HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
FOR GREATEST PROFIT
By the same Author
What the Bible Teaches. Demy
8w, 7/. 6J.
How to Work for Christ. Demy
8w, y/. 6J.
Hoiv to Bring Men to Christ.
Croivn 8i>o, cloth, price It. 6d. ;
fafer covers, 6J. net.
"All Christian workers should get it."
Ho<w to Pray. Cretan Svo t
It. 6d. ; fafer covers, 6J. net.
How to Study the Bible for
Greatest Proft. The methods and
fundamental conditions of the Bible
study that yield the largest results.
Crown 8vo, is. 6J.
How to Obtain Fulness of Power.
Croivn %vo, is. 6d.
"Invaluable to earnest seekers after
fruitfulness." THE CHRISTIAN.
The Baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Crotvn %vo, Is.
''Should be studied by all who aspire
to the highest attainments in personal
religion, or -who desire to achieve the best
results tn Christian work." THE CHRIS-
Vest Pocket Companion for
Christian Workers. 32070, neatly
bound in leather, is.
"A capital little book for workers."
The Divine Origin of the Bible.
Crown %vo, is. 6d.
JAMES NISBET & CO., LIMITED
at BERNERS STREET
HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
FOR GREATEST PROFIT
THE METHODS AND FUNDAMENTAL CONDITIONS
OF THE BIBLE STUDY THAT YIELD
THE LARGEST RESULTS.
R. A. TORREY
Author of "How to Bring Men to Christ," "Baptism With the Holy
JAMES NISBET & CO., LIMITED
az BERNERS STREET
This book has been written for two reasons:
first, because it seemed to be needed; second,
to save the writer time and labor. Letters are
constantly coming in from all quarters asking
how to study the Bible. It is impossible to
refuse to answer a question so important as that,
but it takes much time to answer it at all as it
should be answered. This book is written as
an answer to those who have asked the question,
and to those who may wish to ask it. Nothing
is more important for our own mental, moral
and spiritual development, or for our increase in
usefulness, than Bible study. But not all Bible
study is equally profitable. Some Bible study is
absolutely profitless. " How to study the Bible
so as to get the largest profit from it," is a ques-
tion of immeasurable importance. The answer
to the question, found in this book, has been for
the most part given in addresses by the author,
at the Chicago Bible Institute, before the sum-
mer gatherings of college students, at minis-
terial conferences and Y. M. C. A. conventions.
Many, especially ministers, who have heard
these addresses have asked that they might be
put in a permanent shape. I have promised for
two years to comply with this request, but have
never found time to do so until now.
METHODS OF PROFITABLE BIBLE STUDY.
Introductory to Methods of Bible Study n
Study of Individual Books - 14
Topical Study - - 57
Biographical Study 79
Study of Types 82
Study of the Books of the Bible in the Order Given
in the Bible and in Their Chronological Order 85
The Study of the Bible for Practical Usefulness in
Dealing With Men . . . 88
Fundamental Conditions of the Most Profitable Bible
Final Suggestions 116
THE METHODS OF THE MOST PROF-
ITABLE BIBLE STUDY.
HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE.
INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER TO METHODS OF BIBLE
We shall consider the most profitable Methods
of Bible Study before we consider the Funda-
mental Conditions of Profitable Bible study. Many
readers of this book will probably be frightened,
at first, at the seeming elaborateness and difficulty
of some of the methods of study suggested. But
they are not as difficult as they appear. Their
practicability and fruitfulness have been tested in
the class-room, and that not with classes made up
altogether of college graduates, but largely com-
posed of persons of very moderate education; in
some cases of almost no education. They do re-
quire time and hard work. It must be remem-
bered, however, that the Bible contains gold, and
almost any one is willing to dig for gold, es-
pecially if it is certain that he will find it. It is
certain that one will find gold in the Bible, if he
12 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
digs. As one uses the methods here recom-
mended, he will find his ability to do the work
rapidly increasing by exercise, until he can soon
do more in fifteen minutes than at the outset he
could do in an hour.
The first method of study suggested will be
found to be an exceptionally good mental train-
ing. When one has pursued this method of study
for a time, his powers of observation will have
been so quickened, that he will see at a glance
what, at first, he only saw upon much study and
reflection. This method of study will also train
the logical powers, cultivating habits of order, sys-
tem and classification in one's intellectual pro-
cesses. The power of clear, concise and strong
expression will also be developed. No other
book affords the opportunity for intellectual de-
velopment by its study, that is to be found in the
Bible. No other book, and no other subject, will
so abundantly repay close and deep study. The
Bible is much read, but comparatively little
studied. It will probably be noticed by some
that the first method of study suggested is practi-
cally the method now pursued in the study of na-
ture; first, careful analysis and ascertainment of
facts; second, classification of facts. But the
facts of revelation far transcend those of nature
in sublimity, suggestiveness, helpfulness and prac-
tical utility. They are also far more accessible.
INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER 13
We cannot all be profound students of nature;
we can all be profound students of Scripture.
Many an otherwise illiterate person has a marvel-
ous grasp of Bible truth. It was acquired by
study. There are persons who have studied little
else, who have studied the Scriptures, by the
hour, daily, and their consequent wisdom is the
astonishment and sometimes the dismay of schol-
ars and theologians.
CHAPTER 1 1 .
THE STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS.
The first method of Bible study that we shall
consider is the study of the Bible by individual
books. This method of study is the most thor-
ough, the most difficult, and the one that yields
the largest and most permanent results. We
take it up first because in the author's opinion it
should occupy the greater portion of our time.
I. The first work to do, is to select the book
to study. This is a very important matter. If
one makes an unfortunate selection he may be-
come discouraged and give up a method of study
that might have been most fruitful.
A few points will be helpful to the beginner:
I . For your first book-study, choose a short
book. The choice of a long book to begin with,
will lead to discouragement in any one but a
person of rare perseverance. It will be so long
before the final results, which far more than pay
for all the labor expended, are reached, that the
ordinary student will give it up.
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS I 5
2. Choose a comparatively easy book. Some
books of the Bible present grave difficulties not
to be found in other books. One will wish to
meet and overcome these later, but it is not the
work for a beginner to set for himself. When
his powers have become trained by reason of
use, then he can do this successfully and satisfac-
torily, but, if he attempts it, as so many rashly
do, at the outset, he will soon find himself
floundering. The First Epistle of Peter is an ex-
ceedingly precious book, but a few of the most
difficult passages in the Bible are in it. If it
were riot for these difficult passages, it would be
a good book to recommend to the beginner, but
in view of these difficulties it is not wise to
undertake to make it a subject of exhaustive
study until later.
3. Choose a book that is rich enough in its
teaching to illustrate the advantages of this
method of study and thus give a keen appetite
for further studies of the same kind. When one
has gone through one reasonably large and full
book by the method of study about to be de-
scribed, he will have an eagerness for it, that will
make it sure that he will somehow find time for
further studies of the same sort.
A book that meets all the conditions stated is
the First Epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians.
It is quite short, it has no great difficulties of
1 6 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
interpretation, meaning or doctrine, and it is
exceedingly rich in its teaching. It has the fur-
ther advantage of being the first in point of time
of the Pauline Epistles. The First Epistle of
John is not in most respects a difficult book, and
it is one of the richest books in the Bible.
II. The second work to do, is to master the
general contents of the book. The method of
doing this is very simple. It consists in merely
reading the book through .without stopping and
then reading it through again, and then again,
say a dozen times in all, at a single sitting. To
one who has never tried it, it does not seem as
if that would amount to much, but any thought-
ful man who has ever -tried it will tell you quite
differently. It is simply wonderful how a book
takes on new meaning and beauty upon this sort
of an acquaintance. It begins to open up. New
relations between different parts of the book be-
gin to disclose themselves. Fascinating lines of
thought running through the book appear. The
book is grasped as a whole, and the relation of
the various parts to one another apprehended,
and a foundation laid for an intelligent study of
those parts in detail. Rev. James M. Gray of
Boston, a great lover of the Bible and prominent
teacher of it, says that for many years of his
ministry he had " an inadequate and unsatisfac-
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS I/
tory knowledge of the English Bible." " The
first practical idea which he received in the study
of the English Bible was from a layman. The
brother possessed an unusual serenity and joy in
his Christian experience, which he attributed to
his reading of the Epistle to the Ephesians. Mr.
Gray asked him how he had read it, and he said
he had taken a pocket copy of the Epistle into
the woods one Sunday afternoon, and read it
through at a single sitting, repeating the process
as many as a dozen times before stopping, and
when he arose he had gotten possession of the
Epistle, or rather its wondrous truths had gotten
possession of him. This was the secret, simple
as it was, for which Mr. Gray had been waiting
and praying." From this time on Mr. Gray
studied his Bible through in this way, and it be-
came to him a new book.
Ill . The third work is to prepare an intro-
duction to the Book. Write down at the top of
separate sheets of paper or cards the following
questions: (i) Who wrote this book ? (2)
To whom did he write ? (3) Where did he
write it ? (4) When did he write it ? (5)
What was the occasion of his writing? (6)
What was the purpose for which he wrote ? (7)
What were the circumstances of the author when
he wrote ? (8) What were the circumstances
1 8 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
of those to whom he wrote ? (9) What
glimpses does the book give into the life and
character of the author ? (10) What are the
leading ideas of the book ? (i i) What is the
central truth of the book? (12) What are
the characteristics of the book ?
Having prepared your sheets of paper with
these questions at the head, lay them side by
side on your study table before you, and go
through the book slowly, and, as you come to an
answer to any one of these questions, write it
down on the appropriate sheet of paper. It may
be necessary to go through the book several
times to do the work thoroughly and satisfacto-
rily, but you will be amply repaid. When you
have finished your own work in this line, and not
until then, it will be well, if possible, to com-
pare your results with those reached by others.
A book that will serve as a good illustration of
this introductory work is " The New Testament
and Its Writers," Rev. J. A. McClymont.
The introduction one prepares for himself will
be worth many times more to him than any that
he can procure from others. The work itself is
a rare education of the faculties of perception,
comparison and reasoning.
The answers to our questions will sometimes
be found in some related book. For example,
if we are studying one of the Pauline Epistles, the
answer to our questions may be found in the Acts
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS 19
of the Apostles, or in the Epistle written to the
place from which the one studied was written. Of
course, all the questions given will not apply to
every book in the Bible.
If one is not willing to give the time and labor
necessary, this introductory work can be omitted,
but only at a great sacrifice. Single passages in
an epistle can never be correctly understood un-
less we know to whom they were written. Much
false interpretation of the Bible arises from tak-
ing some direction manifestly intended for local
application to be of universal authority. So,
also, oftentimes false interpretation arises from ap-
plying to the unbeliever what was intended for the
saint. Noting the occasion of writing, will clear
up the meaning of a passage that would be other-
wise obscure. Bearing in mind the circumstances
of the author when he wrote, will frequently give
new force to his words. When we remember
that the jubilant epistle to the Philippians, with
its oft-repeated "rejoice in the Lord" and its
" in nothing be anxious; but in everything by
prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let
your requests be made known unto God. And the
peace of God, which passeth all understanding,
shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in
Christ Jesus," was written by a prisoner awaiting
possible sentence of death, how much more
meaningful it becomes. Bearing in mind the
2O HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
main purpose for which a book was written, will
help to interpret its incidental exhortations in their
proper relations. In fact, the answers to all the
questions will be valuable in all the work that
follows, as well as valuable in themselves.
I V. The fourth work is to divide the book into
its proper sections. This work is not indispensable,
but still it is valuable. Go through the book and
notice the principal divisions in the thought, and
mark these. Then go through these divisions
and find if there are any natural subdivisions and
mark these. In this work of dividing the epistle,
the Revised Version, which is not chopped up
by a purely mechanical and irrational verse divis-
ion, but divided according to a logical plan, will
be of great help. Having discovered the divis-
ions of the book, proceed to give to each section
an appropriate caption. Make this caption as
precise a statement of the general contents of the
section as possible. Make it also as terse and
striking as possible, so that it will fix itself in the
mind. As far as possible let the captions of the
subdivisions connect themselves with the general
caption of the division. Do not attempt too elabo-
rate a division at first. The following division of
1st Peter, without many marked subdivisions, will
serve as a simple illustration of what is meant:
I. Chap, i: i, 2. Introduction and saluta-
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS 21
tion to the pilgrims and sojourners in Pontus,
2. Chap, i: 3-12. The Inheritance reserved
in heaven and the Salvation ready to be revealed
for those pilgrims who in the midst of manifold
temptations are kept by the power of God
3. Chap, i: 13-25. The pilgrim's conduct
during the days of his pilgrimage.
4. Chap, ii: i-io. The high calling, posi-
tion and destiny of the pilgrim people.
5. Chap, ii: n, 12. The pilgrim's conduct
during the days of his pilgrimage.
6. Chap, ii: 13-17. The pilgrim's duty to-
ward the human governments under which he
7. Chap, ii: i8:-iii: 7. The duty of various
classes of pilgrims.
a. Chap, ii: 18-25. The duty of servants to-
ward their masters enforced by an appeal to
Christ's conduct under injustice and reviling.
b. Chap, iii: 1-6. The duty of wives toward
c. Chap, iii: 7. The duty of husbands to-
ward their wives.
8. Chap, iii: 8-12. The conduct of pilgrims
toward one another.
9. Chap, iii: 13-22. The pilgrim suffering for
22 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
10. Chap, iv: 1-6. The pilgrim's separation
from the practices of those among whom he
spends the days of his pilgrimage.
11. Chap, iv: 7-11. The pilgrim's sojourning
drawing to a close and his conduct during the
12. Chap, iv: 12-19. The pilgrim suffering for
and with Christ.
13. Chap, v: 1-4. The duty and reward of
14. Chap, v: 5-11. The pilgrim's walk hum-
ble and trustful, watchful and steadfast and a
15. Chap, v: 12-14. Conclusion and benedic-
V. The fifth work is to take up each verse in
order and study it.
i. The first thing to be done in this verse by
verse study of the book is to get the exact mean-
ing of the verse. How is this to be done ? There
are three steps that lead into the meaning of a
a. The first step is to get the exact meaning
of the words used. There will be found two
classes of words: those whose meaning is per-
fectly apparent, those whose meaning is doubtful.
It is quite possible to find the precise meaning of
these doubtful words. This is not done by con-
sulting a dictionary. That is an easy but danger-
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS 23
ous method of finding the scriptural significance
of a word. The only safe and sure method is to
study the usage of the word in the Bible itself,
and especially in that particular Bible-writer, one
of whose writings we are studying. To study the
Bible usage of words one must have a Con-
cordance. Altogether, the best Concordance is
Strong's " Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible."
