
Chicago the work spread in other cities of the 
East and Middle West, and under other teach- 
ers. Classes for briefer periods have been car- 
ried on in Canada and Great Britain. A 
religious weekly organized a class to be con- 
ducted through its columns, enrolling tens of 
thousands in its membership, and through its 
influence many pastors, Y. M. C. A. and 
Y. W. C. A. workers have instituted classes in 
their own fields which have, in turn, multi- 
plied the interest in the popular study of the 
English Bible in increasing ratio. 



27 



explanation of tlje apetfjoD 



Explanation of tbe /IDetbofc 

PART II 

EXPLANATION OF THE METHOD 

The contents of the preceding pages may be 
said to be preliminary to the definition or de- 
scription of what the synthetic study of the 
Bible is ; for by that name the method to be 
described has come to be called. The word 
"synthesis" suggests the opposite idea to the 
word "analysis." When we analyze a subject 
we take it apart and consider it in its various 
elements, but when we "synthesize" it, so to 
speak, we put it together and consider it as a 
whole. Now the synthetic study of the Bible 
means, as nearly as possible, the study of the 
Bible as a whole, and each book of the Bible as 
a whole, and as seen in its relation to the other 
books. 

A very dear Christian friend and neighbor, 
the late A. J. Gordon, D.D., used to tell an 
A colored amusing story of a conversation 

critic w ith a deacon of a church for 

colored people in his proximity. He asked 
the deacon how the people liked their new 
pastor, and was surprised to hear him say, 
31 



1bow to /IDaster tbe Bnglisb Bible 

"Not berry much." When pressed for an 
explanation he added that the pastor told "too 
many 'antidotes' in the pulpit." "Why," 
said the doctor, "I'm surprised to hear that; 
I thought he was a great Bible man." 
"Well," replied the deacon, "I'll tell yer how 
'tis. He's de best man I ebber seed to tak' 
de Bible apart, but he dunno how to put it 
togedder agin." Principal Cairns, I think it 
was, who heard this story, said it was the best 
illustration of the distinction between the con- 
structive and destructive criticism to which he 
had ever listened. The synthetic study of the 
Bible, it may be said in a word, is an attempt 
to put it together rather than to take it apart. 

To illustrate, I have always felt a sort of 
injury in the way I was taught geography; 

Illustrations ca P es and ha ? s > and lakes and 
of the Method rivers were sought to be crowded 

on my understanding before I ever saw a 

globe. Should not the globe come first, then 

the hemispheres, continents, nations, capitals, 

and the rest? Does not a view of the whole 

materially assist in the comprehension of the 

parts? Is it not vital to it, indeed? And 

history — what is the true method of its study? 

32 



Explanation of tbe /iDetbofc 

Is it not first the outline history of the world, 
then its great divisions, ancient, mediaeval, 
modern, then the separate peoples or kingdoms 
in each, and so on? How could you hope to 
interest a child in botany who had never seen 
a flower? How would you study a picture of a 
landscape? Would you cover the canvas with 
a cloth and study one feature of it at a time? 
What idea of it would you obtain under such 
circumstances? Would you not rather say, 
"Hang it in the proper light, let me get the 
right position with regard to it, and take it 
all in at a single glance, fasten the whole of 
it at once on the camera of my consciousness, 
and then I shall be able and interested after- 
ward to study it in detail, and to go into the 
questions of proportion, and perspective, and 
shading, and coloring and all that"? Is it 
not the failure to adopt the corresponding 
plan in Bible study which accounts in large 
measure for the lack of enthusiastic interest 
in its prosecution on the part of the people? 

It is assuring to discover that the American 

Bible League, which promises to do much to 

quicken Bible study among the people along 

lines of faith in its integrity as the revealed 

33 



Dow to /toaster tbe iBnQlisb Bible 

Word of God, has reached almost precisely the 
same conclusion as to method. The esteemed 
The American secretary of that league, Eev. 
Bible League D. S. Gregory, D.D., LL.D., a 
man of wide experience in educational and 
literary lines other than those of the promulga- 
tion of Bible truth, charges the present ignor- 
ance of the Bible, "everywhere in evidence," 
to the failure of the old methods of its study. 
To quote his words in the "Bible Student 
and Teacher": 

"The fragmentary method was tried for a 
generation or two. We were kept studying 
the comments upon verse after verse, on the 
tacit assumption that no verse had any con- 
nection with any other verse, until we wearied 
of that, and would have no more of it. 

"So the lesson systems came in, and we have 
had series upon series of such systems, show- 
ing that men deeply felt that there was need of 
system in the study of the Bible. But these 
systems have been artificial, all of them; the 
latest of all the most so of all. The men who 
have been engaged in preparing them deserve 
our gratitude. They have done the best they 
could, doubtless; and we will look for more 
light and improvement for the time to come. 
34 



Explanation ot tbe /iDetbofc 

But you hear everywhere that the people are 
weary of lesson systems. They are so because 
the systems are artificial, and because they do 
not take you directly to the Bible as the Word 
of God, but rather by means of most useful 
lesson leaves and other devices take you away 
from it. 

"And it is impossible to grasp the system, 
however valuable it may be. You study in 
seven years your three hundred and fifty les- 
sons in a so-called system ; and at the end of 
the seven years the best memory in Christen- 
dom has been found unable to hold that sys- 
tem so as to tell what has been taught in that 
time. When you have passed on from each 
lesson you have lost its connection with the 
Bible, and lost the lesson, too." 

It is the judgment of this same observer that 
these "fragmentary methods" account, in 

Rationalism P art > fo y the . assaulfc of the ra " 
Sunday tionalistic critics upon the work 

school f the Sunday school. "There 

was a call for something better, a 'vacuum' 
in the minds of teachers and professors in 
charge of instruction in the Bible, and just 
at the psychological moment there came all 
this German material — interesting, ingenious, 
35 



1bow to faster tbe Bnaiisb Bible 

imaginative, ready to fill that vacuum. The 
two needs meet, and so we have had our recent 
development of the critical system of studying 
and presenting the Bible, which they are seek- 
ing now to introduce into all the schools and 
colleges and Sunday schools. 

