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February 3, 2022 7:00 pm
Dr. Mark Minnick of the BJU seminary faculty continues a doctrinal series entitled “God’s Word in Our Hands” with a message titled, “How to Read Your Bible,” from Genesis 1:1
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina were continuing a study series entitled God's word in our hands. Today's message will be preached by Dr. Mark Minnick two summers ago, my wife Linda and I had the opportunity of visiting some missionaries who are serving in very small churches in northern Wales and we arranged to have a few days afterwards, in a rental car to visit some of the places in Wales connected with famous figures in church history.
We went to a very small village in which there was a girl born to very poor parents thought it was a Weaver.
Her name was Mary Jones.
Some of you may be familiar with her story of the age of 10.
She coveted to own her own copy of the Bible for six years.
She took care of other people's children. She took in their laundry. She mended their clothes. She gathered firewood and all these things in order to only earn small coins. Her father build a real little wooden box and put up hole in the top of that, where she could drop these coins and save them in after six years of that at the age of 16. She finally had enough money to purchase a Welsh translation of the Scripture is now 16 years of age and one Sunday morning she set out barefoot so that she would not wear out her only pair of shoes. She walked 25 miles to the only pastor they were aware of who might have a copy of the Bible that she could purchase and the next day she was able to do that and then she had the 25 miles to walk back her Bible rest today in the archives of the British and foreign Bible Society, but her story is so well-known that the Welsh tourist board mapped out the 25 miles that she walked over hills and crossing rivers and across fields and you can hike that same distance today. Linda and I didn't have the opportunity to do that. We drove much of it and as we viewed it from outside the comfort of our car windows.
We marvel at what this young woman was willing to do in order to get a copy of the Bible and course very humbling to think them about how easily we, in our generation have been able to obtain copies of Scripture, but the fact is that every copy of the Bible that we hold in our hands. Today was handed down to us at very dear cost us. I'm sure you are aware of and when you go back and look at the names of those who gave their fortunes, their reputations and in some cases their lives to make it possible for us to have English Bibles in her hands today.
It truly is a remarkable thing with Cliff and the Lollards Lutheran germinating of the reformers, William Tyndale what these people went through in order to make this possible for us is impossible for us to fully appreciate. I brought to the pulpit today older copy of the biomedicine King James version. It's dated 1683 and I brought to the pulpit because it is an illustration of what I'm talking about.
It's an early study Bible filled with notes done by Puritan name Samuel Clark Samuel Clark and his father both were ejected from their churches in 1662, under the administration of Charles II, and for the next 26 years, until the glorious Revolution of 1688. These two men along with several thousand other British ministers in several hundred Scottish ministers.
These men in the prime of their lives were all deprived of an opportunity of having a church.
These were the years during which John Bunyan spent 12 years in the Bedford prison if these men were to preach at all.
They did so in the woods and caves in Barnes in the middle of the night was during these years that they persisted in their own pursuit of a knowledge of Scripture trying to pass this on as best they could and Samuel Clark put together this Bible is just filled with development notes on Scripture when this Bible was printed in the Revolutionary war was still nearly a century away.
The Civil War was two centuries away second world war was nearly 3 centuries away. Amazing thing to hold in your hands Bible.
That's going on now for centuries old and know that it was handed down. It was bequeathed to us at a fearful cost to the opportunity of speaking to you today about how to read it is a really precious opportunity and I'm so grateful for.
I ask if you would open your Bibles to the very first verse of Scripture book of Genesis 1st chapter of the first verse message today is not going to be the exposition of any single passage, but in just a moment. I will refer to that first verse and then to a second verse in the chapter, I want to suggest this morning that the most important thing when it comes to reading the Bible is not methodology. Although methodology is important, but it's not paramount. The most important thing to really profit from these precious Bibles is a certain mentality not methodology but mentality when talking about is a certain point of view and there are two things that I called her attention about this this morning before talking a little bit about methodology in the first of these is that it is absolutely critical to come to grips with what we're supposed to be looking for when we open the Bible, what are we supposed to be looking for in the best answer to that is that we are not supposed to be looking for something about the Bible itself that is scriptural facts and were not even supposed to be looking for something about ourselves that is practical application is not scriptural facts or practical applications we haven't suggested to us rightly if you just look at the first four words of your Bible in Genesis 1, the first line and it reads in the beginning, in which the fourth word in the beginning God, what were supposed to be looking for is the Lord Bible is about God is not in the first place. About us. We come in the community.