The next best, Young's ' 'Analytical Concordance. "
Cruden's Complete Concordance will do, if one
cannot afford a better. But the student should,
as soon as possible, procure Strong's " Ex-
haustive Concordance." All the passages in
which the word, whose meaning is being sought,
occurs should be found and examined, and in this
way the precise meaning of the word will be deter-
mined. Many an important Bible doctrine turns
upon the meaning of a word. Thus, for ex-
ample, two schools of theology divide on the
meaning of the word "justify." The critical
question is, does the word " justify " mean " to
make righteous," or does it mean " to count or
declare righteous "? The correct interpretation
of many passages of Scripture turns upon the
sense which we give to this word. Let one look
up all the passages in the Bible in which the
word is found, and there will be no doubt as to
the Bible usage and meaning of the word. Deut.
xxv: i; Ex. xxiii: 7; Is. v: 23; Luke xvi: 15;
24 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
Rom. ii: 13; iii: 23, 24; Luke xviii: 14; Rom.
iv: 2-8, R. V., will serve to illustrate the Biblical
usage. By the use of Strong's Concordance, or
Young's, the student will see that the same word
may be used in the English version as the trans-
lation of several Greek or Hebrew words. Of
course, in determining the Biblical usage, we
should give especial weight to those passages in
which the English word examined is the trans-
lation of the same word in Greek or Hebrew.
Either of the Concordances just mentioned will
enable us to do this, even though we are not at
all acquainted with Greek or Hebrew. It will
be much easier to do it with Strong's Concord-
ance than Young's. It is surprising how many
knotty problems in the interpretation of scripture
are solved by the simple examination of the Bib-
lical usage of words. For example, one of the
burning questions of to-day is the meaning of
I Jno. i: 7. Does this verse teach that " the
blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us " from all
the guilt of sin; or does it teach us that " the
blood of Jesus Christ " cleanseth us from the very
presence of sin, so that by the blood of Christ,
indwelling sin is itself eradicated ? Many of
those who read this question will answer it off-
hand at once, one way or the other. But the
off-hand way of answering questions of this kind,
is a very bad way. Take your concordance and
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS 2$
look up every passage in the Bible in which the
word " cleanse " is used in connection with
blood, and the question will be answered con-
clusively and forever. Never conclude that you
have the right meaning of a verse until you have
carefully determined the meaning of all doubtful
words in it by an examination of Bible usage.
Even when you are pretty sure you know the
meaning of the words, it is well not to be too
sure until you have looked it up.
b. The second step in ascertaining the mean-
ing of a verse is to carefully notice the context
(what goes before and what comes after). Many
verses, if they stood alone, might be capable of
several interpretations, but when what goes be-
fore and what comes after is considered, all the
interpretations but one are seen to be impossible.
Take for example Jno. xiv: 18, "I will not leave
you desolate: I come unto you." (R. V.) To
what does Jesus refer when He says " I come
unto you" ? One commentator says, He refers
to His reappearance to His disciples after His res-
urrection to comfort them. Another says that He
refers to His second coming, as it is called.
Another says He refers to His coming through the
Holy Spirit's work to manifest Himself to His
disciples and make His abode with them. Which
does He mean ? When " doctors disagree," can
an ordinary layman decide ? Yes, very often.
26 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
Surely in this case. If any one will carefully
note what Jesus is talking about in the verses
immediately preceding (verses 15-17) and in the
verses immediately following (verses 19-26), he
will have no doubt as to what coming Jesus re-
fers to in this passage. You can see this by try-
ing it for yourself.
A very large proportion of the vexed questions
of Biblical interpretation, can be settled by this
very simple method of noticing what goes before
and what comes after. Many of the sermons one
hears, become very absurd when one takes the
trouble to notice the setting of the preacher's
text and how utterly foreign the thought of the
sermon is to the thought of the text, regarded in
the light of the context.
c. The third step in ascertaining the correct
and precise meaning of a verse, is the examina-
tion of parallel passages, /. <?., passages that
treat the same subject passages, for example,
that give another account of the same address or
event, or passages that are evidently intended as
a commentary on the passage in hand. Very
often, after having carefully studied the words
used and the context, we will still be in doubt as
to which of two or three possible interpretations
of a verse is the one intended by the writer or
speaker. In such a case there is always some-
where else in the Bible a passage that will settle
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS 2/
this question. Take for example, Jno. xiv: 3,
" I come again and will receive you unto myself;
that where I am, there ye may be also." (R.V.)
A careful consideration of the words used in their
relation to one another, will go far in determin-
ing the meaning of this passage, but still we find
among commentators whose opinion ought to
have some weight, these four interpretations:
First, the coming here referred to is Christ's
coming at death to receive the believer unto
himself, as in the case of Stephen. Second, the
coming again at the resurrection. Third, the
coming again through the Holy Spirit. Fourth,
the coming again of Christ when He returns per-
sonally and gloriously at the end of the age.
Which of these four interpretations is the cor-
rect one ? What has already been said about
verse 1 8 might seem to settle the question, but it
does not; for it is not at all clear that the coming
in verse 3 is the same as in verse 18, for what is
said in connection with the two comings is al-
together different. In the one case it is a com-
ing of Christ to " receive you unto myself, that
where I am, there ye may be also "; in the other
case it is a coming of Christ to manifest Himself
unto us and make His abode with us. But for-
tunately there is averse that settles the question,
an inspired commentary on the Words of Jesus.
This is found in I Thess. iv: 16, 17. This will
be seen clearly if we arrange the two passages in
Jno. xiv: 3.
I come again The Lord himself sha11
and will receive you unto
that where I am there ye
may be also.
/ Thess. iv: 16,
we ... shall be caught up
... to meet the Lord
so shall we ever be with the
The two passages manifestly match exactly in
the three facts stated, and beyond a doubt refer
to the same event. But if any one will look at
all closely at I Thess., iv: 16, 17, there can be
no doubt as to what coming of our Lord is re-
ferred to there. " The Treasury of Scripture
Knowledge " will be of great assistance in find-
ing parallel passages. These are the three steps
that lead us into the meaning of a verse. They
require work, but it is work that any one can do,
and when the meaning of a verse is thus settled
we arrive at conclusions that are correct and
fixed. After taking these steps it is well to con-
sult commentaries, and see how our conclusions
agree with those of others. Before we proceed
to the next thing to be done with a verse after its
meaning has been determined, let it be said, that
God intended to convey some definite truth in
each verse of scripture, and any one of from two
to a dozen interpretations of a verse is not as
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS 29
good as another. With every verse of scripture
we should ask, not What can this be made to
teach? but What was this intended to teach? and
we should not rest satisfied until we have settled
that. Of course, it is admitted a verse may
have a primary meaning and other more remote
meanings. For example, a prophecy may have
its primary fulfilment in some personage or event
near at hand, e. g. , Solomon, and a more remote
and complete fulfilment in Christ.
2. We are not through with a verse when we
have determined its meaning. The next thing
to do is to analyze the verse. This is most inter-
esting and profitable work. It is also a rare
education of the various faculties of the intellect.
The way to do it is this: Look steadfastly at the
verse and ask yourself, What does this verse
teach? and then begin to write down: This verse
teaches, ist, ; 2d, ; 3d, , etc. At
the first glance very likely you will see but one
or two things the verse teaches, but, as you look
again and again, the teachings will begin to mul-
tiply, and you will wonder how one verse could
teach so much, and you will have an ever grow-
ing sense of the divine authorship of the Book.
It is related of the younger Prof. Agassiz that a
young man came to him to study ichthyology.
The Professor gave him a fish to study and told
him to come back when he had mastered that
30 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
fish and get another lesson. In time the young
man came back and told Prof. A. what he had
observed about the fish. When he had finished,
to his surprise he was given the same fish again,
and told to study it further. He came back
again, having observed new facts, and, as he sup-
posed, all the facts about the fish. But again he
was given the same fish to study, and so it went
on, lesson after lesson, until that student had
been taught what his perceptive faculties were
for, and also taught to do thorough work. In
the same way ought we to study the Bible. We
ought to come back to the same verse of the
Bible again and again, until we have gotten, as
far as it is possible to us, all that is in the verse.
Then the probability is that when we come back to
the same verse several months afterward we will
find something we did not see before. It may
be, that an illustration of this method of analysis
will be helpful. Let us take I Pet. i: I, 2.
(Here we have an instance in which the verse di-
vision of our Authorized version is so manifestly
illogical and absurd that in our analysis we can-
not follow it, but must take the two verses to-
gether. This will often be the case.)
I Pet., i: I, 2. These verses teach:
(i.) This epistle is by Peter.
(2.) The Peter who wrote this epistle was an
apostle of Jesus Christ.
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS 31
(3.) Peter delighted to think and speak of
himself as one sent of Jesus Christ. (Comp.
II Pet., i: i.)
(NOTE Apostle is Greek for Latin Mission-
(4.) The name, Jesus Christ (used twice in
these two verses). Significance:
b. Annointed One.
c. Fulfiller of the Messianic predictions of
the O. T. "Christ" has especially
reference to the earthly reign of Christ.
(5.) This Epistle was written to the elect, es-
pecially to the elect who are sojourners of the
dispersion in Pontus, i. *., Paul's old field of
(NoTE The question whether speaking of the
dispersion implies that the destination of this
Epistle was to Jewish Christians will have been
taken up and answered in the introduction to the
(6.) Believers are:
a, elect or chosen of God.
b, foreknown of God.
f, sanctified of the Spirit.
d. sprinkled by the blood of Jesus Christ.
e t sojourners or pilgrims on earth.
f t subjects of multiplied grace.
g t possessors of multiplied peace.
32 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
a. Who are the elect ? Believers. Comp.
b. To what are they elect ?
b, sprinkling of the blood of Jesus.
According to what are they elect? The fore-
knowledge of God. Comp. Rom. viii: 29, 30.
In what are they elect? Sanctification of the
The test of election: Obedience. Comp. II
Pet. i: 10.
The work of the three persons of the Trinity
a. The Father foreknows.
b. Jesus Christ cleanses from guilt by His
c. The Spirit sanctifies.
(8.) God is the Father of the elect.
(9.) The humanity of Christ: seen in the men-
tion of His blood.
(10.) The reality of the body of Jesus Christ:
seen in the mention of His blood.
(n.) It is by His blood and not by His ex-
ample that Jesus Christ delivers from sin.
(12.) Peter's first and great wish and prayer
for those to whom he wrote was that grace and
peace might be multiplied.
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS 33
(13.) It is not enough to have grace and peace.
One should have multiplied grace and peace.
(14.) That men already have grace and peace
is no reason to cease praying for them, but rather
an incentive to prayer that they may have more
grace and peace.
(15.) Grace precedes peace. Comp. all pas-
sages where these words are found together.
This is simply an illustration of what is meant
by analysing a verse. Tho whole book should
be gone through in this way.
There are three rules to be observed in this
analytical work. ist. Do not put anything into
your analysis that is not clearly in the verse.
One of the greatest faults in B ible study is read-
ing into passages what God never put into them.
Some men have their pet doctrines, and see them
everywhere, and even where God does not see
them. No matter how true, precious or scrip-
tural a doctrine is, do not put it into your analysis
where it is not in the verse. Considerable ex-
perience with classes in this kind of study leads
me to emphasize this rule. 2d. Find all that
is in the verse. This rule can only be carried
out relatively. Much will escape you, the verses
of the Bible are such a great deep, but do not
rest until you have dug, and dug, and dug, and
there seems to be nothing m ore to find. 3d-
State what you do find just as accurately and ex-
34 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
actly as possible. Do not be content with put-
ting into your analysis something like what is in
the verse, but state in your analysis precisely
what is in the verse.
VI. The sixth work in the study of the book is
to classify the results obtained by the verse by
verse analysis. By your verse by verse analysis
you have discovered and recorded a great number
of facts. The work now is to get these facts into
an orderly shape. To do this, go carefully
through your analysis and note the subjects
treated of in the Epistle. Write these subjects
down as fast as noted. Having made a complete
list of the subjects treated in the book, write
these subjects on separate cards or sheets of pa-
per, and then, going through the analysis again,
copy each point in the analysis upon its appro-
priate sheet of paper, e. g. , every point regarding
God the Father upon the card at the top of
which this subject is written. This general class-
ification should be followed by a more thorough
and minute subdivision. Suppose that we are
studying the First Epistle of Peter. Having com-
pleted our analysis of the Epistle, and gone over
it carefully, we will find that the following sub-
jects, at least, are treated in the Epistle: (i)
God. (2) Jesus Christ. (3) The Holy Spirit.
(4) The Believer. (5) Wives and Husbands.
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS 35
(6) Servants. (7) The New Birth. (8) The
Word of God. (9) Old Testament Scripture.
(10) The Prophets, (n) Prayer. (12) Angels.
(13) The Devil. (14) Baptism. (15) The Gos-
pel, (i 6) Salvation. (17) The World. (18)
Gospel Preachers and Teachers. (19) Heaven.
(20) Humility. (21) Love.
These will serve for general headings. But
after the material found in the analysis is ar-
ranged under these headings, it will be found to
subdivide itself naturally into numerous subdi-
visions. For example, the material under the head
God can be subdivided into these subdivisions:
I . His names. (The material under this head is
quite rich). 2. His Attributes. (This should be
subdivided again: (i) His Holiness. (2) His
Power. (3) His Foreknowledge. (4) His Faith-
fulness. (5) His Long-suffering. (6) His Grace.
There are twenty-five or more points on God's
Grace in the Epistle. (7) His Mercy. (8) His Im-
partiality. (9) His Severity.) 3. God's Judg-
ments. 4. God's Will. 5. What is Acceptable to
God. 6. What is Due to God. 7. God's Dwelling
Place. 8. God's Dominion. 9. God's Work.
What God does. 10. The Things of God, e. g. t
" The mighty hand of God," " the house of God,"
" the gospel of God," " the flock of God," " the
people of God," " the bondservants of God," " the
Word of God," " the Oracles of God," etc., etc.
36 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
An illustration in full of the classified arrange-
men of the teaching of a book on one doctrine,
will probably show better how to do this work
thar any abstract statement, and it will also il-
lustrate in part how fruitful is this method of
study. We will take I Peter again its teach-
ing regarding the Believer.
WHAT THE EPISTLE TEACHES ABOUT THE BE-
I. His PRIVILEGES.
1. His Election.
a, He is foreknown of the Father, 1 : 2.
b, He is elect or chosen of God, i: i.
c, He is chosen of God, according to His
foreknowledge, i: 2.
d, He is chosen unto obedience, 1:2.