"That critical method has taken the Bible 
apart into bits and scraps and scattered it to 
the ends of the earth, as we have heard and 
have reason to know. When one comes upon 
its results he feels that he does not know 
exactly where he is." 

Men hate bits and scraps, as this writer says, 
and as Bible teachers we should bring our 
methods into harmony with their natural con- 
structive sense. Like the expert mountain 
climber, let us take them to the highest peak 
first, that they may see the whole range, and 
then they can intelligently and enthusiastically 
study the features of the lower levels in their 
relation to the whole. The opposite plan is 
confusing and a weariness to the flesh. Give 
people to see for themselves what the Bible is 
in the large, and then they will have a desire 
to see it in detail. Pat a telescope in their 
hands first, and a microscope afterwards. 
Martin Luther used to say that he studied the 
36 



Explanation ot tbe /Ifeetbofc 

Bible as he gathered apples. He shook the 
tree first, then the limbs, then the branches, 

Luther and the and after that he reached out 
Apple Tree under the leaves for the remain- 
ing fruit. The reverse order is monotonous 
in either case — studying the Bible or gathering 
apples. 



37 



Ww plan at Igorfe 



XTbe plan at TKHorft 



paet ill 

THE PLAtf AT WORK 

There are certain simple rules to be observed 
in the synthetic study of the Bible if we want 

Begin at the ^° master ^, an ^ the first is to 
Beginning begin to study it where God 

began to write it, i.e., at the book of Genesis. 
The newer criticism would dispute this state- 
ment about the primary authorship of Genesis, 
but the best answer to the objection is to try 
the plan. As Dr. Smith says in his "The 
Integrity of Scripture": "Inherent in revela- 
tion there is a self- witness. The latest portion 
points to the beginning, and the beginning, 
with all that may be limited and provisional, 
contains the germ of the end. God's discovery 
of Himself is not an episode, but rooted in a 
vast breadth of the world's life, intertwined 
with human history, and growing from less to 
more, as in this divine education and discipline 
man became capable of receiving the full self- 
unveiling of God." 

Dr. Ashmore, for fifty years an honored 
missionary of the American Baptist Missionary 
41 



fboxo to /IDaster tbe Englfsb 3Bible 

Union at Shanghai, relates the following, which 
furnishes a practical illustration of this 
thought. At one time he and his brother mis- 
sionaries started a Bible school for their young 
converts, and began to teach them the epistle 
to the Hebrews. Now the Chinese are remark- 
able for an inquiring disposition, and questions 
began to descend upon the teachers to such a 
degree that they were compelled to forego 
their purpose to teach Hebrews and go back to 
Leviticus as explanatory of or introductory to 
it. But the teaching of Leviticus produced 
the same result, and they went back to Exodus. 
And from Exodus they were driven to Genesis, 
when the questions materially abated. The 
Bible is wondrously self -interpretive if we will 
give it an opportunity, and that opportunity is 
afforded if in its perusal we will wisely and sub- 
missively follow the channel marked out by its 
divine Author. 

The second rule is to read the book. It is 

not asked that it be studied in the ordinary 

sense, or memorized, or even 

sought to be understood at first ; 

but simply read. The purpose is to make 

the task as easy, as natural, and as pleasant as 

42 



XTbe plan at Worft 



possible. It matters not, for the time being, 
how rapidly yon read it, if yon bnt read it. 
But is it not strange that this is one of the last 
things many really earnest Christians and seek- 
ers after Bible truth are willing to do? They 
will read books about the Bible almost without 
limit, but to read the books of the Bible itself 
is another matter. But how could one master 
any corresponding subject by such a method? 
And is it not dishonoring to God for any 
reason to treat His authorship thus? We are 
living in a time when, if only for good form, 
we feel an obligation to be acquainted with the 
best authors. But shall we say that Dante, or 
Shakespeare, or any other of the masters is 
able to interest us in what he wrote, while He 
who created him is unable to do so? Are we 
prepared to confess that God cannot write a 
book as capable of holding our attention as 
that of one of His creatures? What an indict- 
ment we are writing down against ourselves 
in saying that, and how it convinces us of 
sin! 

I know a lady who once traveled a long dis- 
tance on a railroad with her trunk unlocked, 
and when she met her husband at the terminus 
and reported the circumstance there was 
43 



Ifcow to flDaster tbe Bnalfsb Bible 

naturally some emotion in her speech. She 
had been unable to find the key anywhere, she 
said, and only discovered its loss at too late a 
moment to have another fitted before she 
started upon her journey. And the trunk with 
all its treasures had come that whole distance 
with only a strap around it. "Why," ex- 
claimed her husband, "do you not recall that 
when we come home from a journey I always 
fasten the key of the trunk to one of its 
handles? There's your key," pointing to the 
end of the trunk. The incident is recalled by 
the so frequent inquiry one hears for a "key" 
to the Bible. Its Author has provided one, 
and to the average person, at least in this 
enlightened country, it is always at hand. 
Eead the book. 

The third rule is, read the book continu- 
ously. I think it is in his lecture on "The 

Read it Lost Arts ' ' that Wende11 Phillips 

Continuously tells the story of the weaver who 
turned out so much more material from his 
loom than any other workman in the mill. 
How was it done? In vain was the secret 
sought, until one day a bribe from one of his 
employers elicited the information, "Chalk the 
44 



Ube flMan at Timorft 



bobbins." Each morning he had carried a 
piece of chalk with him to his loom, and when 
unobserved, applied it to that small but im- 
portant part of the machinery. The result 
was astonishing. The application of the chalk 
to every bobbin of every loom of every work- 
man made his employers rich. Who cannot 
supplement this story with some other where a 
principle just as simple wrought results as 
great? Try it in the case of the continuous 
reading of a given book of the Bible, and see 
what it will do. 

