II Chronicles 25:1,2
Amaziah was twenty and five years old when he began to reign…and he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD but not with a perfect heart.
EDWARD PAYSON (1783-1827): God looks at motives.
A. W. TOZER (1897-1963): The test by which all conduct must be finally judged is motive.
JOSEPH ALLEINE (1634-1668): Oh! how many a poor soul is undone by this, and drops into hell before he discerns his mistake! He performs his “good duties” and so thinks all is well, but does not perceive that he is actuated by carnal motives all the while.
LORD SHAFTESBURY (1801-1885): II Chronicles! The older I am, the more I love that book! It should be studied, weighed, and prayed over by every man in public life.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): I have sometimes heard very foolish professors speak slightingly of the historical parts of Scripture. Remember that the historical books were almost the only Scriptures possessed by the early saints; and from those they learned the mind of God. David sang the blessedness of the man who delighted in law of the Lord, yet he had only the first five books, and, perhaps, Joshua, Judges, and Ruth, all books of history, in which to meditate day and night. The psalmist himself spoke most lovingly of these books, which were the only statutes and testimonies of the Lord to him, with, perhaps, the addition of the Book of Job…If rightly viewed, the histories of the Old Testament are full of instruction. They supply us both with warnings and examples in the realm of practical morals.
ROBERT HALDANE (1764-1842): In those histories, the thoughts and secret motives of men are often unfolded…Was any one but the Searcher of hearts competent to do this?
RICHARD STEELE (1629-1692): Some parts abound with the most entertaining histories, which are the more instructive, as they not only relate the external actions of men, but the internal motives from whence the actions proceeded, free from all fiction and falsehood.
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): And the sacred writers always show their impartiality. They always record things just as they occurred, regardless of consequences; their only aim is truth.
C. H. SPURGEON: The Bible is nearly made up of biography. The parables are studies of character. Some of the characters are very complex; Balaam, for instance. His knowledge was with God, but his will was with riches. He teaches us that a man may be very near to an angel and yet a devil, and all the worse a devil. We have seen more good in some bad men than in other good ones.
WILLIAM JAY: Biography is a species of history peculiarly interesting and useful. And in this the Bible excels. The sacred writers describe to the very life. They fear no displeasure; they conceal no imperfection; they spare no censure. And while they discover their impartiality, they equally prove their wisdom and prudence. This appears from the examples they delineate. What are philosophers, politicians, heroes, the generality of mankind? They may indulge curiosity, but they cannot furnish motives, encouragements, cautions. But here we are led into private life; we contemplate ordinary scenes; we see goodness in our own relations and circumstances; we behold blemishes which we are to avoid, excellencies which we are to pursue, advantages which we are to acquire.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): The Word of God affords a history in miniature of the heart of man.
WILLIAM JAY: God has a people for His name in all ages. And Christians stand in the same relation to Him now, as the Jews of old. And are we better than they? In no wise. And were not God’s dealings with them designed to be typical of His dealings with us? They were: and in reading their history, we may peruse our own.
DINSDALE T. YOUNG (1861-1938): There is no ancient history in the Bible.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): When the Spirit is illuminating the page and our minds at the same time, as He does with a child [of God], the first thing you’re conscious of is that the Bible after all is speaking to you. When you read about the Pharisees, you’re not reading about people who lived two thousand years ago, you feel you’re reading about yourself. And when you read about some of these characters in the Old Testament, David and so on, you’re not reading a history book, you’re reading about yourself. You say, “That’s me! It’s all very well; it looks terrible in David, but I’ve got that sort of thing in me.”
D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): If you want to read your own biography, you need not write it yourself. Turn to the third chapter of Romans, and it is all there written by a man who knows a good deal more about us than we do about ourselves.