<?, He is chosen unto the sprinkling of the
blood of Jesus, i : 2.
/, He is chosen in sanctification of the Spirit,
2. His Calling. ^
a, By whom called:
The God of all grace, 5: IO.
b, To what called:
The imitation of Christ in the patient tak-
ing of suffering for well doing, 2: 20, 21.
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS 3?
To render blessings for reviling, 3: 9.
Out of darkness into God's marvellous
light, 2: 9.
To God's eternal glory, 5: 10.
c, In whom called:
In Christ, 5: 10.
d, The purpose of his calling:
That he may show forth the praises of
Him who called, 2 : 9.
That he may inherit a blessing, 3: 9.
He has been begotten again
a, of God, i : 3.
b, unto a living hope, 1 : 3.
c t unto an inheritance incorruptible, unde-
filed, that fadeth not away, reserved in
heaven, i: 4.
d, By the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1:3.
t, Of incorruptible seed by the word of
God that liveth, etc., i: 23.
He has been redeemed,
a, not with corruptible things, as silver and
gold,: i 1 8.
b, with precious blood, even the blood of
Christ, i: 19.
c> from his vain manner of life, handed down
from his fathers, i : 1 8.
38 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
d, His sins have been borne by Christ, in
His own body, on the tree, 2: 24.
5. His Sanctification.
He is sanctified by the Spirit, 1 : 2.
6. His Cleansing.
He is cleansed by the blood, I ; 2.
7. His Security.
a, He is guarded by the power of God, i: 5.
b, He is guarded unto a salvation ready, or
prepared, to be revealed in the last
c, God careth for him, 5: 7.
d, He can cast all his anxiety upon God, 5:
f t The God of all grace will perfect, stablish,
strengthen him, after a brief trial of
suffering, 5: 10. R. V.
/, None can harm him if he is zealous of
that which is good, 3: 13.
g, He shall not be put to shame, 2: 6.
8. His Joy.
a, The character of his joy.
(i) . His present joy.
A great joy, i : 8. R. V.
An unspeakable joy, i : 8.
A joy full of glory, i : 8.
(NOTE This present joy cannot be hindered
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS 39
by being put to grief, because of mani-
fold temptations, i: 6.)
(2) His future joy: exceeding, 4: 13.
b, In what he rejoices:
(1) In the salvation prepared to be re-
vealed in the last time, i : 6.
(2) Because of his faith in the unseen
Jesus Christ, i: 8.
(3) In fellowship in Christ's sufferings,
r, In what he shall rejoice.
(i) In the revelation of Christ's glory,
NOTE Present joy in fellowship with the
sufferings of Christ, is the condition of
exceeding joy at the revelation of
Christ's glory, 4: 13.
9. His Hope.
a, Its character.
(1) A living hope, i: 3.
(2) A reasonable hope, 3: 15.
(3) An inward hope, " in you," 3: 15.
b. In whom is his hope,
(i) In God, i: 21.
Cj The foundation of his hope.
(i) The resurrection of Jesus Christ,
40 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
10. His Salvation.
a, A past salvation.
(1) Has been redeemed, I: 18-19.
(2) Has been healed, 2: 24.
NOTE By baptism, after a true likeness,
the Believer, as Noah by the flood, has
passed out of the old life of nature into
the new resurrection life of grace,
b, A present salvation.
(i) He is now receiving the salvation of
his soul, i : 9.
c, A growing salvation, through feeding on
His word, 2:2, R. V.
d, A future salvation: ready or prepared to
be revealed in the last time, 1:5.
11. The Believer's Possessions.
a, God as his Father, i: 17.
b, Christ as his
(1) Sin bearer, 2: 24.
(2) Example, 2:21.
(3) Fellow sufferer, 4: 13.
c, A living hope, 1:3.
d, An incorruptible, undefined, unfading in-
heritance reserved in heaven, i : 4.
e, Multiplied grace and peace, i : 2.
f, Spiritual milk without guile for his food,
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS 41
g, Gifts for service each believer has, or
may have, some gift, 4: 10.
12. What Believers Are.
a, An elect race, 2: 9.
b, A royal priesthood, 2 : 9.
f, A holy priesthood, 2: 5.
d, A holy nation, 2 : 9.
f, A people for God's own possession, 2 : 9,
f, Living stones, 2: 5.
g, The House of God, 4: 17.
A, A spiritual House, 2:5.
*, The flock of God, 5: 2.
/, Children of obedience, i: 14, R. V.
k, Partakers of, or partners in, Christ's suf-
ferings, 4: 13.
/, Partakers of, or partners in, the glory to
be revealed, 5:1.
m, Sojourners or strangers, i: I.
, Foreigners on earth: he has no civil rights
here: his Citizenship is in heaven, 2, 1 1,
com. Phil. 3: 20, R. V.
o, A sojourner on his way to another coun-
try, 2: i.
/, A Christian: representative of Christ, 4:
1 3. The Believer's Possibilities,
a, He may die unto sin, 2 : 24.
42 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
b t He may live unto righteousness, 2: 24.
NOTE We must die unto sin if we are to
live unto righteousness \ 2: 24.
c, He may follow in Christ's steps, 2:21.
d, He may cease from sin, 4: i.
f, He may cease from living to the lusts of
men, 4: 2.
f, He may live unto the will of God, 4: 2.
NOTE It is through suffering in the flesh that
he ceases from sin and living to the lusts
of men, and lives to the -will of God.
14. What was for the Believer.
a. The ministry of the Prophets was in his
behalf, i: 12.
b, The preciousness of Jesus is for him, 2: 7,
1 5 . Unclassified.
a, Has the gospel preached to him in the
Holy Ghost, 1:12.
b, Grace is to be brought unto him at the
revelation of Jesus Christ, i: 3, com.
Eph. 3: 7.
c, Has tasted that the Lord is gracious, 2: 3.
II. THE BELIEVER'S TRIAL AND SUFFERINGS.
I. The fact of the Believer's sufferings and
trials, i: 6.
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS 43
2. The nature of the Believer's sufferings and
a, He endures griefs, suffering wrongfully,
b, He suffers for righteousness' sake, 3: 14.
c, He suffers for well doing, 3: 17; 2: 20.
d, He suffers as a Christian, 4: 16.
e, He is subjected to manifold temptations,
/, He is put to grief in manifold temptations,
g, He is spoken against as an evil doer,
h, His good manner of life is reviled, 3: 16.
/', He is spoken evil of because of his sepa-
rated lite, 4: 4.
/, He is reproached for the name of Christ,
k, He is subjected to fiery trials, 4: 12.
3. Encouragements for believers undergoing
fiery trials and suffering.
a y It is better to suffer for well doing than
for evil doing, 3:17.
b, Judgment must begin at the House of
God, and the present judgment of be-
lievers through trial, is not comparable
to the future end of those who obey not
the gospel, 4: 17.
44 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
e, Blessed is the believer who does suffer for
righteousness' sake, 3: 14, comp. Matt.
d, Blessed is the believer who is reproached
for the name of Christ, 4: 14.
f, The Spirit of Glory and the Spirit of
God rests upon the believer who is re-
proached for the name of Christ, 4: 14.
/, The believer's grief is for a little while, I :
6, R. V.
g, The believer's suffering is for a little
while, 5: 10, R. V.
//, Suffering for a little while will be followed
by God's glory in Christ, which is eter-
nal, 5: 10.
', The suffering endured for a little while is
for the testing of faith, 1 : 7.
j, The fiery trial is for a test, 4:12.
k t The faith thus proved ;is more precious
than gold, 1 : 7.
/, Faith proven by manifold temptations will
be found unto praise, and honor, and
glory, at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
m, It is that his proved faith may be found
unto praise and glory and honor at the
revelation of Jesus Christ, that the be-
liever is for a little while subjected to
manifold temptations, i: 7.
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS 45
, It is pleasing to God when a believer, for
conscience toward God, endures grief,
suffering wrongfully, 2: 19, R. V.
o, It is pleasing to God when a believer
takes it patiently, when he does well
and suffers for it, 2 : 20.
/, Through suffering in the flesh we cease
from sin, 4: i.
q, Those who speak evil of us shall give
account to God, 4: 5.
r, Sufferings are being shared by fellow be-
lievers, 5: 9.
j, Christ suffered for us, 2: 21.
?, Christ suffered for sins once (or once for
all), the righteous for the unrighteous,
that He might bring us to God, being
put to death in the flesh, but quick-
ened in the spirit, 3: 18.
, Christ left the believer an example that
he should follow in His steps, 2: 21.
v. In our fiery trials we are made partakers
of, or partakers in, Christ's sufferings,
w, When His glory is revealed we shall be
glad also with exceeding joy, 4: 13.
How the believer should meet his trial and
a, The believer should not regard his fiery
trial as a strange thing, 4: 12.
46 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
b, The believer should expect fiery trial,
c, When the believer suffers as a Christian
let him not be ashamed, 4: 16.
</, When the believer suffers as a Christian
let him glorify God in this name, 4: 16.
/, When the believer suffers fiery trials he
should rejoice, insomuch as he is made
partaker of Christ's suffering, 4: 13,
f. When the believer suffers, let him not
return reviling with reviling, or suffer-
ing with threatening; but commit him-
self to Him that judgeth righteously.
g, When the believer suffers, he should in
well-doing commit the keeping of his
soul unto God, as unto a faithful Cre-
ator, 4: 19.
III. THE BELIEVER'S DANGERS.
1. The believer may fall into fleshly lusts
that war against the soul, 2:11.
2. The believer may sin, 2: 20, R. V.
3. The believer may fall into sins of the
gravest character, 4: 15. (Note in this
verse the awful possibilities that lie dor-
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS 47
mant in the heart of at least a sincere pro-
fessed believer. )
4. The believer's prayers may be hindered,
5. The believer is in danger that his high
calling and destiny tempt him to despise
human laws and authority, 2: 13.
6. The believer is in danger that his high
calling lead him to lose sight of his lowly
obligations to human masters, 2: 18.
7. Young believers are in danger of disregard-
ing the will and authority of older believ-
IV. THE BELIEVER'S RESPONSIBILITY.
1. Each believer has an individual responsi-
bility, 4: 10, R. V.
2. Each believer's responsibility is for the gift
he has received, 4; 10.
V. THE BELIEVER'S DUTIES.
I . What the believer should be.
a, Be holy in all manner of living.
(1) Because God is holy, i: 15.
(2) Because it is written " ye shall be
holy," i: 16, R. V.
d, Be like Him who called him, i: 15-16.
48 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
c. Be sober, (or of a calm, collected,
thoughtful spirit,) i: 13; 4: 7; 5: 8.
d. Be sober, or of a calm, etc. , unto prayer,
e. Be of a sound mind : because the end of
all things is approaching, 4: 7.
/. Be watchful, 5: 8.
g. Be steadfast in the faith, 5 : 9.
h. Be subject to every ordinance of man.
(1) For the Lord's sake, 2:13.
(2) To the King, as supreme, 2:13.
(3) To governors, as sent by the King for
the punishment of evil doers, and for
praise to them that do well, 2: 14.
(4) Because this is God's will, 2:15.
/. Be like minded, 3: 8.
j. Be sympathetic, 3:8.
k. Be tenderhearted, 3: 8.
/. Be humble minded, 3: 8.
m. Be ready.
(2) To give an answer to every man that
asketh a reason of the hope that
is in him.
(3) With meekness and fear.
(4) In order to put to shame those who
revile their good manner of life in
Christ, 3: 1 6.
n, Should not be troubled, 3: 14.
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS 49
2. What the Believer shoicld not do.
a, The believer should not fashion himself
according to the lusts of the old life of
ignorance, i: 14.
6, The believer should not render evil for
evil, 3: 9.
c, The believer should not render reviling
for reviling, 3: 9.
d, The believer should not fear the world's
fear, 3: 14.
e t The believer should not live his remain-
ing time in the flesh to the lusts of
men, 4: 2.
3. What the Believer should do.
a, He should live as a child of obedience, I :
b, Pass the time of his sojourning here in
fear, i: 17.
, Abstain from fleshly lusts that war against
the soul, 2: ii.
d, Observe God's will as the absolute law of
c, Let his conscience be governed by the
thought of God and not by the conduct
of men, 2: 19.
/, Sanctify Christ in his heart as Lord, 3:
15. R. V. Comp. Is. 8: 13.
g. Live his remaining time in the flesh to the
will of God, 4: 2.
5O HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
A, Put away
(1) All malice, 2:1.
(2) All guile, 2:1.
(3) Hypocrisies, 2:1,
(4) Envies, 2: i.
(5) All evil speaking, 2:1.
i. Come unto the Lord as unto a living stone,
/, Show forth the excellencies of him who
called him out of darkness into His mar-
vellous light, 2 : 9.
k, Arm himself with the mind of Christ : /. e.
to suffer in the flesh, 4:1.
/, Cast all his care upon God because he
careth for him, 5 : 7.
m, Stand fast in the true grace of God, 5 :
, Withstand the devil, 5 : 9.
o t Humble himself under the mighty hand of
God, 5 : 5.
(1) Because God resisteth the proud and
giveth grace unto the humble, 5 :
(2) That God may exalt him in due time,
/, Glorify God when he suffers as a Christ-
ian, 4 : 16.
q, See to it that he does not suffer as a thief
or as an evil doer or as a meddler in
other men's matters, 4:15.
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS 5 1
r, Rejoice in fiery trial, 4:13.
s, Toward various persons.
(1) Toward God fear, 2 : 17.
(2) Toward the King honor, 2 : 17.
(3) Toward Masters be in subjection
with all fear (not only to the good
and gentle, but to the forward) 2 :
(4) Toward the Brotherhood,
Love, 2: 17; i: 22; 4: 8.
Love from the heart, i: 22, R. V.
Love fervently intensely, i: 22;
Gird themselves with humility as
with a slave's apron unto one an-
other, i. e.,
ist, Be one another's slaves.
2nd. Wear humility as a token
of their readiness to serve one
another, 5:5, com. Jno. 13:4-5.
Minister the gift he has received from
God among the brethren as a good
steward of the manifold grace of
God, 4: 10.
Use hospitality one to another with-
out murmuring, 4: 9.
Salute one another with a holy kiss,
52 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
(5) Toward his revilers.
Render blessing for reviling, 3: 9.
(6) Toward the Gentiles.
Have his behavior seemly among the
Gentiles, 2: 12.
NOTES ist. The reason why he should
have his behavior seemly among the
Gentiles; that the Gentiles might glo-
rify God in the day of visitation, 2: 12:
2nd. This seemly behavior should con-
sist in good works which the Gentiles
could behold, 2 . 12.