But what is the meaning of " continuous" in 
this instance? The adjective may not be the 
most lucid, but the idea is this : It stands for 
two things — the reading of the book uninflu- 
enced by its divisions into chapters and verses, 
and the reading of the book in this way at a 
single sitting. The divisions, it should be 
remembered, are of human origin and not 
divine, and, while effecting a good purpose in 
some particulars, are a hindrance to the mas- 
tery of the book in others. Sometimes a 
chapter or a verse will cut a truth in half, 
whose halves state a different fact or teach a 
different doctrine from that intended by the 
whole, and necessarily affecting the conception 
45 



1foow to /toaster tbe lEnglisb JBible 

of the outline. As to the " single sitting," the 
reason for it is this. Many of the books of the 
Bible have a single thread running through 
the whole — a pivotal idea around which all the 
subsidiary ones revolve — and to catch this 
thread, to seize upon this idea, is absolutely 
necessary to unravel or break up the whole in 
its essential parts. To read Genesis in this 
way, for example, will lead to the discovery 
that, large as the book is, it contains but five 
great or outline facts, viz. : 

The history of creation. 

The history of the fall. 

The history of the deluge. 

The history of the origin of the nations. 

The history of the patriarchs. 

It is, then, a book of history, and the larger 
part of it history of the biographical sort. 
This last-named fact can be subdivided again 
into four facts, viz., the histories of Abra- 
ham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, and thus the 
whole book can be kept in mind in a very 
practical way in eight words. Moreover, the 
reading necessary to have gained the eight 
words will unconsciously have fastened upon 
the understanding the subsidiary facts asso- 
ciated with each word, so that a very satis- 
46 



TTbe flMan at WLoxk 



factory examination might be passed as to the 
contents of the whole book. 

The fourth rule is to read the book repeat- 
edly. The reader will understand that by the 
Read it "book" in every case is meant 

Repeatedly the particular book of the Bible, 
Genesis, for example, which it is now being 
sought to master, and which is not to be laid 
aside for any other succeeding book of the 
Bible until the mastery is assured. This can- 
not usually be accomplished by one reading, 
but only by repeated readings after the man- 
ner designated. A stranger sailing along 
the New England coast on a foggy morning 
could hardly believe there were a coast. But 
later, when the sun rises and the fog begins 
to dissipate, there is, at first, a line of sandy 
beach discernible, then a cluster or two of 
rocks, then a little verdure, a house or two, a 
country road, the wooded hillside, until at 
length the whole of the beautiful landscape 
stands out in view. It is much the same in 
the synthetic reading of a given book of the 
Bible. The first view is not always satisfac- 
tory, and it requires a little courage to try 
again and again ; but the effort brings a won- 
47 



1bow to /IDastet tbe Englfsb Bible 

derful and inspiring result at last. The first 
reading of Genesis may not reveal what was 
spoken of above, but two or three readings will 
reveal it. 

Leviticus is more difficult than Genesis or 
even Exodus, because it is dealing with laws 
and ordinances rather than historic happen- 
ings; but as soon as you discover that its 
theme is laws, these latter will begin to differ- 
entiate themselves before your mind and natu- 
rally suggest a simple classification such as 
this: 

The law of the offerings. 

The law of the consecration of the priests. 

The law of the clean and the unclean. 

The law of the day of atonement. 

The law of the feasts. 

The law of the redemption of land and slaves. 

The law of the year of jubilee. 

What a great and indispensable aid such a 
classification is for any further study of that 
book or, for that matter, any other part of the 
Bible to which this revelation of the cere- 
monial law is particularly related ! Even the 
Old Testament prophets, which some have 
described as "the desert of the Scriptures," 
will "rejoice and blossom as the rose" under 
48 



Ube JMan at TKHorfe 



such treatment as this, the discourses readily 
distinguishing themselves by structure and 
subject. And, of course, the Xew Testament 
will possess far less difficulty than the Old. 

The fifth rule is to read it independently — 
i.e., independently, at first at least, of all corn- 
Read it mentaries and other outside aids. 
Independently These are invaluable in their 
place, of course, but in the mastery of the 
English Bible in the present sense, that place 
is not before but after one has gotten an out- 
line of a given book for himself. Indeed, an 
imperfect or erroneous outline of one's own is 
better than a perfect outline of another. The 
necessity to alter it when, by comparison, the 
error is discovered may prove a valuable dis- 
cipline and education. 

The independent reading of a book in this 
sense is urged because of its development of 
one's own intellectual powers. To be ever 
leaning on help from others is like walking on 
stilts all one's life and never attempting to 
place one's feet on the ground. Who can ever 
come to know the most direct and highest type 
of the teaching of the Holy Spirit in this way? 
Who can ever understand the most precious 
49 



tbow to /IDaster tbe Bnslfsb Bible 

and thrilling experiences of spiritual illumina- 
tion thus? Should you wish to teach others, 
how could you communicate to them that 
sense of your own -mastery of the subject so 
vital to a pedagogue had you never really dealt 
with it at first hand? One of our millionaires 
is reported as carrying a cow around with him 
on his yacht because he dislikes condensed 
milk. It is a great gain to so know the Bible 
for yourself that, carrying it with you wherever 
you go, you may be measurably independent of 
other books in its study and use. 

But there is another reason for the inde- 
pendent reading of the book, and that is the 
deliverance from intellectual confusion which 
it secures. The temptation is, when an inter- 
pretive difficulty is reached, to turn at once to 
the commentary for light, which means so very 
often that the reader has become side-tracked 
for good, or rather bad, as the situation is now 
viewed. The search for the solution of one 
little difficulty leads to searching for another, 
and that for another, until, to employ F. B. 
Meyer's figure, we have "become so occupied 
with the hedgerows and the copses of the land- 
scape as to lose the conception of the whole 
sweep and extent of the panorama of truth. ' ' 
50 



XTbe BMan at TBGlork 



The "intensive" has been pursued to the great 
disadvantage of the "extensive," and usually 
there is nothing to be done but to begin all 
over again, for which every reader does not 
possess the required courage. 