Secondarily, as do all creatures. Who is the one who created everything that exists is the one who destroyed them all in a flood, who's the one who preserved eight people and begin all over again with them who's the one who scatters the early peoples of the Tower of Babel is the one who appeared to an idolater named Abraham was the one who initiated a covenant with him and with his descendents.
Who's the one who appeared to Moses at the burning bush is not a brought the children of Jacob out of Egypt is the one who brought them into the land is the one who went before Joshua in the conquest who's the one who set up one king and tore down another cave. Who's the one who sent his son into the world is the one who appeared to Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus is the one who appeared in visions to John the apostle Paul Bible is about God. It's not God's initiation of all of these relationships.
The right mentality when opening the Bible really understand the Bible and feed from the Bible is to begin with. Who the Bible actually is about.
And that's something you have to turn a little slow, which in your mind about and you have to do it deliberately and intentionally because our tendency really is to open the Bible, first and foremost, and to try to find ourselves. And that's why certain parts of the Bible are not only more familiar to us, but they actually become are very common points of reading because we are most interested in ourselves, and why, when really what God wants us to do is turn the switch to make yourself doing it, and remind yourself to do it and think to yourself on primarily reading about God. And then I come in and the same thing when it comes to mentality that I think is very helpful for us is the matter of really coming to grips with what were doing when we went when we open this book because it is a block. Our tendency is the thing primarily in terms of this that we are reading and we are or were studying and that's a step even better and we tend to think in those terms.
Because these are the mechanics of what is necessary to really get at what is here will call your attention to just one other very suggestive line in Genesis chapter 1. It's in the third verse first verse again in the beginning God and will just start right there. Every time we open the Bible, it will start without our minds at the beginning right now as I open these pages God and then the third verse as an God said, and that too is just a little adjustment that we make in our conception of what were doing that it is of course necessary that we read, but that are reading has a different character to it than when we open any other volume in the world that in our reading, even in our studying what were really dealing is listening because God is speaking at our heart cry needs to be that of Samuel's remarkable and wonderful and suggested example speak more for your servant hears. Really, what were doing and the reason that we can say that and be so confident about it is because of what the Scripture says about itself tells us that this is a book. Hebrews 412 says her King James version reads that is click and what that word means, of course, is living really hard to comprehend that this is a block whose pages actually move its living in Hebrews 412 says it's active. That's what that word powerful means. Peter talks about this is the word of God is living and enduring that fossils are not just figures of speech that is truth in its most literal form and the reason for that is because we are indwelt by God's Holy Spirit and he was the one who breathe these words out and he himself is active with those words when ever we open the Bible and our spirit toward God is speak your servant hears and you know what it is any of you who are truly God's children, no matter how distant you may feel yourself in the Lord right now. This morning you know what it is you have those experiences in your life when you open the Bible and you have read something that you read many times before, but this morning it's like it's like God takes a bright yellow highlighter and just runs it light through a particular line and you are electrified with the stunning shock of it.
It's the living Holy Spirit taking the things of Christ and disclosing them to us today.
It's the coveted experience that we all wish would take place every single time we read the Bible.
It doesn't unfortunately but once you've experienced it. You are never satisfied until it's happening again and again and again there is a hunger in your spirit that cannot be denied. That's what you always are looking for. You are opening the Bible in order to find out about God and you do it by really listening to him and if someone asked the question why doesn't it happen more often will undoubtedly there are many many reasons for that, but it's one of the really common reasons. Is this far too many times we quench the Spirit of God. Maybe we have grieved the spirit of God.