(7) Toward foolish men.
By well doing put to silence their
ignorance, 2: 15.
(8) Toward all men honor, 2: 17.
NOTE The especial duties of believing hus-
bands and wives, toward one another,
comes under a special classification.
t, Long for the sincere milk of the word,
u, Gird up the loins of his mind, 1:13.
v, Grow, 2: 2.
w. Set his hope perfectly on the grace to be
brought unto him at the revelation of
Jesus Christ, i: 13, R. V.
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS 53
VI. THE BELIEVER'S CHARACTERISTICS.
1. His faith and hope is in God, 1:21.
2. Believes in God through Jesus Christ, i:
3. Calls on God as Father, i: 17.
4. Believes in Christ, though he has never
seen Him, i : 8.
5. Loves Christ though he has never seen
Him, i: 8.
6. Is returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop
of his soul, 2: 25.
7. Has purified his soul in obedience to the
truth, i: 22.
8. Has unfeigned love for the Brethren,
9. Has a good manner of life, 3: 16.
10. Does not run with the Gentiles among
whom he lives, to the same excess of
riot, (lives a separated life), 4: 4.
11. Refrains his tongue from evil. 3: 10.
Refrains his lips that they speak no
guile, 3: 10.
12. Turns away from evil, 3: n.
13. Does good, 3:11.
14. Seeks peace, 3: n.
15. Pursues peace, 3: n.
NOTE From n to 14. would very properly
come under duties.
54 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
VII. THE BELIEVER'S WARFARE.
The believer has a warfare before him, 4: I.
The mind of Christ is the proper armament
for this warfare, 4: i.
The warfare is with the devil, 5 : 8-9.
Victory is possible for the believer, 5 : 9.
Victory is won through steadfastness in the
faith, 5: 9.
V 1 1. We come now to the seventh and last
work. This is simply to meditate upon, and so
digest, the results obtained. At first thought it
might seem that when we had completed our
classification of results our work was finished, but
this is not so. These results are for use: first,
for personal enjoyment and appropriation, and
afterward to give out to others. The appropria-
tion of results is effected by meditation upon
them. We are no more through with a book
when we have carefully and fully classified its
contents than we are through with a meal when
we have it arranged in an orderly way upon the
table. It is there to eat, digest and assimilate.
One of the great failures in much of the Bible
study of the day is just at this point. There is ob-
servation, analysis, classification, but no medita-
tion. There is perhaps nothing so important in
Bible study as meditation. (See Josh, i: 8; Ps.
STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL BOOKS 5$
i: 2, 3.) Take your classified teachings and go
slowly over them, and ponder them, point by
point, until these wonderful truths live before
you and sink into your soul, and live in you, and
become part of your life. Do this again and
again. Nothing will go further than meditation
to make one great and fresh and original as a
thinker and speaker. Very few people in this
The method of study outlined in this chapter
can be shortened to suit the time and industry of
of the student. For example, one can omit the
Fifth work (V.), and proceed at once to go through
the Book as a whole and note down its teachings
on different doctrines. This will greatly shorten
and lighten the work. It will also greatly detract
from the richness of the results, it will not be as
thorough, as accurate or as scholarly, and will
not be nearly so good a mental discipline. But
many people are lazy, and everybody is in a
hurry. So if you will not follow out the fuller
plan the shorter is suggested. But any man can
be, if he will, a scholar at least in the most im-
portant line that of Biblical study.
A still briefer plan of Book Study and yet very
profitable, if one has no time for anything better,
is to do the Second work (I I.) and then go through
the Epistle verse by verse looking up all the ref-
erences given in " The Treasury of Scripture
$6 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
Knowledge." But we urge every reader to try
the full method described in this chapter with at
least one short book in the Bible.
A second method of Bible study is the Topical
Method. This consists in searching through the
Bible to find out what its teaching is on various
topics. It is perhaps the most fascinating
method of Bible study. It yields the largest
immediate results, though not the largest ulti-
mate results. It has advantages. The only
way to master any topic, is to go through the
Bible, and find what it has to teach on that topic.
Almost any great subject will take a remarkable
hold upon the heart of a Christian man, if he
will take time to go through the Bible, from
Genesis to Revelation, and note what it has to
say on that topic. He will have a more full and
more correct understanding of that topic than he
ever had before. It is said of Mr. Moody, that
many years ago he took up the study of " Grace "
in this way. Day after day he went through the
Bible, studying what it had to say about " grace."
As the Bible doctrine unfolded before his mind his
heart began to burn, until at last, full of the sub-
58 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
ject and on fire with the subject, he ran out on to
the street, and, taking hold of the first man he
met, he said: " Do you know grace ? " " Grace
who ? " was the reply. " The grace of God that
bringeth salvation." Then he just poured out
his soul on that subject. If any child of God
will study " Grace," or " Love," or " Faith," or
" Prayer," or any other great Bible doctrine, in
that way, his soul too will become full of it.
Jesus evidently studied the Old Testament script-
ures in this way, for we read that " beginning at
Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto
them in all the scriptures the things concerning
Himself." (Luke, xxiv: 27.) This method of
study made the hearts of the two who walked
with Him to burn within them. (Luke xxiv: 32.)
Paul seems to have followed his Master in this
method of study and teaching. (Acts xvii: 2, 3.)
But the method has its dangers. Its very fas-
cination is a danger. Many are drawn by the
fascination of this method of study to give up
all other methods of study, and this is a great
misfortune. A well-rounded, thorough-going
knowledge of the Bible ; s not possible by this
method of study. No one method of study
will answer, if one desires to be a well-rounded
and well-balanced Bible student. But the great-
est danger lies in this, that every man is almost
certain to have some line of topics in which he
TOPICAL STUDY 59
is especially interested, and if he studies his
Bible topically, unless he is warned, he is more
than likely to go over certain topics again and
again, and be very strong in this line of truth, but
other topics of equal importance he neglects, and
thus becomes a one-sided man. We never know
one truth correctly until we know it in its proper
relations to other truths. I know of people, for
example, who are interested in the great doc-
trine of the Lord's Second Coming, and pretty
much all their Bible studies are on that line.
Now this is a precious doctrine, but there are other
doctrines in the Bible which a man needs to
know, and it is folly to study this doctrine alone.
I know others whose whole interest and stud})
seems to center in the subject of " Divine Heal-
ing." It is related of one man that he confided
to a friend that he had devoted his time for
years to the study of the number " seven " in
the Bible. This last is doubtless an extreme
case, but it illustrates the danger in Topical
Study. It is certain that we will never master
the whole range of Bible truth if we pursue the
Topical Method alone. A few rules concerning
topical study will probably be helpful to most of
the readers of this book.
I. Be systematic. Do not follow your fancy
in the choice of topics. Do not take up any
topic that happens to suggest itself. Make a list
6O HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
of all the subjects that you can think of that are
touched upon in the Bible. Make it as compre-
hensive and complete as possible. Then take
these topics up one by one in logical order. The
following list of subjects is given as a suggestion.
Each one can add to the list for himself and sub-
divide the general subjects into proper sub-divi-
LIST OF TOPICS.
God as a Spirit.
The Unity of God-
The Eternity of God.
The Omnipresence of God.
The Personality of God.
The O mnipotence of God.
The Omniscience of God.
The Holiness of God.
The Love of God.
The Righteousness of God.
The Mercy or Loving Kindness of God.
The Faithfulness of God.
The Grace of God.
The Divinity of Christ.
The Subordination of Jesus Christ to the
The Human Nature of Jesus Christ.
TOPICAL STUDY 6l
The Character of Jesus Christ.
His Love to God.
His Love to Man.
His Love for Souls.
His Meekness and Humility.
The Death of Jesus Christ.
The Purpose of Christ's Death;
Why did Christ die ?
For Whom did Christ Die ?
The Results of Christ's Death.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Fact of the Resurrection.
The Results of the Resurrection.
The Importance of the Resurrection.
The Manner of the Resurrection.
The Ascension and Exaltation of Jesus
The Return or Coming Again of Jesus
The Fact of His Coming Again.
The Manner of His Coming Again.
The Purpose of His Coming Again.
The Results of His Coming Again.
The Time of His Coming Again.
The Reign of Jesus Christ.
62 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Personality of the Holy Spirit.
Deity of the Holy Spirit.
Distinction of the Holy Spirit from God
the Father, and the Son, Jesus Christ.
The Subordination of the Holy Spirit to the
Father and to the Son.
Names of the Holy Spirit.
The work of the Holy Spirit:
In the Universe.
In Man in General.
In the Believer.
In the Prophet and Apostle.
In Jesus Christ.
His Original Condition.
The Present Standing before God and Pres-
ent Condition of Man outside of the Re-
demption that is in Jesus Christ.
The Future Destiny of those who Reject the
Redemption that is in Jesus Christ.
The New Birth.
The Believer's Assurance of Salvation.
TOPICAL STUDY 63
Love to God.
Love to Jesus Christ.
Love to Man.
The Future Destiny of Believers
Their Nature and Position.
SATAN OR THE DEVIL.
His Nature and Position.
Our Duty Regarding Him.
64 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
For a student who has the perseverance to
carry it through, it might be recommended, to
begin with the first topic on a list like this, and
go right through it to the end, searching for every-
thing the Bible has to say on these topics. This
the author of this book has done, and, thereby,
gained a fuller knowledge of truth along these
lines, and an immeasurably more vital grasp of
the truth, than he ever obtained by somewhat
extended studies in systematic Theology. Many,
however, will stagger at the seeming immensity of
the undertaking. To such it is recommended to
begin by selecting those topics that seem more
important. But sooner or later settle down to a
thorough study of what the Bible has to teach
about God and Man. The " Abstract of Sub-
jects, Doctrinal and Practical," in the back of
" The Bible Text Cyclopedia " is very suggestive.
II. Be thorough. Whenever you are study-
ing any topic, do not be content with examining
some of the passages in the Bible that bear upon
the subject, but find, as far as possible, every
passage in the Bible that bears on this subject.
As long as there is a single passage in the Bible
on any subject that you have not considered,
TOPICAL STUDY 65
you have not yet gotten a thoroughly true knowl-
edge of that subject. How can we find ajl the
passages in the Bible that bear on any subject ?
ist. By the use of the Concordance. Look up
every passage that has the word in it. Then
look up every passage that has synonymous
words in it. If, for example, you are studying
the subject of prayer, look up every passage
that has the word " pray" and its derivatives in it,
and also every passage that has such words as
"cry," "call," "ask," "supplication," " inter-
cession," etc., in it. 2nd. By the use of a Bible
text book. A text book arranges the passages
of Scripture, not by the words used, but by
the subjects treated, and there is many a verse,
for example on prayer, that does not have the
word " prayer " or any synonymous word in it.
Incomparably the best Bible text book is Inglis'
" The Bible Text Cyclopedia." 3rd. Passages not
discovered by the use of either concordance or
text book will come to light as we study by
books, or as we read the Bible through in course,
and so our treatment of topics will be ever
III. Be exact. Get the exact meaning of each
passage considered. Study each passage in its
connection, and find its meaning in the way sug-
gested in the chapter on " Study of Individual
66 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
Books." Topical study is frequently carried
on in a very slip-shod fashion. Passages, torn
from their connection, are strung or huddled
together because of some superficial connec-
tion with one another, and without much
regard to their real sense and teaching, and
this is called "topical study." This has
brought the whole method of topical study
into disrepute. But is possible to be as exact
and scholarly in topical study as in any other
method, and when we are the results will be in-
structive and gratifying, and not misleading.
But the results are sure to be misleading and un-
satisfactory if the work is done in a careless, in-
IV. Classify and write down your results. In
the study of any large subject one will get together
a great mass of matter. Having gotten it, it
must now be gotten into shape. As you look it
over carefully, you will soon see the facts that
belong together. Arrange them together in a
logical order. An illustrative topical study is
given below. What the Bible teaches concern-
ing the Deity of Jesus Christ.
TOPICAL STUDY 67
JESUS CHRIST: His DEITY.
a. Luke, 22: 70.
" The Son of God." This name is given
to Christ forty times. Besides this the
synonymous expression " His son," " My
son," are of frequent occurrence. That
this name as used of Christ is a distinctly
Divine name appears from Jno. 5: 18.
b. Jno. i: 1 8.
"The only begotten Son." This occurs
five times. It is evident that the statement,
that " Jesus Christ is the Son of God only
in the same sense that all men are sons of
God" is not true. Compare Mark xii: 6.
Here Jesus Himself, having spoken of all
the prophets as servants of God, speaks
of Himself as " one," " a beloved Son."
c. Rev. i: 17.
" The first and the last. " Comp. Is. xli:4;
xliv: 6. In these latter passages it is
"Jehovah," "Jehovah of hosts," who is
"the first and the last."
d. Rev. xxii: 12, 13, 16.
First, " the Alpha and Omega."
Second, " the beginning and the ending."
In Rev. i: 8, R. V. It is the Lord God
who is the Alpha and Omega.
68 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
e. Acts iii: 14.
"The Holy One." In Hosea xi: 9, and
many other passages, it is God who is
"the Holy One."
/. Mai. iii: i; Luke ii: n; Acts ix: 17; Jno.
xx: 28; Heb. i: n.
" The Lord." This name or title is used
of Jesus several hundred times. The
word translated " Lord " is used in the
New Testament in speaking of men nine
times, e. g., Acts 16: 30, Eph. iv: I, Jno.
xii: 21, but not at all in the way in which
it used of Christ. He is spoken of as
" ///^Lord" just as God is, cf. Acts iv: 26
with iv: 33. Note also Matt, xxii: 43-45,
Phil, ii: 21, Eph. iv: 5. If any one doubts
the attitude of the Apostles of Jesus to-
ward Him as Divine, they would do well
to read one after another the passages
which speak of Him as Lord.
g. Acts x: 36.
"Lord of all."
h. I Cor. ii: 8.
" The Lord of Glory." In Ps. xxiv: 8-10,
it is " the Lord of Hosts " who is the
King of Glory.
/. Is. ix: 6.
(i) " Wonderful " (cf. Judges xiii: 18, R.
TOPICAL STUDY 69
(2) "Mighty God."
(3) " Father of Eternity. " See R. V.
j. Heb. i: 8.
" God." In Jno. xx: 28, Thomas calls
Jesus " my God," and is gently rebuked
for not believing it before.
k. Matt, i: 23.
"God with us."
/, Tit. 2: 13, R. V.
" Our great God."
m t Rom. 9: 5.
" God blessed forever."
Proposition: Sixteen names clearly imply-
ing Deity are used of Christ in the Bible,
some of them over and over again, the
total number of passages reaching far into
(1) Luke 4: 39. Jesus has power over
disease, it is subject to His word.