And there is an advantage in this inde- 
pendent reading from the teacher's point of 
view, too, as well as that of the learner. How 
many pastors through the country have spoken 
of the success the synthetic method has been 
to them in attracting their people to the house 
of God and awakening in them a real interest 
in Bible study! That is, what a success it has 
been up to a certain , point, when they got 
"swamped," to use the very expressive word 
of more than one of them! Swamped? How? 
Investigation has always revealed the one 
cause, and brought the one confession — a fail- 
ure to diligently and faithfully pursue the 
method in consequence of the temptation to 
investigate minutiae and multiply details. 
There is lying before me at this moment the 
debris of a collapse of this kind. A devoted 
pastor sends me the printed syllabus of his 
work with his congregation covering the Hexa- 
teuch. They were so delighted and so helped 
by it until now, when there has come a 
51 



1bow to /toaster tbe Englisb Bible 

"hitch." He fears he is getting away from 
the plan, and giving and expecting too much. 
And his work reveals the ground of his fears. 
Such work belongs to the pastor in his study, 
but not on the platform before a popular 
audience in Bible teaching. And if it will 
"swamp" the trained and cultivated teacher, 
how much more the inexperienced learner ! A 
faithful reading of the various books on an 
independent basis will secure a working out- 
line, and this should be carried with one in his 
mind, and on his note-book, as he proceeds 
from book to book, until the work is done. 
Then he can successively begin his finer work, 
and analyze his outline, and study helps, and 
gather light, and accumulate material, without 
confusion of thought, without a false per- 
spective, and with an ever-increasing sense of 
joy and power. 



The most important rule is the last. Read 
it prayerfully. Let not the triteness of the 
Read it observation belittle it, or all is 

Prayerfully i os t. The point is insisted on 
because, since the Bible is a supernatural 
book, it can be studied or mastered only by su- 
pernatural aid. In the words of William Luff, 
52 



Gbe ©Ian at TKIlorfe 



"It is the Spirit's Bible! Copyright every word! 
Only His thoughts are uttered, only His voice is 
heard!" 

Who is so well able to illuminate the pages 
of a given book as the author who composed 
it? How often when one has been reading 
Browning has he wished Browning were at his 
side to interpret Browning! But the Holy 
Spirit, by whom holy men of old wrote, dwells 
within the believer on Jesus Christ for the very 
purpose of bringing things to his remembrance 
and guiding him into all the truth. Coleridge 
said, "The Bible without the Holy Spirit is a 
sundial by moonlight, " and a greater than he 
said, "We have received, not the spirit of the 
world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we 
might know the things that are freely given us 
of God" (I Corinthians 2:12). That dear 
old Scottish saint, Andrew Bonar, discrimi- 
nated between a minister's getting his text 
from the Bible, and getting it from God 
through the Bible ; a fine distinction that holds 
good not only with reference to the selection 
of a text to preach upon, but with reference to 
the apprehension spiritually of any part of the 
Word of God. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear 
heard, neither have entered into the heart of 
53 



t>ow to /faster tfoe JEnalteb Bible 

man, the things which God hath prepared for 
them that love him; but God hath revealed 
them unto us by his Spirit" (I Corinthians 
2 : 9, 10). The inspired apostle does not say- 
God has revealed them unto us by His Word, 
though they are in His "Word; but by His 
Spirit through His Word. "For the Spirit 
searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of 
God. For what man knoweth the things of a 
man, save the spirit of the man which is in 
him? Even so, the things of God knoweth no 
man, but the Spirit of God." 

There is a parallel passage to the above in 
the first chapter of Ephesians which has always 
impressed the writer with great force. Paul 
had been unveiling the profoundest verities of 
holy writ to the Ephesians, and then he prays 
that the eyes of their heart (R. V.) might be 
enlightened to understand, to know what he 
had unveiled. He had been telling them what 
was the hope of their calling, and the riches of 
the glory of God's inheritance in the saints, 
and the exceeding greatness of His power 
toward them that believe ; but how could they 
apprehend what he had told them, save as the 
Holy Spirit took of these things of Christ and 
showed them unto them? The Word of God is 
54 



XTbe plan at TJClorfe 



not enough without the Spirit of God. In the 
light of the foregoing, let the reader punctuate 
the reading of it and every part of it with 
prayer to its divine Author, and he will come 
to know "How to Master the English Bible." 



55 



Results in tlje pulpit 



IResults in tbe pulpit 



PAET IV 

KESULTS IN THE PULPIT 

In the preceding pages the consideration of 
the lay reader has been in the foreground, 
though the ministry has not been out of mind. 
But in what follows the writer ventures to 
address his brethren of the ministry, especially 
his younger brethren, most particularly. In 
vain we seek to interest the people in Bible 
study in any permanent or general way except 
as they are stimulated thereto by the instruc- 
tion and example of their ministers. 

There must be even more than an example. 
In connection with a Bible conference in a 
A Vitiated c ^ °^ ^ e Middle West, a private 
Taste gathering of pastors was held, at 

which one of them arose and with deep emo- 
tion said: "Brethren, I have a confession to 
make. I know not whether it will fit in with 
the experience of any others, but I have been 
guilty of cultivating in my people a vitiated 
taste for preaching, and henceforth, by God's 
help, I intend to give them His own Word." 
To search the Scriptures on their own account, 
59 



1bow to flDaster tbe Enaifsb Bible 

the people of our churches must acquire a taste 
for their contents. They must be constantly 
fed with the bread of life to have an appetite 
for it. They will " desire the sincere milk of 
the word," if so be "they have tasted that the 
Lord is gracious." But to what extent do 
they "taste" it in the ordinary pulpit ministra- 
tions of the day? 

The Honorable Leslie M. Shaw, Secretary of 
the Treasury, gave an address recently in 
Secretary Washington, on the occasion of 

Shaw a Sunday school jubilee, which 

interested the writer deeply. He was plead- 
ing for the Sunday school on the ground that 
it was the only place at present in which the 
Bible was taught. "It is not now taught in 
the public schools," said he, "nor am I here 
to say that it ought to be taught there. In 
our busy life it is not taught in our homes. 
The head of the family ought to be a priest, 
but the Bible is seldom read, much less taught, 
in the home. It is seldom taught in the pul- 
pit. Not that I am criticising the ministry. 
But take up a paper and see what the sermons 
are to be about. You will learn about the plan 
of salvation if you listen to the sermons, but 
you will not know much about the Bible if you 
60 



IResults in tbc pulpit 



depend on getting your knowledge of it from 
the pulpit." He then went on to say that 
"the only place on this earth where the Bible 
is taught is in the Sunday school." When, 
however, we consider the character of the 
average Sunday school, the scraps and bits of 
the Bible there taught, the brief period of time 
devoted to the teaching, the lack of discipline 
in the classes, and the inadequate training and 
preparation of the average teacher, we begin to 
inquire, Where is the Bible taught? and won- 
der whether we have fallen on the times of the 
prophet : 

Behold, the days come, saith the 
Lord God, that I will send a famine 
in the land, not a famine of bread, 
nor a thirst for water, but of hearing 
the words of the Lord ; and they shall 
wander from sea to sea, and from the 
north even to the east, they shall run 
to and fro to seek the word of the 
Lord, and shall not find it. — Amos 
8:11, 12. 

