Orderly, Systematic & Profitable Bible Reading

Deuteronomy 32:46; Acts 8:30
       Set your heart unto all the words which I testify among you this day.
       Understandest thou what thou readest?

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Set your heart to read all these words.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Our approach to the Bible is something which is of vital importance…We should not read the Scriptures merely in order that we may say that we have read our daily portion, and so have done our duty.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Some read it traditionally, because their parents and grandparents read a portion each day.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: That is no reason for reading the Scriptures. The devil will encourage people to read the Bible, as long as he can encourage them to read it very superficially at the same time. As long as they’ve read their little daily portion, and feel all is well whether they’ve understood it or not, the devil is really very happy. They say, “I’ve read my Scriptures; I know my Scriptures.” But they don’t know the truth. It’s the truth alone, it’s this understanding, it’s getting down to the doctrine, digging down to the depths!

WILLIAM JAY: Set your heart to understand all these words. “Let him that readeth understand,” Mark 13:14. Without this, the perusal will be little more than a mere mechanical exercise.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Read all the Bible, and read it in an orderly way. I fear there are many parts of the Word which some people never read at all. This is to say the least, a very presumptuous habit. “All Scripture is profitable,” 2 Timothy 3:16. To this habit may be traced that want of broad, well-proportioned views of truth, which is so common in this day.

GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): Leaving out some chapters here and there is practically saying, that certain portions are better than others; or, that there are certain parts of revealed truth are unprofitable or unnecessary

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Is there any part of what the Lord has written which you have never read? I was struck with my brother Archibald Brown’s observation that he bethought himself that unless he read the Scriptures through from one end to the other end there might be inspired teachings which had never been known to him, and so he resolved to read the books in their order; and, having done so once, he continued the habit. Have we, any of us, omitted to do this?

J. C. RYLE: Some people’s Bible-reading is a system of perpetual dipping and picking. They do not seem to have an idea of regularly going through the whole book.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): I know not a better rule of reading the Scripture, than to read it through from beginning to end; and, when we have finished it once, to begin it again. We shall meet with many passages which we can make little improvement of, but not so many in second reading as in the first, and fewer in the third than in the second: provided we pray to Him who has the keys to open our understandings, and to anoint our eyes with His spiritual ointment. The course of reading today will prepare some lights for what we shall read tomorrow, and throw a farther light upon what we read yesterday. Experience only can prove the advantage of this method, if steadily persevered in.

GEORGE MÜLLER: It is of immense importance for the understanding of the Word of God, to read it in course, so that we may read every day a portion of the Old and a portion of the New Testament, going on where we previously left off. This is important because it throws light upon the connection; and a different course, according to which one habitually selects particular chapters, will make it utterly impossible to ever understand much of the Scriptures…It may keep us, by the blessing of God, from erroneous views, as in reading thus regularly through the Scriptures we are led to see the meaning of the whole, and also kept from laying too much stress upon certain favourite views.

J. C. RYLE: No doubt in times of sickness and affliction it is allowable to search out seasonable portions. But with this exception, I believe it is by far the best plan to begin the Old and New Testaments at the same time―to read each straight through to the end, and then begin again. This is a matter in which every one must be persuaded in his own mind. I can only say it has been my own plan for nearly forty years, and I have never seen cause to alter it.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: I am a great advocate of schemes of Bible reading, but we have to be careful that in our use of such schemes we are not content just to read the portion for the day and then to rush off without thought and meditation. That can be quite profitless…I am not attacking systematic reading―All I am saying is that you should be careful that the devil in his wiliness does not come in and make you content with a mere mechanical reading of the Scriptures without really looking at them, and meditation upon them, and without realizing what they are saying, and without drawing lessons for yourself, and praying about the exercise. It takes time to read Scripture properly. It is very easy to read a number of verses and rush off to catch your bus or train. That is not reading the Scriptures; that may be quite useless. You must stop and look and think.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): It is a lamentable thing that most people have either so much or so little to do, that they can never find time to look into the Scriptures to any purpose.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: I’m always afraid to say a thing like this, but there is an awful danger in these mechanical schemes of Bible study; that you just rush through it, you’ve done your portion. My friend, does the Bible speak to you every day? If it doesn’t, I’m inclined to suggest you drop your schemes for a moment, and just take a verse and begin to think about it, and ask it, ‘What is it you’re saying to me?” We are not meant to rush through the Bible a given number of times in a year, or however often you do it. The Bible is the Word of God, it’s the food of the soul, it’s the Spirit’s message to you.

THOMAS ADAM (1701-1784): Perhaps it may be a good rule in the reading of Scripture, not to run from one passage to another, or suppose it a duty to read a certain portion of it every day, but to dwell upon particular passages, till they have in some measure done their office.

GEORGE MÜLLER: What is the food for the inner man?—not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe. No, we must consider what we read, ponder over it, and apply it to our own hearts.


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