(2) Luke;: 14-15; 8: 54-55; Jno. 5:25.
The Son of God has power over
death, it is subject to His word.
(3) Matt: 8: 26-27.
Jesus has power over the winds and
sea, they are subject to His word.
(4) Matt. 8: 16; Luke 4: 35, 36, 41.
7O HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, has
power over demons, they are sub-
ject to His word.
(5) Eph. i : 20-23.
Christ is far above all principality and
power and might, and dominion
and every name that is named, not
only in this world, but also in that
which is to come. All things are
in subjection (R. V.), under His
feet. All the hierarchies of the
angelic world are under Him.
(6) Heb. i: 3.
The Son of God upholds all things by
the word of His power.
Proposition. Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
(1) Jno. 4: 16-19.
Jesus knows men's lives, even their
(2) Mark 2:8; Luke 5: 22; Jno. 2: 24-
25; (Acts i: 24.)
Jesus knows the secret thoughts of
men. He knew all men. He knew
what was in man. (cf. 2 Chron.
6:3o;Jer. 17:9, 10. Herewesee
that God " only knoweth the hearts
of the children of men.")
TOPICAL STUDY 71
(3) Jno. 6: 64.
Jesus knew from the beginning that
Judas would betray Him. Not only
men's present thoughts but their
future choices were known to Him.
(4) Jno. i: 48.
Jesus knew what men were doing at
(5) Luke 22: 10, 12; Jno. 13: i; Luke
Jesus knew the future regarding not
only God's acts, but regarding the
minute specific acts of men, and
even the fishes of the sea.
NOTE Many, if not all, of these items of
knowledge up to this point could possibly,
if they stood alone, be accounted for by
saying that the Omniscient God revealed
these specific things to Jesus.
(6) Jno. 21 : 17; 16: 30; Col. 2: 3.
Jesus knew all things, in Him are hid
all the treasures of wisdom and
Proposition. Jesus Christ is omniscient.
NOTE There was, as we shall see when we
study the Humanity of Christ, a voluntary
veiling and abnegation of the exercise of
72 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
His inherent Divine omniscience. (Mark
n: 12-14; Phil. 2: 7.)
c t Omnipresence.
(1) Matt. 18: 20.
Jesus Christ is present in every place
where two or three are gathered
together in His name.
(2) Matt. 28: 20.
Jesus Christ is present with every
one who goes forth into any part
of the world to make disciples, etc.
(3) Jno. 3: 13.
The Son of man was in heaven while
He was here on earth.
NOTE This text is doubtful. (See R. V.
and the Variorum Bible.}
(4) Jno. 14: 20; II. Cor. 13: 5.
Jesus Christ is in each believer.
(5) Eph. 1:23.
Jesus Christ filleth all in all.
Proposition. Jesus Christ is omnipresent.
Jno. i: i; Mic. 5: 2; Col. i: 17; Is.
9: 6; Jno. 17: 5 (Jno. 6: 62; Jno.
8: 58; I Jno. i: I, 27); Heb. 13: 8.
Proposition. The Son of God was from all
TOPICAL STUDY 73
Heb. 13: 8; i: 12. Jesus Christ is
unchangeable. He not only always
is, but always is the same.
/. Phil. 2: 6.
Jesus Christ before His incarnation was
in the form of God.
NOTE " Morphe" translated "form" means
" the form by which a person or thing
strikes the vision; the external appear-
ance" (Thayer, Grk-Eng. Lexicon of
the N. T.)
g. Col. 2: 9.
In Christ dwelleth all the fulness of the
Godhead in a bodily way.
Proposition. Five or more distinctively di-
vine attributes are ascribed to Jesus
Christ, and all the fulness of the
Godhead is said to dwell in Him.
3. Divine Offices.
Heb. i: 10; Jno. 1:3; Col. i: 16.
The Son of God, the eternal Word, the
Lord, is creator of all created things.
Heb. i : 3. The Son of God is the pre-
server of all things.
74 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
c, The forgiveness of sin.
Mark 2: 5-10; Luke 7: 48-50.
Jesus Christ had power on earth to forgive
NOTE He taught that sins were sins
AGAINST HIMSELF. Luke 7: 40-4.7, both
Simon and the woman as sinners were
debtors to Hint, but in Ps. 57.- 4 sin is
seen to be against God and God only.")
d, Raising of the dead.
Jno. 6: 39-44; 5: 28-29.
It is Jesus Christ who raises the dead.
Ques. Did not Elijah and Elisha raise the
dead? No; God raised the dead in an-
swer to their prayer, but Jesus Christ will
raise the dead by His own word. Dur-
ing the days of His humiliation it was
by prayer that Christ raised the dead.
Jno. n: 41.
e, Transformation of bodies. Phil. 3: 21,
Jesus Christ shall fashion anew the body of
our humiliation into the likeness of His own
/, Judgment. II Tim. 4: i, R. V.
Christ Jesus shall judge the quick and the
TOPICAL STUDY 75
NOTE -Jesus Himself emphasized the Divine
character of this office. (Jno. 5.' 22-23.}
g, The bestowal of eternal life.
Jno. 10: 28; 17, 2.
Jesus Christ is the bestower of eternal life.
Proposition. Seven distinctively Divine of-
fices are predicated of Jesus Christ.
4. Statements which in the O. T. are made dis-
tinctly of Jehovah God taken in the N. T. to
refer to Jesus Christ.
a, Ps. 102: 24-27, comp. Heb. i: 10-12.
b, Is. 40, 3-4, comp. Matt. 3: 3, Luke i: 68,
c t Jer. u: 20; 17, 10, comp. Rev. n: 23.
d, Is. 60: 19 (Zech. 2: 5) comp. Luke 2: 32.
e, Is. 6: i; 3: 10, comp. Jno. 12: 37-41.
/, Is. 8: 13-14, comp. i Pet. 2: 7-8.
g, Is. 8: 12-13, comp. i Pet. 3: 14-15, R. V.
h, Num. 21 : 6-7, comp. i Cor. 10, 9. (See
i, Ps. 23: i;Is. 40: 10-11, comp. Jno. 10: n.
j, Ez. 34: u; 12: 16, comp. Luke 19: 10.
k, Lord in the O. T. always refers to God
except when the context clearly indicates
otherwise: Lord in the N. T. always re-
fers to Jesus Christ except where the con-
text clearly indicates otherwise.
Proposition. Many statements which in the
76 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
O. T. are made distinctly of Jehovah God
are taken in the N. T. to refer to Jesus
Christ, /. e. , in N. T. thought and doctrine
Jesus Christ occupies the place that Jeho-
vah occupies in O. T. thought and doc-
5. The ^vay in which the name of God the
Father and Jesus Christ the Son are cou-
II Cor. 13: 14.
Matt. 28: 19.
I Thess. 3: ii.
1 Cor. 12: 4-6.
Tit. 3: 4,5, comp. Tit. 2: 13.
Rom. 1 : 7. Many instances of this sort (see
all the Pauline Epistles).
Jas. i: i.
Jno. 14: 23, " we, " i. e. , God the Father and I.
2 Pet. i: i. (Comp. R. V.)
Col. 2:2. (See R. V.)
Jno. 17: 3.
Jno. 14: i, comp. Jer. 17: 5-7.
Rev. 7: 10.
Rev. 5: 13; comp. Jno. 5: 23.
Prop. The name of Jesus Christ is coupled
with that of God the Father in numerous
passages in a way in which it would be
impossible to couple the name of any
finite being with that of the Deity.
TOPICAL STUDY 77
6. Divine Worship to be given to Jesus Christ.
a. Matt. 28: 9; Luke 24: 52; Matt. 14: 33,
comp. Acts 10: 25-26; Rev. 22: 8-9;
Matt. 4: 9-10.
Jesus Christ accepted without hesitation a
worship which good men and angels de-
clined with fear (horror).
Ques. Is not the verb translated worship in
these passages used of reverence paid to
men in high position? Yes; but not in
this way by worshippers of Jehovah, as is
seen by the way in which Peter and the
angel drew back with horror when such
worship was offered to them.
b. i Cor. i: 2; 2 Cor. 12: 8, 9; Acts 7: 59.
Prayer is to be made to Christ.
c, Ps. 45: 11; Jno. 5: 23; comp. Rev. 5: 8,
9, 12, 13.
It is God the Father's will that all men pay
the same divine honor to the Son as to
d, Heb. i: 6; Phil, 2: 10, n. (Comp. Is.
45: 21, 23.)
The Son of God, Jesus, is to be worshiped
as God by angels and men.
Proposition. Jesus Christ is a person to be
worshiped by angels and men even as
God the Father is worshiped.
78 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
General Proposition. By the use of numer-
ous Divine names, by the ascription of all
the distinctively divine attributes, by the
predication of several divine offices, by
referring statements which in the O. T.
distinctly name Jehovah God as their
subject to Jesus Christ in the N. T.,
by coupling the name of Jesus Christ
with that of God the Father in a way in
which it would be impossible to couple
that of any finite being with that of the
Deity, and by the clear teaching that
Jesus Christ should be worshiped even as
God the Father is worshiped in all
these unmistakable ways, God in His
word distinctly proclaims that Jesus
Christ is a Divine Being, is God.
One suggestion remains to be made in regard
to topical study. Get further topics for topical
study from your book studies.
CHAPTER I V.
A third method of study is the Biographical.
This needs no definition. It consists in taking
up the various persons mentioned in Scripture
and studying their life, work and character. It
is really a special form of Topical Study. It
can be made very interesting and instructive.
It is especially useful to the minister with a view
to sermon building, but is profitable for all Christ-
ians. The following suggestions will help those
who are not already experienced in this line of
1. Collect all the passages in the Bible in
which the person to be studied is mentioned.
This is readily done by turning in Strong's Con-
cordance to the person's name, and you will find
every passage in which he is mentioned given.
2. Analyze the character of the person. This
will require a repeated reading of the passages
in which he is mentioned. This should be done
with pencil in hand, that any characteristic may
be noted down at once.
80 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
3. Note the elements of power and success.
4. Note the elements of weakness and failure.
5. Note the difficulties overcome.
6. Note the helps to success.
7. Note the privileges abused.
8. Note the opportunities neglected.
9. Note the opportunities improved.
10. Note the mistakes made.
11. Note the perils avoided.
12. Make a sketch of the life in hand. Make
it as vivid, living and realistic as possible. Try
to reproduce the subject as a real, living man.
Note the place and surroundings of the dif-
ferent events, e. g., Paul in Athens, Corinth,
Philippi. Note the time relations of the different
events. Very few people in reading the Acts of
the Apostles, for example, take notice of the rapid
passage of time, and so regard events separated
by years as following one another in close
sequence. In this connection note the age or
approximate age of the subject at the time of the
events recorded of him.
13. Summarize the lessons we should learn
from the story of this person's life.
14. Note the person in hand in his relations
to Jesus, e. g., as a type of Christ (Joseph,
David, Solomon and others), forerunner of
Christ, believer in Christ, enemy of Christ,
BIOGRAPHICAL STUDY 8 1
servant of Christ, brother of Christ (James and
Jude), friend, etc., etc.
It will be well to begin with some person who
does not occupy too much space in the Bible, as,
e. g., Enoch or Stephen. Of course many of
the points mentioned above cannot be taken up
with some characters.
Suggestive books in character studies are
Stalker's Lives of Christ and Paul, and
Stalker's "Imago Christi"; Rev. F. B. Meyer's
" Elijah," and also other O. T. characters; Mr.
Moody's " Bible Characters."
STUDY OF TYPES.
A fourth method of study is the Study of Types.
We have illustrations of this in the Bible itself,
as for example in the Epistle to the Hebrews.
It is both an interesting and instructive method
of study. It shows us the most precious truths
buried away in what once seemed to us a very
dry and meaningless portion of the Bible. It
need scarcely be said that this method of study
is greatly abused and overdone in some quarters.
But that is no reason why we should neglect it
altogether, especially when we remember that
not only Paul but Jesus were fond of this method
of study. The following may serve as principles
to govern us in this method of study:
i . Be sure you have Bible warrant for your
supposed type. If one gives free rein to his
fancyin this matter, he can imagine types every-
where, even in places that neither the human or
divine author of the book had any intention of a
typical sense. Never say this is a type unless
you can point to some clear passage of Scripture
STUDY OF TYPES 83
where the truth said to be typified is definitely
2. Begin with the more simple and evident
types, e.g., the Passover (comp. Ex. 12 with I
Cor. 5: 7 etc.), the High Priest, the Tabernacle.
3. Be on your guard against the fanciful and
overstrained. Fancy is almost sure to run
away with any man who is blessed with any
imagination and quickness of typical discernment,
unless he holds it in check. Our typical sensi-
tiveness and sensibleness will become both
quickened and chastened by careful and circum-
4. In studying any passage of possible typical
suggestion, look up all the Scripture references.
The best collection of references is that given in
" The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge."
5. Study carefully the meaning of the names
of persons and places mentioned. Bible names
often have a very deep and far reaching suggest-
iveness. Thus, for example, iHebron, which
means " joining together," " union " or " fellow-
ship," is deeply significant when taken in con-
nection with its history, as are all the names of
the Cities of Refuge, and indeed very many
Scripture names. Was it accidential that Beth-
lehem, the name of the place where the Bread
of Life was born, means " House of bread " ?
84 HOW UO STUDY THE BIBLE
C. H. M.'s notes on Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,
Numbers and Deuteronomy are suggestive to one
who has had little experience in the study of
THE STUDY OF THE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE IN THE
ORDER GIVEN IN THE BIBLE AND IN THEIR
A fifth method of Bible study is the old-
fashioned method of the study of the Bible in
course, beginning at Genesis and going right on
until Revelation is finished. This method of
study is ridiculed a good deal in these days, but
it has some advantages which no other method
of study possesses. It is sometimes said, you
might as well begin at the top shelf of your library
and read right through, as to begin at the beginning
of this library of sixty-six books and read right
through. To this it is a sufficient answer, If you
had a library that it was important to master as
a whole, that you might understand the separate
books in it, and that was as well arranged as the
Bible is, then this method of going through your
library would be excellent. The advantages of
studying in the Bible in course are: First, It is the
only method by which you will get an idea of the
Book as a whole. The more we know of the
86 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
Bible as a whole, the better prepared we are for
the understanding of any individual portion of it.
Second, It is the only method by which you are
likely to cover the whole Book, and so take in the
entire scope of God's revelation. It will be many a
long year before any man covers the whole Bible
by Book studies, or even by Topical studies. Every
part of God's word is precious, and there are
gems of truth hidden away in most unexpected
places, e. g., I Chron, iv: 10, we hit upon these
priceless gems by studying the Bible in course.