I am with Professor Shailer Mathews, 
D.D., in some of his strictures on the modern 
Sunday school, if only it be allowed that 
there are not a few blessed exceptions to the 
rule he lays down. I do not know how we 
61 



t>ow to /IDaster tbe Englisb Bible 

should agree as to a remedy for present con- 
ditions, but one remedy would be, where there 

is a Bible expositor in the pulpit, 
Professor Math- , n *\ t . , . , , 

ews on the to do away with certain features 

of the Sunday school altogether 
for the time being. The infant or primary 
departments might be retained as they are, 
and possibly the Bible classes for older adults, 
but the intermediate classes would do well to 
be gathered together under the instruction 
only of the pastor himself. In time, such a 
plan would beget enough teachers of the right 
quality and spirit to return to the former 
method if desired. The cabinet officer's warn- 
ing and appeal are timely, for an awful har- 
vest of infidelity and its attendant evils must 
be reaped in the next generation should the 
church fail to arise to her responsibility as to 
the teaching of the unadulterated Word of Grod 
in the present one. 

It is for this reason that the writer pleads 
with his brethren to make expository preach- 
ing the staple of their pulpit ministrations. 
Should they have read the previous chapters 
in a sympathetic spirit, they will begin to do 
this without much urging even where they 
have been strangers to it hitherto. But if 
62 



IResults in tbe pulpit 



otherwise, then a further word, before our con- 
cluding chapter, as to the history and prac- 
ticality of that kind of preaching, may throw 
them back on what has been said before in 
such a way as to catch the spirit of it and be 
influenced by it. 

Expository sermons differ from the textual 
not so much in kind as in degree. For exam- 
ple, the text is usually longer, 
Expository r ,' .... . J . & , 

sermons and more attention is given to 

the explanation of the words. 
The text, indeed, may cover several verses, a 
whole chapter, or parts of more than one 
chapter. And the treatment need not neces- 
sarily be confined to the definition of words, 
but include the adjustment of the text to the 
context, and the amplification and illustra- 
tion of the various ideas suggested. 

Dr. James W. Alexander, from whose 
"Thoughts on Preaching" I draw generously 
in what follows, says : 

"Suppose a volume of human science to be 
placed in our hands as the sole manual or text- 
The Notion book to elucidate to a public 
of a Sermon assembly, in what way would it 
be most natural to go to work? Certainly we 



1foow to /iDaster tbe Enslisb 3BibIe 

would not take a sentence here, and another 
there, and upon these separate portions frame 
one or two discourses every week! No inter- 
preter of Aristotle or Littleton would dream 
of doing that. Nor was it adopted in the 
Christian church, until the sermon ceased to 
be regarded in its true notion, as an explana- 
tion of the Scripture, and began to be viewed 
as a rhetorical entertainment, which might 
afford occasion for the display of subtlety, 
research and eloquence." 

The same author recites some interesting 
facts that might be summed up under the 
inspired general head of the history of 

sermons expository preaching. For ex- 

ample, he reminds us that as early as the time 
of Ezra we find the reading of the law accom- 
panied with some kind of interpretation. See 
Nehemiah 8. In the synagogues, moreover, 
after the reading of the law and the prophets, 
it was usual for the presiding officer to invite 
such as were learned to address the people, 
and it was in this way that our blessed Lord 
Himself — as well as His apostles, subse- 
quently — was given the opportunity to open up 
the Scriptures. See our Lord's discourse in the 
synagogue at Nazareth, reported in the fourth 
64 



IResults in tbe pulpit 



of Luke, and observe that it was an expository 
treatment of Isaiah 61. Notice, also, the dis- 
courses of Peter and Paul in the book of the 

Acts. 

The early Christian assemblies adopted this 
method in their religious services, as we may 

■rue Christian 3 ud S e from allusions and exam- 
Fathers pi es i n the writings of Justin 
Martyr, Origen, Augustine and Chrysostom. 
Their homilies, especially in the instances of 
the last mentioned two, were usually of the 
nature of "a close interpretation, or running 
commentary on the text, followed by a prac- 
tical application." Chrysostom, quoted by 
Neander, says: "If any one assiduously attend 
public worship, even without reading the Bible 
at home, but carefully hearkening here, he will 
find a single year sufficient to give him an inti- 
mate acquaintance with the Scriptures." In 
how many of our churches could the same be 
said to-day? But ought it not to be said in 
all? 

Dr. Alexander is further sponsor for the 

statement that it was about the beginning of 

the thirteenth century when the method of 

preaching from insulated texts came into 

65 



t>ow to /toaster tbe TEwQlisb Bible 

vogue, and the younger clergy adopted the 
subtle divisions of the sermon. And he says, 
too, that it was warmly opposed by some of the 
best theologians of the age, as "a childish 
playing upon words, destructive of true elo- 
quence, tedious and unaff ecting to the hearers, 
and cramping the imagination of the preach- 
ers." He is not prepared to entirely accept 
this criticism of the theologians, however, nor 
am I, believing that both the topical and the 
textual methods of preaching have their 
attractions and advantages. Nevertheless, it 
is a pleasure to record that "when the light of 

TheReforma- dhine truth be S an to emer S e 
tion Period from its long eclipse, at the 

Eeformation, there were few things more 
remarkable than the universal return of 
evangelical preachers to the expository method. 
Book after book of the Bible was publicly 
expounded by Luther, and the almost daily 
sermons of Calvin were, with scarcely any 
exceptions, founded on passages taken in 
regular course as he proceeded through the 
sacred canon. The same is true of the other 
reformers, particularly in England and Scot- 
land." In the times of the Nonconformists 
the textual method came into practice again; 
66 



IResults in tbe pulpit 



but, notwithstanding, exposition was consid- 
ered a necessary part of ministerial labor. 
Matthew Henry is a conspicuous example of 
this, who, although he frequently preached 
from single texts, yet "on every Lord's day 
morning expounded a part of the Old Testa- 
ment, and in the evening a part of the New, in 
both instances proceeding in regular order." 

