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How to Read the Bible

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Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105

WSC Q: What do the Scriptures principally teach?

WSC A: The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God and what duty God requires of man.”

For perspective, this week we look at the Shorter Catechism question on the Scriptures. The children are working on catechism questions and answers that have been drafted in the last few decades to correspond to the questions and answers from the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which today is the catechism used by young people and adults to memorize points of doctrine in a systematic way.

The Shorter Catechism, incidentally, was intended for use by children — with its lengthy answers in heavily modified sentences. Douglas Kelly wrote in a piece commemorating the 350th anniversary of the Westminster Assembly that “The purpose of the Shorter Catechism is to educate chidlren and others ‘of weaker capacity’ (according to a preface written by the Church of Scotland) in the Reformed faith. It is based on the Larger Catechism, which was intended for us by ministers as they taught the faith to their congregations in preaching.” (HT: Wikipedia)

Now, that’s humbling.

Yet, even more humbling is the realization that the Scriptures themselves are given to us not simply to instruct us in what we should know about God, but also what duty God requires of us. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them! (John 13:17)  If you think that this duty has anything to do with faith, you are quite mistaken. The duty is the one performed with joyful obedience that flows forth from a regenerated heart of gratitude and delight.

J.R. Miller, pastor at the turn of the last century, said:

“It is necessary to read the Bible, not just to know the will of God–but that we may do it. If Scripture is not the practice of our life–it is nothing to us.

Its truths are to be applied. If we read the Beatitudes, we are to compare ourselves with their Divine requirements, and seek to be conformed to them. If we come upon a verse that rebukes any habit or sin of ours–we are immediately to make the needed amendment.

We are to accept its promises, believe them–and then act as believing them.

We are to allow its comforts to enter our hearts and support us in sorrow.

There is nothing written in the Bible merely for ornament or beauty. Every word is practical! There is no truth in Scripture which has not some bearing upon actual living. When we come to it eager to know how to live, and ready to obey its precepts–we shall find it opening its inmost meaning to us!”*

If you love Me, you will obey My commandments. John 14:15

We know that we have come to know Him, IF we obey His commands. The man who says, ‘I know Him,’ but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him! 1 John 2:3-4

This marvelous treasure of the word of God has the power to do supernatural work in our hearts and in our lives. Let’s share this truth with our children by acting like we believe it!

* HT: GraceGems

This article first appeared at Three Rivers Grace blog on February 5, 2014.


Written by mrsdkmiller

February 7, 2014 at 5:23 pm

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