Third, It is the best method to enable one to get
hold of the unity of the Bible and its organic
character. Fourth, It is a great corrective to
one-sidedness and crankiness. The Bible is a
many sided book, it is Calvinistic and Arminian,
it is Trinitarian and Unitarian, it clearly teaches
the Deity of Christ and insists on His real
Humanity, it exalts faith and demands works, it
urges to victory through conflict and asserts most
vigorously that victory is won by faith, etc., etc.
If we become too much taken up with any one
line of truth in our Book or Topical studies, and
we are more than likely to, the daily study of the
Bible in course will soon bring us to some con-
trasted line of truth, and bring us back to our
proper balance. Some people go insane through
becoming too much occupied with a single line of
truth. The thoughtful study of the whole Bible
STUDY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER 87
is a great corrective to this tendency. It would
be well to have three methods of study in progress
at the same time: first, the study of some book;
second, the study of topics (perhaps topics sug-
gested by the book studies); third, the study of
the Bible in course. Every other method of
study should be supplemented by studying the
Bible in course. Some years ago I determined
to read the A. V. through every year, the R. V.
through every year, and the N. T. in Greek
through every year. It has proved exceedingly
profitable, and I would not willingly give it up.
A sixth method of study is closely related to
the fifth method and has advantages of its own
that will .appear as soon as the method is de-
scribed. It is studying the various portions of
the Bible in their Chronological Order. In this
way the Psalms are read in their historical set-
tings, as are prophecies, epistles, etc. The
whole Bible has been excellently arranged for
Chronological study in Miss Petrie's Clews to Holy
Writ. (American Tract Society.) The course
as outlined by Miss Petrie covers three years, and
there are questions given for study and examina-
THE STUDY OF THE BIBLE FOR PRACTICAL USEFUL-
NESS IN DEALING WITH MEN.
The seventh and last method of study is the
Study of the Bible for Practical Usefulness in
Dealing with Men.
To study the Bible in this way, make as com-
plete a classification as possible of all the classes
of men that one will meet. Write the names of
the various classes at the head of separate sheets
of paper or cards. Then begin the Bible and
read it through slowly, and when you come to a
passage that seems likely to prove useful in deal-
ing with any class write it down upon its appro-
priate sheet. Go through the Bible in this way.
It would be well to have a special Bible for this
purpose, and have different colored inks, or differ-
ent letters or symbols, to represent the different
classes, and underscore the texts with the proper
colored ink, or mark it with the appropriate
symbol. The results of the labors of others in
this line can be found in a number of books, such
as Munhall's Furnishing for Workers, Alexander
FOR PRACTICAL USEFULNESS 89
Paterson's Bible Manual for Christian Workers,
Drury's Hand-Book for Workers, and the Author's
Vest Pocket Companion for Christian Workers
and his book " How to Bring Men to Christ."
But the best book is the one you get up yourself.
The books mentioned will give you suggestions
how to do it. As a suggestion for beginning in the
work we give a list of classes of men, to which
you can add for yourself.
The careless and indifferent.
Those who wish to be saved but do not know
Those who know how to be saved but have diffi-
" I am too great a sinner."
" My heart is too hard."
" I must become better before I become a
" I am afraid I can't hold out."
" I am too weak."
" I. have tried before and failed."
" I can not give up my evil ways."
" I will be persecuted if I become a
" It will hurt my business."
" There is too much to give up."
" The Christian life is too hard."
" I am afraid of ridicule."
" I will lose my friends."
9O HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
" I have no feeling."
" I have been seeking Christ, but can not
" I have sinned away the day of grace."
" God won't receive me."
" I have committed the unpardonable sin."
"It is too late."
" Christians are so inconsistent."
" God seems to me unjust and cruel."
" There are so many things in the Bible
which I can't understand."
" There is some one I can't forgive."
Those who are cherishing false hopes.
The Hope of being saved by a righteous
The Hope that " God is too good to damn
The Hope of being saved by " trying to be a
The Hope of being saved, because " I feel
saved," or " I feel I am going to heaven."
The Hope of being saved by a profession of
religion, or church membership, or a
faith, that does not save from sin.
Those who lack assurance.
FOR PRACTICAL USEFULNESS 91
Those ivho wish to put off the decision.
The results of this work will be of incalculable
value. In the first place, you will get a new view
of how perfectly the Bible is adapted to every
man's need. In the second place, familiar pas-
sages of the Bible will get a new meaning as you
see their relation to the needs of men. The
Bible will become a very living book. In the
third place, in seeking food for others you will be
fed yourself. And in the fourth place, you will
get a vast amount of material to use in sermons,
Bible-readings, prayer meeting talks and personal
work. You will acquire a rare working knowl-
edge of the Bible.
FUNDAMENTAL CONDITIONS OF
PROFITABLE BIBLE STUDY.
THE FUNDAMENTAL CONDITIONS OF THE MOST
PROFITABLE BIBLE STUDY.
We have considered seven profitable methods
of Bible study. There is something, however,
in Bible study more important than the best
methods, that is, The Fundamental Conditions of
Profitable Study. The one who meets these con-
ditions will get more out of the Bible, while pur-
suing the poorest method, than the one who does
not meet them will, while pursuing the best
method. Many a one who is eagerly asking,
" What method shall I pursue in my Bible study ?"
needs something that goes far deeper than a new
and better method.
i . The first of the fundamental conditions of the
most profitable Bible study is the student must be
born again. The Bible is a spiritual book, it
" combines spiritual things with spiritual words "
(I Cor. ii: 13, R. V. Am. Ap.), and only a spir-
itual man can understand its deepest and most
characteristic and most precious teachings. " The
natural man receiveth not the things of the
96 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto
him; and he cannot know them, because they
are spiritually judged. " (I Cor. ii: 14, R. V.)
Spiritual discernment can be obtained in but
one way, by being born again. " Except a man
be born anew he cannot see the kingdom of
God." (John iii: 3, R. V.) No mere knowl-
edge of the human languages in which the
Bible was written, however extensive and accur-
ate it may be, will qualify one to understand and
appreciate the Bible. One must understand the
divine language in which it was written as well,
the language of the Holy Spirit^ A person who
understands the language of the Holy Spirit, but
who does not understand a word of Greek or
Hebrew or Aramiac, will get more out of the
Bible, than one, who knows all about Greek and
Hebrew and cognate languages, but is not born
again, and, consequently, does not understand
the language of the Holy Spirit. It is a well
demonstrated fact that many plain men and wo-
men who are entirely innocent of any knowledge
of the original tongues in which the Bible was
written, have a knowledge of the real contents
of the Bible, its actual teaching, in its depth
and fulness and beauty, that surpasses that of
many learned professors in theological facul-
ties. One of the greatest follies of the day,
is to set unregenerate men to teaching the Bible,
FUNDAMENTAL CONDITIONS 97
because of their rare knowledge of the human
forms of speech in which the book was written.
It would be as reasonable to set a man to teach
art because he had an accurate technical knowl-
edge of paints. It requires aesthetic sense to
make a man a competent teacher of art. It re-
quires spiritual sense to make a man a competent
teacher of the Bible. The man who had aesthetic
discernment, but little or no technical knowl-
edge of paint, would be a far more competent
critic of works of art, than a man, who had a great
technical knowledge of paint, but no aesthetic
discernment; and so the man who has no techni-
cal knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, but who
has spiritual discernment, is a far more compe-
tent critic of the Bible than the one who has a
rare technical knowledge of Greek and Hebrew,
but no spiritual discernment. It is exceedingly
unfortunate that, in some quarters, more emphasis
is laid upon a knowledge of Greek and Hebrew,
in training for the ministry, than is laid upon spir-
itual life and its consequent spiritual discernment.
Unregenerate men should not be forbidden to
study the Bible; for the Word of God is the in-
strument the Holy Spirit uses in the New Birth
(I Pet. i: 23; James i: 18): but it should be
distinctly understood, that, while there are teach-
ings in the Bible that the natural man can un-
derstand, and beauties which he can see, its
98 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
most distinctive and characteristic teachings are
beyond his grasp, and its highest beauties belong
to a world in which he has no vision. The first
fundamental condition of the most profitable
Bible study, is, then, " Ye must be born again."
You cannot study the Bible to the greatest profit
if you have not been born again. Its best treas-
ures are sealed to you.
2. The second condition of the most profitable
study is a love for the Bible. A man who eats
with an appetite, will get far more good out of
his meal than a man who eats from a sense of
duty. It is well when a student of the Bible can
say with Job, " I have treasured up the words of
his mouth more than my necessary food," (Job,
23: 12 R. V.) or with Jeremiah, " Thy words
were found and I did eat them; and thy words
were unto me a joy and the rejoicing of mine
heart; for I am called by thy name, O, Lord God
ofhosts." (Jer., 15: 16, R.V.) Many come to the
table God has spread in His word with no appe-
tite for spiritual food, and go mincing here and
there and grumbling about everything. Spiritual
indigestion lies at the bottom of much modern
criticism of the Bible. But how can one get a
love for the Bible ? First of all by being born
again. Where there is life there is likely to be
appetite. A dead man never hungers. This
brings us back to the first condition. But going
FUNDAMENTAL CONDITIONS 99
beyond this, the more there is of vitality the mare
there is of hunger. Abounding life means abound-
ing hunger for the Word. Study of the Word
stimulates love for the Word. The author can
well remember the time when he had more appe-
tite for books about the Bible than he had for
the Bible itself, but with increasing study there
has come increasing love for the Book. Bearing
in mind who the author of the Book is, what its
purpose is, what its power is, what the riches of
its contents are, will go far toward stimulating
a love and appetite for the Book.
3. The third condition is a willingness to do
hard work. Solomon has given a graphic pic-
ture of the Bible student who gets the most
profit out of his study, " My son, if thou wilt
receive my words, and lay up my commandments
with thee; so that thou incline thine ear unto
wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
yea, if thou cry after discernment, and lift up
thy voice for understanding; if thou seek her as
silver, and search for her as for hid treasures ;
THEN shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God." (Prov. ii: i-
5, R. V.) Now, seeking for silver and searching
for hid treasures, means hard work, and the one
who wishes to get not only the silver but the
gold as well out of the Bible, and find its " hid
treasures, " must make up his mind to dig. It is
IOO HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
not glancing at the word, or reading the word, but
studying the word, meditating upon the word,
pondering the word, that brings the richest yields.
The reason why many get so little out of their
Bible reading is simply because they are not
willing to think. Intellectual laziness lies at the
bottom of a large per cent, of fruitless Bible
reading. People are constantly crying for
new methods of Bible study, but what
many of them wish is simply some method of
Bible study by which they can get all the good
out of the Bible without work. If some one
could tell lazy Christians some method of Bible
study whereby they could put the sleepiest ten
minutes of the day, just before they go to bed,
into Bible study, and get the profit out of it that
God intends His children shall get out of the
study of His Word, that would be just what they
desire. But it can't be done. Men must be
willing to work and work hard, if they wish to dig
out the treasures of infinite wisdom and knowl-
edge and blessing which He has stored up in
His Word. A business friend once asked me in
a hurried call to tell him " in a word" how to
study his Bible. I replied, " Think." The Psalm-
ist pronounces that man " blessed " who " medi-
tates in the law of the Lord, day and night"
(Ps. i: 2.) The Lord commanded Joshua to
" meditate therein day and night," and assured
FUNDAMENTAL CONDITIONS IOI
him that as a result of this meditation " then
thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then
thou shalt have good success." (Josh, i: 8.)
Of Mary, the mother of Jesus, we read, " Mary
kept all these sayings, pondering them in her
heart." (Luke ii: 19, R. V.) In this way alone
can one study the Bible to the greatest profit.
One pound of beef well chewed and digested
and assimilated, will give more strength than tons
of beef merely glanced at; and one verse of script-
ure chewed and digested and assimilated, will
give more strength than whole chapters simply
skimmed. Weigh every word you read in the
Bible. Look at it. Turn it over and over. The
most familiar passages get a new meaning in this
way. Spend fifteen minutes on each word in Ps.
xxiii: I, or Phil, iv: 19, and see if it is not so.
4. The fourth condition is a will wholly sur-
rendered to God. Jesus said, " If any man will-
eth to do his will he shall know of the teaching."
(Jno. vii: 17, R. V.) A surrendered will gives
that clearness of spiritual vision which is neces-
sary to understand God's book. Many of the
difficulties and obscurities of the Bible rise wholly
from the fact that the will of the student is not
surrendered to the will of the author of the book.
It is remarkable how clear and simple and beau-
tiful passages, that once puzzled us, become when
we are brought to that place where we say to
102 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
God, " I surrender my will unconditionally to
Thine. I have no will but Thine. Teach me
Thy will." A surrendered will will do more to
make the Bible an open book than a university
education. It is simply impossible to get the
largest profit out of your Bible study until you
do surrender your will to God. You must be
very definite about this. There are many who
say, " Oh, yes, my will, I think, is surrendered
to God," and yet it is not. They have never
gone alone with God and said intelligently and
definitely to him, " O God, I here and now
give myself up to Thee, for Thee to command me,
and lead me, and shape me, and send me, and do
with me, absolutely as Thou wilt." Such an act
is a wonderful key to unlock the treasure house
of God's Word. The Bible becomes a new book
when a man does that. Doing that wrought a
complete transformation in the author's theology
and life and ministry.
5. The fifth condition is very closely related
to the fourth. The student of the Bible who would
get the greatest profit out of his studies must be
obedient to its teachings as soon as he sees them.
It was good advice James gave to early Christians,
and to us, " Be ye doers of the word, and not
hearers only, deceiving your ownselves. " There
are a good many, who consider themselves Bible
students, who are deceiving themselves in this
FUNDAMENTAL CONDITIONS 1 03
way to-day. They see what the Bible teaches,
but they do not do it, and they soon lose their
power to see it. Truth obeyed leads to more
truth. Truth disobeyed destroys the capacity
for discovering truth. There must be not only a
general surrender of the will, but specific practi-
cal obedience to each new word of God discov-
ered. There is no place where the law, " unto
every one that hath shall be given, and he shall
have abundance; but from him that hath not
shall be taken away even that which he hath,"
is more joyously certain on the one hand and
more sternly inexorable on the other, than in the
matter of using or refusing the truth revealed in
the Bible. Use, and you get more; refuse, and
you lose all. Do not study the Bible for the
mere gratification of intellectual curiosity, but to
find out how to live and to please God. What-
ever duty you find commanded in the Bible, do
it at once. Whatever good you see in any Bible
character, imitate it immediately. Whatever mis-
take you note in the actions of Bible men and
women, scrutinize your own life to see if you are
making the same mistake, and if you find you
are, correct it forthwith. James compares the
Bible to a looking glass. (Jas. i: 23, 24). The
chief good of a looking glass, is to show you if
there is anything out of fix about you, and, if you
find there is, you can set it right. Use the Bible in
104 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
that way. Obeying the truth you already see,
will solve the enigmas in the verses you do not
as yet understand. Disobeying the truth you see,
darkens the whole world of truth. This is the
secret of much of the scepticism and error of the
day. Men saw the truth, but did not do it, now
it is gone. I knew a bright and promising young
minister. He made rapid advancement in the
truth. He took very advanced ground upon one
point especially, and the storm came. One day
he said to his wife, " It is very nice to believe
this, but we need not speak so much about it."