In modern times Charles H. Spurgeon has 
followed the example of Matthew Henry to a 
Modem great extent. He preached topic- 

Examples a iiy ? w ith great interest and 

power, but at almost every service the exposi- 
tion of Scripture was made a- distinctive, and 
always popular, feature of the exercises. The 
late Dr. Howard Crosby was heard to say that, 
in the course of his pastorate in New York, he 
had thus given instruction to his people on 
every verse in the Bible. The writer, also, 
can add his testimony to the fact that this 
method of preaching is delightful both to pas- 
tor and people. Both need training for it, but 
when once the taste has been acquired it de- 
mands constant gratification. 

Let me now supplement these observations 
on the nature and history of expository preach- 
67 



1bow to /IDaster tbe Englisb Bible 

ing with some remarks upon its practicality 

and value. 

In the first place, when the art is learned, it 

is the easiest form of preaching; and this is 

saying a good deal in an era of 
The Easy Way J & & . ^ 

the conservation 01 energy. The 

other day my attention was called to an an- 
nouncement of a series of Sunday evening dis- 
courses by a city pastor, on "The Gospel in 
Eecent Fiction," in the course of which he 
proposed to speak of the spiritual and ethical 
teaching of some half-dozen of the popular 
novels of the day. I could not but think if he 
had put the same time and interest into the 
reading and analysis of as many books of the 
Bible, he would have worked less and accom- 
plished more. It might be said he would not 
get as many people to hear him, but I doubt 
the truth of that statement, if it were known 
what he was going to do, and if he did it well. 
Moreover, there is another side to the ques- 
tion. The Watchman says: "Time and again 
we have seen Sunday congregations increased 
greatly under the stimulus of what is called 
1 up-to-date' preaching, but the church as a 
spiritual body, effective for achieving the true 
ends of a church, became progressively weaker. 
68 



IResults In tbe JMilpft 



The outsiders said that it was doing a tre- 
mendous work, but really it was not doing any- 
thing like the work it did in the days of its 
comparative obscurity." 

At the risk of enlarging upon this idea 
beyond its due proportion, it is difficult to 
resist the temptation to quote a further para- 
graph from the Interior, to the effect that 
"nothing is of less value to the church than a 
full house — except an empty one. We hap- 
pened the other morning," says the editor, 
" — it was Monday — to meet the treasurer of an 
important city church whose doors had been 
crowded the night before. We congratulated 
him upon the success of his pastor in * filling 
the pews.' 'Yes,' was the hesitating reply, 
'he has filled the pews, and filled the vestibule, 
and filled the pulpit steps — but he has emptied 
the collection baskets. We have the biggest 
audience in the city, and will soon have the 
biggest debt. ' In another 'city two thousand 
miles distant, and in another denomination, 
we came upon a church from whose doors hun- 
dreds were nightly turned away. Three years 
later we asked the principal layman how the 
church was doing now, and he replied, with a 
tinge of sadness, 'We had a grand debauch 



1foow to /IDaster tbe TErxQlisb 3Bible 

under Brother X., and we haven't quite recov- 
ered from it yet. ' ' ' 

It is not only the easiest but the most appro- 
priate form of preaching, i.e., it assumes and 
The Proper compels on the part of the 
Wa, y preacher a large knowledge of the 

Word of God and aptness in imparting it. As 
was remarked in part, before, in another con- 
nection, where no extended exposition is 
attempted the preacher is naturally induced to 
draw upon systematic treatises, philosophical 
theories, works of mere literature, or his own 
ingenuity of invention and fertility of imagina- 
tion; with the result that the rhetorical aspect 
of preaching attracts undue attention, and the 
desire to be original, striking, ingenious and 
elegant supersedes the earnest endeavor to be 
biblical. There are few ministers, honest 
with their own souls, who will not admit the 
truth and the seriousness of this implication. 
Here, too, is how heresy comes to raise its head 
and grow apace. The biblical preacher is 
always orthodox and evangelical, and has no 
trouble in remaining so. 

And this is the same with his congregation, 
for here we have a rule that works both ways. 
70 



IResults in tbe pulpit 



A biblical preacher comes, in time, to make a 
biblical church, and should that not be the aim 
of every minister? Should not his example be 
that of Paul, "teaching every man in all wis- 
dom, that he may present every man perfect in 
Christ Jesus"? The truth, however, is, as the 
authority quoted above says, that "the scrip- 
tural knowledge possessed by our ordinary 
congregations, amidst all our boasted light 
and improvement, bears no comparison with 
that of the Scottish peasantry of the last genera- 
tion, who, from very infancy, were taught to 
follow the preacher, in their little Bibles, as 
he expounded in regular course. ' ' Why hear 
we so much in these days of Bible Training 
Schools and Bible Conventions, and Union 
Bible Classes and the like? They are good 
signs of the times, and bad signs. They 
demonstrate a hunger on the part of some of 
the people of God for His Word, and an 
inability to have it satisfied in the place where 
they naturally belong. Every church should 
be more or less truly a Bible Training School, 
and the pastor the head of it. 

It is the most useful form of preaching. 
Dr. Alexander has some excellent observa- 
71 



1foow to /toaster tbe Englteb Bible 

tions that fit in under this head, every one of 
which I have experienced to be true in my own 
ministry, and earnestly recommend to the 
prayerful consideration of my brethren. 