Many Christians have grieved the spirit of God. We live every moment of our lives indwelt by either a grieved or am grieved Holy Spirit every minute we live with a grieved or ungreased spirit of God and when we grieve the Spirit of God. He often goes silent in the pages are not warm and bright, and God himself explains this. There are passages in the Old Testament where he speaks of himself in his very terms, he said to his people in the book of Isaiah 57 chapter you don't remember me, you don't even give me a thought and therefore I'm silent in the 50th Saul God says you, you've put my words behind you delighted in thieves. You've kept company with adulterers, your tongue has framed a seat, so I kept silent. The folks that's the answer for someone here today you asked the question.
I know I'm a child of God. I know what it is to experience the Lord really addressing me from Scripture I've had those moments but it's been a long time, then use need really to take this as a helpful possibility that you have quench the Spirit of God and the best way to remedy that is to go in silence. Client alone and shutting everything out and talk not just to the Godhead, but talk to the spirit of God personally and apologize and with a contrite and humble spirit begged him to speak to you again and the wonderful thing about God is he lifts up the humble always does and wants that kind of thing is readjusted in our hearts.
Then there are ways of reading the Bible methodologically that are very very helpful and I will turn to these at this point. Start here have a points to this very quickly.
Start with the possibility of your purchasing for yourself a copy of the Bible that you will really treasure what I'm talking about is your doing what Mary Jones that if you have to save your money for a while. If you sacrifice if you have to set aside something else. They like to have her even need to have our suggest the possibility that you do that in order to be able to own it for yourself. A beautiful copy of God's word in the finest binding that you can afford something that you will treasure all of your days. In other words, that you will put your money into it. Jesus said that where people's treasure is there heart is and this is just a simple little practical way of starting off on a good foot maybe on new foot for many, many people with the Bible. I wish someone had told me when I came to school here is a freshman to do this. Someone told me right here your freshman year. Once you purchase a brand-new Bible get the finest Bible that you can make sure that it's got some margins in it that are large enough that you can write in them and then I wish at all during my college years here that that in my university Bible and I just mark the Bible up and my Bible classes and in chaperoning my own personal devotional life and for the end of the four years the margins were filled in many, many of the books of the Bible is worn out, that's okay. I could put on the shelf, but I'd always have that man is a memory of of my track. My journey with the Lord during his really formative years here in the University and hear all the things that the Lord ministered to me during that period of time. Suggest the possibility to and then secondly that when you get that Bible you sign and seal that Bible with your own surrendered signature and your own sacred ambitions on the flyleaf of that Bible in the best handwriting of which are capable boldly and with a fully surrendered heart inscribe your name and then why not take the 19th Psalm of the 119 Psalm some other passage of Scripture concerning the word of God and dig out of those passages, a nugget or two that captures your spiritual and issues for your life.
Listening to God's word and write it carefully right under your name and then thirdly began to read that Bible and read it in ways that will be most helpful to you, to share with you some of the things through the years that of the most helpful to me and that is first of all the sacrifice to get the best time of your day for doing that. The best time of day for everyone is not precisely the same, but for many, many people. The best time of day for listening to the voice of God is the morning and there's some sacrifice connected often in being able to give the best part of your morning to the Lord, but I think we'll discover if you in the habit of doing that, that you will preserve in your own heart, a sense of the Lord's presence. All through the day in ways that you probably are not capable of doing without beginning the day like that and for most of us even when we get up in the morning were little groggy and not quite going yet the fact is that the world is as busy at our mindset not yet been implemented by all the busyness of the day and the urgencies the hour. In other words there's more of a blank space on our spirit first thing in the morning, probably any other time of the day and if you will get into the habit of making use of your morning, really. There's a sacrifice to this offer this up as a as a morning sacrifice to the Lord pay the costs to be able to do it and then do whatever you need to do to get as awake as you can get it cup of coffee or tea chocolate really like to drink, get along with the Lord and little pool of light in the silos you mean it silence if you have to wear headphones that are noise canceling get some do it we have to do but get alone with the Lord. Recognize you can't multitask God coming you can read you can read the Bible multitasks you to listen to the Bible and headphones when you're jogging or running or exercising. All those are helpful things because what we're talking about is something that is definitely a huge step up about that you're talking about giving God your undivided attention and we all know how annoying it is me trying to talk to someone about something important in the got a piece of technology in the keep glancing at us in the whole time with her doing this afterwhile is give up Bible is God. He's speaking he needs silence give it to him and be willing to sacrifice to do that and if you've not done that a new beginning. You are going to be amazed at the difference that it will make metaphorically.
