The Necessity of God’s Supernatural Assistance in Reading the Bible

“Is the Bible the Word of God? Then be sure you never read it without fervent prayer for the help and teaching of the Holy Spirit. Here is the rock on which many make shipwreck. They do not ask for wisdom and instruction, and so they find the Bible dark, and carry nothing away from it. You should pray for the Spirit to guide you into all truth. You should beg the Lord Jesus Christ to ‘open your understanding,’ as He did that of His disciples. The Lord God, by whose inspiration the book was written, keeps the keys of the book, and alone can enable you to understand it profitably. Nine times over in one Psalm, does David cry, ‘Teach me.’ Five times over, in the same Psalm, does he say, ‘Give me understanding.’ Well says John Owen, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, ‘There is a sacred light in the Word: but there is a covering and veil on the eyes of men, so that they cannot behold it aright. Now, the removal of this veil is the peculiar work of the Holy Spirit.'”

J.C. Ryle, Old Paths

Reading the Bible Toward God’s Ultimate Goal

“Our ultimate goal in reading the Bible is that God’s infinite worth and beauty would be exalted in the everlasting, white-hot worship of the blood-bought bride of Christ from every people, language, tribe, and nation. This implies:

  1. that the infinite worth and beauty of God are the ultimate value and excellence of the universe;
  2. that the supremely authentic and intense worship of God’s worth and beauty is the ultimate aim of all his work and word;
  3. that we should always read his word in order to see this supreme worth and beauty;
  4. that we should aim in all our seeing to savor his excellence above all things;
  5. that we should aim to be transformed by this seeing and savoring into the likeness of his beauty;
  6. so that more and more people would be drawn into the worshipping family of God until the bride of Christ — across all centuries and cultures — is complete in number and beauty.

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