For example, expository preaching affords 
inducement and occasion to the preacher to 
The Useful declare the whole counsel of God. 
Wa, y It keeps him from neglecting 

many important doctrines and duties which 
otherwise would almost necessarily be over- 
looked. It gives a symmetry and completeness 
to his pulpit efforts. It promotes variety and 
enables him to escape ruts. To how many 
people are such biblical truths as predestina- 
tion and election unwelcome! Yet, how im- 
portant they are, how necessary to be discussed 
and explained by the minister of the Gospel, 
and how likely to be avoided nevertheless! 
But let him be expounding Eomans, and he 
must deal with those difficulties, and glorify 
God in the doing of it. I say glorify God ; for 
the reason that those doctrines, and some 
others, are abhorrent to the popular mind, is 
chiefly that they are usually set forth in 
their "naked theological form," and not in 
their scriptural connection. 

And then, too, there are certain sins which 
72 



IResults in tbe pulpit 



every pastor feels he ought to inveigh against 
once in a while, but from which he is pre- 
vented either from delicacy, or through fear 
of being considered personal in his remarks. 
Let him adopt the expository method of 
preaching, however, and his hesitation in these 
respects will be removed as he comes across 
the very themes that should thus be touched 
upon, in a natural way. 

It may become the most popular form of 
preaching. Indeed, it should become so. 

The Popular Tlie fault is ours > i ' e "> tlie mmis " 
Wa, y ters', if such is not the case. 

We should keep at it till we learn to do it well. 
We should besiege the throne of grace for 
power and wisdom to do it well. Who doubts 
that the Author of the Holy Scriptures would 
answer such entreaties? Chalmers' lectures on 
Romans, Archbishop Leighton's lectures on 
First Peter, F. W. Eobertson's on First Corin- 
thians, are old, but standard types of what 
may be done in this respect. I doubt not that 
Archbishop Trench delivered the substance of 
his book on the "Epistles to the Seven 
Churches" to his congregation before it ap- 
peared in print ; and so in the case of Bishop 



t>ow to flDaster tbe Bnolisb 33ible 

Eyle and his "Expository Thoughts on the 
Gospels," and Dr. Moule and his "Studies in 
Philippians. " I, myself, have seen large 
congregations held from week to week in city 
churches, where the chief attraction was the 
exposition of the Bible text. God wrote the 
Bible for the "common people," and it is 
irreverent to suppose that they cannot be inter- 
ested in the reading and explanation of it. 
There is no other book in the world which 
sells like God's Book; it leads the market! 
How short-sighted, then, are we ministers who 
fail to take advantage of the fact, and utilize 
it to draw our audiences, and interest them, 
and nourish them with the bread of life !* 

* A part of what the author has here written on 
the subject of expository preaching formed the 
substance of a previous communication from his 
pen in "Current Anecdotes," a monthly magazine 
for ministers, F. M. Barton, Cleveland. 



74 



CDrpostton? Qutlints 



75 



Expositors ©uttines 



PART V 

EXPOSITORY OUTLINES 

Our concluding chapter has been reserved 
for one or two "sample" expository outlines 
that may prove helpful as suggestions to inex- 
perienced beginners. The first is drawn from 
the author's own store, and the second is that 
of Pastor F. E. Marsh, of Sunderland, Eng- 
land, which has come under the author's 
observation and affords a good illustration of 
another variety of the species. 

The principle on which the first-named was 
obtained was that explained in the previous 

_ chapters. The synthetic reading 

How Obtained ^L J , ,. & 

oi Romans led to certain dis- 
coveries, as follows: (1) That epistle contains 
a single theme, viz., the gift of God's right- 
eousness to men. (2) This theme is developed 
along three main lines: its necessity, its na- 
ture, and its effect upon man. (3) Its effect 
upon man is developed again along three lines : 
his relations to God, his own experience, and 
his relations to others. (4) The last-named 
subdivision (his relations to others) covers 
77 

LofC. 



Ibow to /iDaster tbe Enslisb Bible 

chapters 12-16, and expands the idea socially, 
politically, and ecclesiastically. 

Some time before this final thought was 
arrived at, the consideration of the epistle had 
The strong and already yielded material for sev- 
the Weak era i expository discourses, but it 

was conceived that still a good one of a very 
practical order lay imbedded, say, in chapters 
13 : 8 to 15 : 7, where the inspired writer is deal- 
ing with the Christian in his church or ecclesi- 
astical relations. A sample better in some 
respects might readily be given, but this is 
chosen because it lies at hand, and also because 
it is not a "stock" piece gotten up for the 
occasion, but such an one as lies upon the sur- 
face of the text, and which any young beginner 
might evolve on his own account with a little 
pains. 

The theme decided on was this : 

The Strong and the Weak, or the Christian's 
Debt to His Brother. Eomans 13:8 to 15 : 7. 

1. We have here the command for Christians 
to love one another. 13:8-10. 

2. The urgency for its observance. 11-14. 

3. The particular call for its application 
(fellowshiping the weak) . 14:1. 

4. The description of the weak (conscientious 

78 



Expository Outlines 



scruples as to eating, and the observance of 
days). 14:2,5. 

5. The way in which fellowship is to be 
shown: (a) by not judging them, 3-12; (b) by 
not putting a stumbling-block in their way, 
13-19; (c) by edifying them, 20-23. 

6. The motive in the premises (the example 
of Christ). 15:1-4. 

7. The object in view (the glory of God). 
5-7. 

In developing division 5 it was shown (a) 
that we should not judge the weak brother, for 
the following reasons : 

(1) God has received him. Verse 3, 

(2) He is accountable to God only. Verse 
4, first part. 

(3) God can make him stand. Verse 4, last 
part. 

(4) Each man must be fully persuaded in his 
own mind. Verse 5. 

(5) The weak brother may be honoring and 
serving God even under the conditions named. 
Verse 6. 

(6) Each one of us must give account of 
himself to God. Verses 10-12. 

It was shown (b) that we put a stumbling- 
block in the way of our weak brother by an 
79 



Ifoovv to /IDaster tbe Englisb 3Btble 

undue insistence on our liberty (verses 14, 15), 
and that such insistence may itself become sin. 
16-18. 

Finally it was shown (c) that we edify one 
another by following after things which make 
for peace (verse 19), and that it makes for 
peace sometimes to control our zeal. Verse 22. 