I like to suggest that you pray before you open the Bible be dependent on the Lord about this be intentionally dependent. Tell the Lord that he must open your heart if you're to get anything and plead with him briefly to do that once you've done that them open your Bible and fit suggestion is this that you read over the course of time the whole word of God that you let God say to you everything that he is saying to his people read the entirety of the word of God. Folks if you only read the portions that are easy if you read only the chapters in which you're interested.
If you read only what you find at the moment to be personally applicable. If you do that habitually you will be defective in your understanding of God and that is one of the reasons why Christian people can get together and sometimes discuss very very important matters and they cannot seem to come to a close understanding of those things is because they don't have the same governor on the conversation. Some of them are bringing to the conversation.
Only a part of God's word. It's all they know.
It's about all they ever read for us to have a full or understanding of the entirety of the character and perfections of God and the way he reacts in certain situations to our behavior or our thinking the way he intends to govern the world and dominate the lives of people sovereignly what he intends to do in redemption what his ultimate objectives are for all of this only get this when you read the entirety of what he has to say and he can't say at all in a single chapter that happens to be our favorite portion of the word of God. We got to expose our spirits to all read the whole Bible. And that brings me to this actually read by a Bible plan.
It's helpful to have a plan, one that I personally have used for many many years was done by the Scottish preacher Robert Murray McShane very commonly used around the world. You can get it easily just access it on the Internet.
Robert Murray McShane Bible reading schedule.
The advantage of that schedule is.
He starts you in the Bible at four places simultaneously so you're not reading the entirety of the Old Testament for nearly 3/4 of the year, before you ever get to the New Testament, so he starts you on the very first day in Genesis Matthew as an ass. If you reduce those four chapters a day take you through the whole Old Testament wants to hear the whole New Testament twice a year. In the book of Psalms twice a year just reading for chapters a day. If you can't read four chapters every day read two chapters a day.
That means that every two years all the way through the Old Testament we read the New Testament once a year.
Psalms once a year is really a very fine Bible reading schedule just check it off as you go through their use some kind of plan to get yourself through the Scripture that way.
And remember this is the old parents used to say when we read the Bible we would do plow work or spade work plow work is when you're dating a shallow furlough across the whole surface of that's necessary. Spade work is when you really dig down into something it's helpful to do is take the Bible rescheduling all four chapters, and then maybe a couple times a week when you're little extra time take one of the chapters and spend an extra 15 to 20 minutes with it read a couple more times read the devotional commentary on Mark up the margins of your Bible.
What you learn. Do some plow work and do some spade work have the telescopic view were you seeing everything get certain portions under the microscope, it's that combination will really allow the Lord to address your heart powerfully and that brings me with her to this. Lastly, walk away with something to savor. I personally try every day to spend a little bit of time on Scripture memory. Often it's no more than three or four minutes just reviewing a person to have learned in the past. Very often, so longer than that is adding new verses to the repertoire, but I try. When I read the Scripture to find something in one of those chapters that will stick in my mind I write it on a card I carry in my pocket and I try throughout the day to return to it like you put a lozenge under your tongue just sent on take something away from your Bible reading that God spoke to you that morning and let him carry you all through the day and apparently with you been listening to a sermon preached by Dr. Mark Minnick, pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina, which was part of the series called God's word in our hands. Thanks for listening and join us again next week as we conclude the series here on The Daily Platform