They began, or he, at least, to hide their testi-
mony. The wife died and he drifted. The Bible
became to him a sealed book. Faith reeled.
He publicly renounced his faith in some of the
fundamental truths of the Bible. He seemed to
lose his grip even on the doctrine of immortality.
What was the cause of it all ? Truth not lived
and stood for, flees. That man is much admired
and applauded by some to-day, but daylight has
given place to darkness in his soul.
6. The sixth condition is a child-like mind.
God reveals His deepest truths to babes. No age
needs more than our own to lay to heart the
words of Jesus, " I thank thee, O Father, Lord of
Heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these
things from the wise and prudent, and has re-
vealed them unto babes. " (Matt, xi: 25.) Where-
FUNDAMENTAL CONDITIONS 1 05
in must we be babes if God is to reveal His truth
unto us, and we 'are to understand His Word?
A child is not full of its own wisdom. It recog-
nizes its ignorance and is ready to be taught. It
does not oppose its own notions and ideas to those
of its teachers. It is in that spirit we should
come to the Bible, if we are to get the most profit
out of our study. Do not come to the Bible full
of your own ideas, and seeking from it a confirma-
tion of them. Come rather to find out what are
God's ideas as He has revealed them there. Come
not to find a confirmation of your own opinion,
but to be taught what God may be pleased to
teach. If a man comes to the Bible just to find
his notions taught there, he will find them; but if
he comes, recognizing his own ignorance, just as
a little child, to be taught, he will find something
infinitely better than his own notions, even the
mind of God. We see why it is that many per-
sons cannot see things which are plainly taught
in the Bible. The doctrine taught is not their
notion, of which they are so full that there is no
room left for that which the Bible actually
teaches. We have an illustration of this in the
apostles themselves at one stage in their training.
In Mark ix: 31 we read " he taught his disciples,
and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered
into the hands of men, and they shall kill Him;
and after that he is killed, he shall rise the
106 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
third day." Now, that is as plain and definite as
language can make it, but it was utterly contrary
to the notions of the apostles as to what was to
happen to the Christ. So we read in the next
verse " they understood not that saying." Is not
that wonderful ? But is it any more wonderful
than our own inability to comprehend plain state-
ments in the Bible when they run counter to
our preconceived notions? What trouble many
Christians find with portions of the Sermon on
the Mount, that would be plain enough, if we just
came to Christ like a child to be taught what to
believe and do, rather rather than coming as full
grown men, who already know it all, and who must
find some interpretations of Christ's words that
will fit into our mature and infallible philosophy.
Many a man is so full of an unbiblical the-
ology he has been taught, that it takes him
a lifetime to get rid of it, and understand the
clear teaching of the Bible. " Oh, what can
this verse mean?" many a bewildered man
cries. Why, it means what it plainly says; but
what you are after is not the meaning God has
manifestly put into it, but the meaning you can by
some ingenious trick of exegesis twist out of it,
and make it fit into your scheme. Don't come
to the Bible to find out what you can make it
mean, but to find out what God intended it to
mean. Men often miss the real truth of a verse
by saying, " But that can be interpreted this
way." Oh, yes, so it can, but is that the way
God intended it to be interpreted ? We all need
to pray often, if we would get the most profit out
of our Bible study, " Oh, God, make me a little
child. Empty me of my own notions. Teach
me thine own mind. Make me ready like a little
child to receive all that thou hast to say, no mat-
ter how contrary it is to what I have thought
hitherto." How the Bible opens up to one who
approaches it in that way! How it closes up to
the wise fool, who thinks he knows everything,
and imagines he can give points to Peter and
Paul, and even to Jesus Christ and to God Him-
self! Some one has well said the best method of
Bible study is " the baby method." I was once
talking with a ministerial friend about what
seemed to be the clear teaching of a certain pas-
sage. " Yes, " he replied, " but that doesn't agree
with my philosophy. " Alas! But this man was
sincere, yet he did not have the child-like spirit,
which is anessentialcondition of the most profit-
able Bible study. But there are many who ap-
proach the Bible in the same way. It is a great
point gained in Bible study when we are brought
to realize that an infinite God knows more than
we, that indeed our highest wisdom is less than
the knowledge of the most ignorant babe com-
pared with His, and when we come to Him as
IO8 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
babes, just to be taught by Him, and not to argue
with Him. But we so easily and so constantly
forget this, that every time we open our Bibles we
would do well to get down humbly before God
and say, " Father, I am but a child, teach me."
This leads to the seventh condition.
7. The seventh condition of studying the
Bible to the greatest profit is, that we study it as
the -word of God. The Apostle Paul, in writing
to the Church of the Thessalonians, thanked God
without ceasing that when they received the word
of God they " accepted it not as the word of men,
but as it is in truth the word of God." (IThess.
ii: 13, R. V.) Well might he thank God for that,
and well may we thank God when we get to the
place where we receive the word of God as the
word of God. Not that the one who does not be-
lieve the Bible is the word of God should be dis-
couraged from studying it. Indeed, one of the
best things that one who does not believe
that the Bible is the word of God can do,
if he is honest, is to study it. The author
of this book once doubted utterly that the
Bible was the word of God, and the firm
confidence that he has to-day that the Bible is
the Word of God, has come more from the study
of the book itself than from anything else. Those
who doubt it are more usually those who study
about the book, than those who dig into the actual
FUNDAMENTAL CONDITIONS 1 09
teachings of the book itself. But while the best
book of Christian evidences is the Bible, and
while the most utter sceptic should be encouraged
to study it, we will not get the largest measure
of profit out of that study until we reach the
point where we become convinced that the Bible
is God's Word, and when we study it as such.
There is a great difference between believing
theoretically that the Bible is God's Word and
studying it as God's Word. Thousands would
tell you that they believed the Bible is God's
Word, who do not study it as God's Word.
Studying the Bible as the Word of God involves
four things, (i) First, it involves the unques-
tioning acceptance of its teachings when definitely
ascertained, even when they may appear unreason-
able or impossible. Reason demands that we
submit our judgment and reasonings to the state-
ments of infinite wisdom. There is nothing more
irrational than rationalism, which makes the finite
wisdom the test of infinite wisdom, and submits the
teachings of God's omniscience to the approval
of man's judgment. It is the sublimest and
absurdest conceit that says, " This cannot be
true, though God says it, for it does not approve
itself to my reason." " Nay, but, O man, who
art thou that repliest against God ? " (Rom.
ix: 20.) Real human wisdom, when it finds
infinite wisdom, bows before it and says,
110 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
" Speak what thou wilt and I will believe."
When we have once became convinced that the
Bible is God's Word, its teachings must be the
end of all controversy and discussion. A " thus
saith the Lord " will settle every question. Yet
there are many who profess to believe that the
Bible is the Word of God, and if you show them
what the Bible clearly teaches on some disputed
point, they will shake their heads and say, " Yes,
but I think so and so," or " Doctor , or
Prof, this, or our church don't teach that
way." There is little profit in that sort of Bible
study. (2) Studying the Bible as the word of
God involves, in the second place, absolute reli-
ance upon all its promises in all their length and
breadth. The man who studies the Bible as
the word of God, will not discount any one of its
promises one iota. The one who studies the
Bible as the word of God will say, " God who
cannot lie has promised," and will not try to
make God a liar by trying to make one of his
promises mean less than it says. The one who
studies the Bible as the word of God, will be on
the lookout for promises, and as soon as he finds
one he will seek to ascertain just what it means,
and, as soon as he discovers, he will step right
out upon that promise, and risk everything upon
its full import. That is one of the secrets of
profitable Bible study. Be hunting for promises
.FUNDAMENTAL CONDITIONS III
and appropriate them as fast as you find them
this is done by meeting the conditions and risking
all upon them. That is the way to make your
own all the fulness of blessing God has for you.
This is the key to all the treasures of God's grace.
Happy is the man who has so learned to study
the Bible as God's word, that he is ready to
claim for himself every new promise as it ap-
pears, and to risk everything upon it. (3) Study-
ing the Bible as the Word of God involves, in
the third place, obedience prompt, exact obedi-
ence, without asking any questions to its every
precept. Obedience may seem hard, it may
seem impossible, but God has bidden it and I
have nothing to do but to obey, and leave the
results with God. If you would get the very
most profit out of your Bible study resolve that
from this time you will claim every clear prom-
ise and obey every plain command, and that as
to the promises and commands whose import is
not yet clear you will try to get their meaning
made clear. (4) Studying the Bible as the
word of God involves, in the fourth place, study-
ing it as in God's presence. When you read a
verse of scripture hear the voice of the living
God speaking directly to you in these written
words. There is new power and attract-
iveness in the Bible when you have learned to
hear a living, present person, God, our Father,
112 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
Himself talking directly to you in these
words. One of the most fascinating and inspir-
ing statements in the Bible is " Enoch walked
with God." (Gen. v: 24.) We can have God's
glorious companionship any moment we please,
by simply opening His Word and letting the living
and ever present God speak to us through it.
With what holy awe and strange and unutterable
joy one studies the Bible if he studies it in this
way! It is heaven come down to earth.
8. The eighth and last condition of the most
profitable Bible study is Prayerfulness. The
Psalmist prayed " Open thou mine eyes, that I
may behold wondrous things out of thy law."
(Ps. cxix: 1 8.) Every one who desires to get the
greatest profit out of his Bible study, needs to
offer that or a similar prayer every time he un-
dertakes the study of the word. Few keys open
so many caskets that contain hidden treasure as
prayer. Few clews unravel so many difficulties.
Few microscopes will disclose so many beauties
hidden from the eye of the ordinary observer.
What new light often shines from an old familiar
text as you bend over it in prayer! I believe in
studying the Bible a good deal on your knees.
When one reads an entire book through upon his
knees and this is easily done that book has a
new meaning and becomes a new book. One
ought never to open the Bible to read it without
FUNDAMENTAL CONDITIONS 113
at least lifting the heart to God in silent prayer
that He will interpret it, illumine its pages by the
light of His Spirit. It is a rare privilege to study
any book under the immediate guidance and in-
struction of its author, and this is the privilege
of us all in studying the Bible. When one comes
to a passage that is difficult to understand or
difficult to interpret, instead of giving it up, or
rushing to some learned friend, or to some com-
mentary, he should lay that passage before God,
and ask Him to explain it to him, pleading God's
promise, " if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask
of GOD, that giveth to all men liberally, and
upraideth not, and it shall be given him. But
let him ask in faith, nothing doubting." (Jas. i:
5, 6, R. V.) It is simply wonderful how the
seemingly most difficult passages become plain
by this treatment. Harry Morehouse, one of the
most remarkable Bible scholars among unlearned
men, used to say, that whenever he came to a
passage in the Bible which he could not under-
stand, he would search through the Bible for
some other passage that threw light upon it, and
lay it before God in prayer, and that he had
never found a passage that did not yield to this
treatment. The author of this book has had a
quite similar experience. Some years ago I was
making with a friend a tour afoot of the
Franconian Switzerland, and visiting some of
I 14 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
the more famous zoolithic caves. One
day the country letter-carrier stopped us,
and asked if we would not like to see a cave of
rare beauty and interest, away from the beaten
tracks of travel. Of course, we said, yes. He
led us through the woods and underbrush to the
mouth of the cave, and we entered. All was dark
and uncanny. He expatiated greatly on the
beauty of the cave, telling us of altars and fan-
tastic formations, but we could see absolutely
nothing. Now and then he uttered a note to
warn us to have a care, as near our feet lay a
gulf the bottom of which had never been dis-
covered. We began to have a fear that we
might be the first discoverers of the bottom.
There was nothing pleasant about the whole
affair. But as soon as a magnesian taper was
lighted, all became different. There were the
stalagmites rising from the floor to meet the
stalactites as they came down from the ceiling.
There was the great altar of nature, that peasant
fancy ascribed to the skill of ancient worshipers,
there were the beautiful and fantastic formations
on every hand, and all glistening in fairy-like
beauty in the brilliant light. So I have often
thought it was with many a passage of Scripture.
Others tell you of its beauty, but you cannot see
it. It looks dark and intricate and forbidding
and dangerous, but when God's own light is
kindled there by prayer, how different all be-
comes in an instant. You see a beauty that
language cannot express, and that those alone can
appreciate who have stood there in the same
light. He who would understand and love his
Bible must be much in prayer. Prayer will do
more than a college education to make the Bible
an open and a glorious book. Perhaps the best
lesson I learned in a German university, where I
had the privilege of receiving the instruction of
one of the most noted and most gifted Bible
teachers of any age, was that which came through
the statement of the famulus of this professor,
that Professor Delitzsch worked out much of his
teaching upon his knees.
CHAPTER 1 1.
There are some suggestions that remaia to be
given before we close this book.
i . Study the Bible daily. Regularity counts
for more in Bible study than most people fancy.
The spasmodic student, who at certain seasons
gives a great deal of time to the study of the
Word, and at other seasons quite neglects it, even
for days at a time, does not achieve the results
that he does who plods on regularly day by day.
The Bereans were wise as well as " noble " in
that they " searched the scriptures daily." (Acts,
xvii: n; see also R. V.) A man who is well
known among the Christian college students of
America, once remarked at a student convention,
that he had been at many conventions and had
received great blessings from them, but the
greatest blessing he had ever received was from
a convention where there were only four persons
gathered together. The blessing had come to
him in this way. These four had covenanted
together to spend a certain portion of every day
in Bible study. Since that day much of his
time had been spent on the cars or in hotels and
at conventions, but he had tried to keep that
covenant, and the greatest blessing that had
come to him in his Christian life had come
through this daily study of the Word. No one
who has not tried it realizes how much can be
accomplished by setting apart a fixed portion of
each day, (it may not be more than fifteen or
thirty minutes, but it surely should be an hour)
for Bible study, and keeping it sacredly for that
purpose under all circumstances. Many will say
I cannot spare the time. It will be time saved.