Of course it is almost vital to the be3t results 
of expository preaching that the people bring 

Some Practical their Bibles to churcn > and use 
Hints them more or less in following 

their minister. Frequently it is desirable for 
them to read the text aloud with him re- 
sponsively, or in unison. A little gentle coax- 
ing at first, preceded by private prayer, will get 
them to do both these things, bring their 
Bibles and read the text, while afterwards 
they will delight to do them. It will cause 
church-going and sermon-hearing to become a 
new and living experience to them. Young 
and old will like it, and sinners as well as 
saints. 

But another almost necessity is to select a 

subject and treat it in such a way as to obviate 

as far as possible the turning over of the leaves 

or pages of the Bible during the progress of 

80 



Expositors Outlines 



the exposition. The best plan is to limit the 
exposition, where you can, to the page or two 
just before the reader's eye. But if turning 
must be done, let it be on the principle of 
Edward Everett Hale's "Ten Times Ten" or 
"Lend-a-Hand" Society, i.e„, forward and not 
backward. It is especially confusing and 
wearisome to a congregation to be turning 
pages backward, and then forward, and then 
backward again, and will not be relished as an 
innovation. Eow with the tide. 

In the outline now to follow there are leaves 
to turn, for it covers a whole epistle. And yet 
with a single (and perhaps unnecessary) excep- 
tion, there is progress in each division. The 
hearers are stimulated by the thought of get- 
ting on, and that there is an end in sight. It 
might be styled; 

The Character of the New Born. 

What kind of persons are those who are born 
again? We have only to turn to the first 
epistle of John for the answer. Mark the 
words "born of him," or "born of God," 
which we have again and again in the epistle. 
We get seven characteristics of those who are 
begotten of God: 

1. The people who are born of God are 
81 



1bow to /Ifoaster tbe Enalfsb Bible 

righteous. "Every one that doeth righteous- 
ness is born of him" (2:29). If I am not 
doing righteously, what evidence have I that I 
am born of Him? 

2. Those born of God are an unsinning peo- 
ple. "Whosoever is born of God doth not com- 
mit sin" (2 : 9). Sin is not the habit of life of 
the one who has been born again. The trend 
of his life is not in the old paths of sin. 

3. Those who are born of God are an abiding 
people. "His seed abideth in him, and he 
cannot sin, because he is born of God" (3: 9). 

4. Those who are born of God are a loving 
people. "Every one that loveth ia born of 
God" (4: 7). 

5. They are a believing people. "He that 
believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of 
God' '(5:1). It is not merely that they say 
that Christ is Christ, but they know Him 
experimentally as the Christ in power. 

6. Those who are born of God are an over- 
coming people. "Whatsoever is born of God 
overcometh the world" (5: 4). The evidence, 
therefore, of being born of God is victory over 
the world. 

7. Those born of God are a preserved 
people. "Whosoever is born of God sinneth 

82 



Expository Outlines 



not, but he that was begotten of God keepeth 
him" (5:18, K. V.). 

Those who have been born of God are kept 
by the power of God. These are the people 
who constitute the church of God, and they 
answer to everything that is said of those who 
are found faithful, and who escape the things 
that are coming on the world. 

The author lingers over the closing word, 
for he is enamored of the theme and loath to 
leave it. Iso typewriting machine has ground 
out these pages for the press; the subject has 
been too sacred for other than his own pen. 
He covets the love of it for every fellow-mem- 
ber of the body of Christ. He sees the re- 
generation of the church in the general 
adoption of the plan. He sees the sanctifica- 
tion of the ministry. He sees a mighty 
quickening in the pews. He sees the world- 
wide revival for which a thousand hearts are 
praying. He sees the unmasking of a 
Christianized rationalism, and the utter rout 
of a rationalized Christianism. He sees the 
first thing in the world getting the first place 
in the world. He sees the solution of a score 
of civic problems. He sees the protection of 
83 



1bow to /IDaster tbe JBriQlish 3Bibie 

vested rights against lawlessness, and the 
laborer receiving the due reward of his hire. 
He sees the oppressed set free; no longer 

"Condemned by night, enchained by day, 
Drowned in the depths of grim despair ; 
While running brooks sing roundelay, 
And God's green fields are ev'ry where." 

He sees the missionary treasuries repleted. 
He sees the hastening of the day when this 
Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached as a 
witness to all nations, 1 and when He who is 
our life shall appear, and we also shall appear 
together with Him in glory. 2 

brethren of the ministry and the laity, 
get back to the Bible! Let the word of 
Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom. 3 
Let us preach the preaching that God bids us.* 
Diminish not a word. 5 Let us be as His 
mouthpieces, nothing more, nothing less, tak- 
ing forth the precious from the vile, 6 for who 
knoweth if He will return and repent, and 
leave a blessing behind Him? 7 

^att. 24:14. 5 Jer. 26:2. 

2 Col. 3-4. 6 Jer. 15:19. 

3 Col. 3:16. 7 Joel2:14. 
4 Jonah3;2. 

84 



OTHER WORKS BT Tilt 5M AUTHOR 



Synthetic Bible Studies $1.50 

An outline study of every book of the 
Bible on the plan herein defined. The 
Baltimore Methodist says it "cannot be 
measured by money value." 

Oneness with Christ 1.60 

"The best exposition of Colossians in 
the English language." — Watchword and 
Truth. This work is edited by Dr. Gray 
from the notes of the late Bishop W. R. 
Nicholson, D.D. 

Bulwarks of the Faith 75 

A concise and popular treatise on the 
authenticity, truth and inspiration of the 
Scriptures, with questions for normal 
classes at the close of each chapter. Fif- 
teen hundred copies of this work were 
recently purchased by one denomina- 
tion for free distribution to its min- 
istry. 

History of the Holy Dead 15 

A brief exposition of the teaching of 
Scripture concerning the different condi- 
tions of God's people in the life beyond, 
from the earliest to the eternal age. 

Evil of Christian Science 10 

The distinction is shown between Chris- 
tian Science and Divine Healing, and the 
peril from the former pointed out from 
the Bible point of view. 

THE WINONA PUBLISHING COMPANY, CHICAGO. 



SEP 3 1904 



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