Lord Cairnes, one of the busiest as well as
most eminent men of his day, before his death
testified, that the first two hours of every day
were given to the study of the Bible and prayer,
and he attributed the great achievements of his
life to that fact. It will not do to study the
Bible only when we feel like it. It will not do to
study the Bible only when we have leisure. We
must have fixed principles and habits in this
matter, if we are to study the Bible to the greatest
profit. Nothing that we do will be more import-
ant than our Bible study, and it cannot give way
to other less important things. What regularity in
eating is to physical life, regularity in Bible study
is to spiritual life. Fix upon some time, even if
it is no more than fifteen minutes to start with,
Il8 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
and hold to it until you are ready to set a longer
2. Select for your Bible study the best portion
of the day that you can give to it. Do not put
your Bible study off until nearly bed-time, when
the mind is drowsy. It is well to take a parting
verse for the day when one retires for the night,
but this is not the time for study. No study de-
mands all that there is in a man as Bible study
does. Do not take the time immediately after a
heavy meal. The mind is more or less torpid
after a heavy meal, and it is unwise to put it on
the stretch then. It is almost the unanimous
opinion of those who have given this subject
careful attention, that the early hours of the day
are the best for Bible study, if they can be
secured free from interruption. It is well,
wherever possible, to lock yourself in and lock
the world out, when you are about to give your-
self up to the study of the Bible.
3. In all your Bible study look for Christ in
the passage under examination. We read of
Jesus that " beginning at Moses and all the
prophets, he expounded unto them in all the
Scriptures the things concerning HIMSELF."
(Luke xxiv: 27.) Jesus Christ is the subject of
the whole Bible and the subject pervades the
book. Some of the seemingly driest portions of
the Bible became instinct with a new life when
FINAL SUGGESTIONS IIQ
we learn to see Christ in them. I remember in
my early reading of the Bible what a stupid book
Leviticus seemed, but it all became different
when I learned to see Jesus in the various offer-
ings and sacrifices, in the high-priest and his
garments, in the tabernacle and its furniture,
indeed everywhere. Look for Christ in every
verse you study, and even the genealogies and
catalogues of the names of towns will begin to
have beauty and power.
4. Memorize Scripture. The Psalmist said,
" Thy word have I laid up in mine heart, that I
might not sin against thee. " (Ps. cxix: n, R.V.)
There is nothing better to keep one from sin-
ning than this. By the word of God laid up in
His heart Jesus overcame the tempter. (Matt.
iv: 4, 7, 10.) But the word of God laid up in
the heart is good for other purposes than victory
over sin. It is good to meet and expose error; it
is good to enable one " to speak a word in season
to him that is weary," (Is. 1:4.) It is good for
manifold uses, even " that the man of God may
be complete, furnished completely unto every
good work." (II Tim. iii: 17, R. V.) Memorize
scripture by chapter and verse. It is quite as
easy as merely memorizing the words, and it is
immeasurably more useful for practical purposes.
Memorize the scripture in systematic form. Do
not have a chaotic heap of texts in the mind, but
120 HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
pigeon-hole under appropriate titles the scripture
you store in memory. Then you can bring it out
when you need it, without racking your brains.
There are many men who can stand up without
a moment's warning, and talk coherently and
cogently and scripturally, on any vital theme;
because they have a vast fund of wisdom in the
form of scripture texts stored away in their mind
in systematic form.
5. Finally, utilize spare moments in the study
of the Bible. In most men's lives there is a vast
amount of wasted time. Time spent in traveling
on the street cars and railroads; time spent in
waiting for persons with whom they have engage-
ments; time spent in waiting for meals, etc.,
etc. Most of this can be utilized in Bible study,
if one carries with him a pocket Bible or pocket
Testament. Or one can utilize it in meditation
upon texts stored away in memory. Many of
the author's sermons and addresses are worked
out in that way. It is said that Henry Ward
Beecher read one of the larger histories of
England through while waiting day after day for
his meals to be brought on to the table. How
many books of the Bible could be studied in the
same time ? A friend once told me that the man
who had, in some respects, the most extraordi-
nary knowledge of the Bible of any man he
knew, was a junk dealer in a Canadian city. This
FINAL SUGGESTIONS 121
man had a Bible open on his shelves and in in-
tervals of business he was pondering the Book of
God. The book became very black by handling
in such surroundings, but I have little doubt his
soul became correspondingly white. There is no
economy that pays as does economy of time,
but there is no way of economizing time so thriftily
as putting the moments that are going to waste
into the study of or meditation upon the word of
Printed by BALI.ANTYNE, HANSON &> Co.
Edinburgh r> London
A SELECT LIST FROM
JAMES NISBET & CO.'S
A complete lift will be forwarded, post free, on application
to the Publishers.
FRANCES RIDLEY HAVERGAL.
32mo, Is. 6d.
UNDER THE SURFACE.
UNDER THE SHADOW.
THE MINISTRY OF SONQ.
THE ROYAL INVITATION.
KEPT FOR THE MASTER'S USE.
STARLIGHT THROUGH THE SHADOWS.
MORNING BELLS ; or, Waking Thought* for the Little
Ones. Paper coyer, 6d.
LITTLE PILLOWS. Being Good Night Thoughts for the
Little One*. Paper cover, 6d.
MORNING STARS; or, Names of Chrirt for Hia Little
MEMORIALS OF FRANCES RIDLEY HAVERGAL. By
her SISTER. Grown 8vo, 60. Cheap Edition, doth, li. 6d. ; ppw
Devotional and Practical
By R. A. TORREY,
OF MB. MOODT'S BlBLl ISSTITUTB, CHICAGO.
HOW TO WORK. Demy 8vo, 7s. 6d.
" A timely production just the volume for thete day* of ' united mutton*,'
'great campaign*,' and 'national crusades.' . . . We thould like to tee it in
the hand* of every Church member, at well at minuter." CHRISTIAN COM-
THE GIST OF THE LESSONS FOR 1903. Long pott
8ro, Is. net. Paper coven, 9J. net.
" For the bury teacher , , . the book it most valuable." THE FRHND.
HOW TO PRAY. Crown 8ro, Is. 6d. ; paper covers, 6d. net.
THE DIVINE ORIGIN OF THE BIBLE. Crown 8vo,
" The pages are impressive in fact and strong in argument such a book
was wanted." THE CHRISTIAN.
WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES. Demy 8vo, 7s. 6d.
" A really remarkable book. The very simplicity of the method helping to a
clear understanding of the doctrine treated." Tux RECORD.
HOW TO OBTAIN FULNESS OF POWER. Crown 8vo,
" The volume thould prove invaluable to seekers after fruitfulness."Tux
HOW TO BRING MEN TO CHRIST. Crown 8vo, Is. 6d.
HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE FOR GREATEST
PROFIT. Crown 8vo, Is. 6d.
" Every word tells and conveys precious facts of persistent Bible research . . .
we warmly commend this admirable little compendium." SWORD AND
THE BAPTISM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. Crown
" Helpful to all who desire to make their Christian ditciplethip a reality."
Turn CHRISTIAN CHURCH.
THE VEST POCKET COMPANION FOR CHRISTIAN
WORKERS. In Leather, Is. net.
"A capital little book for workers." Tm BOOK.
Published by James Nisbet $ Co., Limited.
By FRANCES A. BEVAN.
COME 1 Gospel Hymns. Crown 8vo, Is. 6d.
HYMNS OF TER STEEGEN, SUSO, AND OTHERS.
FIRST Siuinta. Crown Svo, Is. 6<L
"The literary quality of many of the hymns will be welcoma to many
loren of sacred poetry." Manehuttr ffa*rdi*n.
"The Tertifi cation la rood, and many of the hymn* are worthy of a
recognised place in English Hymnology." Aktrdtm Fret Prttt.
HYMNS OF TER STEEGEN AND OTHERS. SBOOD
SBKIES. Crown 8vo, IE. 6<L
"A Tolum of Tery choice pieces." T)u tfiriitia*.
" Choicely printed Tolume, sure to be prized highly as a gift book . . .
remarkable for sweetness and the strength of its sober exaltatioa." Jork-
MATELDA AND THE CLOISTER OF HELLFDE.
Translations from the Book of Matilda of Magdeburg (supposed
to be Dante's Matilda). Crown Svo, 2s. 6d.
TREES PLANTED BY THE RIYER. Crown Svo, 4s. 6d.
"This excellent book will commend itself to many a contemplative
Christian during hours of quiet communiou with his own soul and with
God." Christian Commonwta.lt\.
' A deeply interesting book." Aberdeen frtt Frui.
THREE FRIENDS OF GOD. Records from the Lives of
JOHN TAULEE, NICHOLAS or BASLK, HSKBT Suso. Crown
"Fascinating glimpses of the strange religious life of mediwral Europe.
No student of history and human nature can fail to be interested by this
book, while to pious minds it will bring stimulus and edification." Scttm*.
" The simplicity and austerity of life of these great men art depicted with
graphle and sympathetic touoh." Crurt JturntL
Workt Devotional and Practical
By the Rev. J. REID HOWATT.
THE CHILDREN'S PREACHER A Year's Addresse*
and Parables for the Young. Crown STO, 2s. 6d.
A NIGHT IN BETHLEHEM FIFTY YEARS AFTER.
Freely Rendered. Long fcap. 8vo, Is. sewn ; Is. 6d. oloth.
THE CHILDREN'S PEW. Sermons to Children. Crown
8vo, 2>. 6d.
THE CHILDREN'S PULPIT. A Year's Sermons and
Parables for the Young. Grown STO, 2s. 6d.
THE CHILDREN'S ANGEL. Being a Volume of Sermons
to Children. Crown 8vo, 2s, 6d.
FAITH'S STRONG FOUNDATIONS. Small crown 8ro, Is.
YOUTH'S IDEALS. Small crown 8vo, la.
"Bo bright and cheerful, to clerer and well written, yet so full of deep
Christian earnestness, that we would like to see it circulated by tens of
thousands," The Ken Aye.
AFTER HOURS ; or, The Religion of Our Leisure Time.
With Appendix on How to Form a Library for Twenty Shillings.
Small crown STO, Is.
AGNOSTIC FALLACIES. Crown 8vo, Is.
" Mr. Howatt has succeeded remarkably well in the five lectures before ui.
They are plain, straightforward, logical, and eminently to the point"
THE CHILDREN'S PRAYER BOOK : Devotions for the
Use of the Young for One Month. Cloth extra, pott STO, Is.
LIFE WITH A PURPOSE. A Book for Girl* and Young
Crown STO, 1*.
Published by James Nitbet $ Co., Limited.
THE BIBLICAL LIBRARY.
A Series of Volumes on Biblical Subjects written by able and well-
known scholars, and designed so that, whilit helpful to the
student, they will be of great interest to the general reader.
Full orown 8vo, SB. 6d. each.
THE HERODS. By the Very Rer. F. W. FARBAB, D.D.
F.R.S., Dean of Canterbury.
WOMEN OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: STUDIES IN
WOMANHOOD. By the Rev. R. F. HOHTON, M.A., D.D.
THE HISTORY OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY. By Rev.
LMGHTOH PULLAN, of Oxford Unireriity.
WOMEN OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. By Rer. Pro-
fessor W. F. ADBTKT.
THE FAITH OF CENTURIES. By the BISHOP OF
ROOHESTKB, the BISHOP or CALCUTTA, Bishop BAKBT, Canon
Soon HOLLAND, Professor BTLB, and others.
By the Rev. GEORGE MATHESON, D.D.
TIMES OF RETIREMENT. A Volume of Devotional
Readings. Orown 8vo, 3s. 6d.
MOMENTS ON THE MOUNT. A Series of Devotional
Meditations. Orown 8vo, 8s. 6d.
VOICES OF THE SPIRIT. Small crown 8vo, 3s. 6d,
By the Rev. JAMES WELLS, M.A.
BIBLE OBJECT LESSONS. Addresses to Children. With
Illustrations. Orown STO, 2s. 6d.
BIBLE ECHOES. Addressee to the Young. Orown 8ro,
THE PARABLES OF JESUS. Crown 8ro, 2a. 6d.
Works Devotional and Practical
By the Rev. A. T. PIERSON, D.D.
THE MODERN MISSION CENTURY. A Review of the
Minions of the Nineteenth Century with Reference to the Super-
intending Providence of God. Large crown STO, 6s.
GE9RGE MULLER OF BRISTOL. With 13 full-page
illustration*. Crown 8ro, 2s. 6d. net.
THE NEW ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. Being Lecture.!
on Foreign Missions delivered tinder the Duff Endowment.
With Coloured Chart, showing the Religions of the World and
the Progress of Evangelisation. Extra crown 8vo, 6s.
" As a repertory of missionary facts and arguments, this work Is as deeply
interesting as the style is truly enthusiastic, and we bespeak for it a wide
circle of readers, whom it will assuredly stimulate to increased seal in sending
the Go.pel throughout the world." C/irutian.
" Such a work as this ought greatly to help in the evangelisation of the
whole world." Sword and Trowel.
" Emphatically the handbook of Missions.'* Prubyierian.
THE CRISIS OF MISSIONS; OR, THE VOICE our OF
TBI CLOUD. Small crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.
"A book full of the right kind of inspiration. A book emphatically for
the times." Chrittian CommonvttUth.
THE ONE GOSPEL ; OR, THE COMBINATION OF THE
NAHRATITK8 OF THI FOUR EVANOILIBTS IK C>NB COKPLBTB
RKOORD. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d.
" It is a skilful mosaic of the four Gospels in one design.* Sock.
By FREDERICK A. ATKINS,
Editor of " The Young Man," and Hon. Sec. of the National
ASPIRATION AND ACHIEVEMENT. A Young Man's
Message to Toung Men. Small crown 8vo, Is.
Dr. U. F. HORTON writes : " I have rarely read a more salutary book."
MORAL MUSCLE : AND How TO USE IT. A Brotherly
Chat with Toung Men. By F. A. ATKINS, Editor of "The
Young Man." With an Introduction by Rev. THAIN DAVIDSON,
D.D. Small crown 8vo, Is.
Dr. CLIFFORD writes: "It is full of life, throbs with energy, is rich in
stimulus, and bright with hope."
FIRST BATTLES, AND HOW TO FIGHT THEM. By
F. A. ATKINS, Editor of ' ' The Young Man. " Small ero wn five, Is.
"Another of Mr. Atkins' capital little books for young men." JriluA
University of California
SOUTHERN REGIONAL LIBRARY FACILITY
405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1388
Return this material to the library
from which It was borrowed.
A 000 047 977 4