God Keeps the Keys

“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.'”

Old Paths, J.C. Ryle

The Necessity and Possibility of Reading the Bible Supernaturally

“What I mean is that the act of reading, in order to be done as God intended, must be done in dependence on God’s supernatural help. The Bible gives two decisive reasons: Satan and sin. That is, we have a blinding enemy outside and a blinding disease inside. Together these two forces make it impossible for human beings to read the Bible, as God intended, without supernatural help …

Satan would be happy for people to believe ten thousand true facts, as long as they are blind to ‘the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.’ …

Bible reading that only collects facts, or relieves a guilty conscience, or gathers doctrinal arguments, or titillates aesthetic literary tastes, or feeds historical curiosities — this kind of Bible reading Satan is perfectly happy to leave alone. He has already won the battle.

But reading that hopes to see the supreme worth and beauty of God — reading that aims to be satisfied with all that God is for us in Christ, reading that seeks to ‘taste and see that the LORD is good’ (Ps. 34:8) — this reading Satan will oppose with all his might. And his might is supernatural. Therefore, any reading that hopes to overcome his blinding power will be a supernatural reading.”

Reading the Bible Supernaturally, John Piper

On Men, Shame, and Brotherhood

A couple weeks ago, I posted a piece on what pastors could learn from Jordan Peterson. This post is by the same author and deals with a similar topic. It’s a long article but very good so save it for when you have some time to read. There is so much for us to learn from what Alastair writes but recovering what we’ve lost will not be easy.

On Men, Shame, and Brotherhood

The Bible and Christ

“The Bible is not as glorious, not as ultimate, not as foundational, as Christ. But both are indispensable.

They are both essential, but not in the same way. There is no forgiveness of sins, no righteousness before God, no new birth, no seeing, no savoring, no transformation without Christ and his death and resurrection. He purchased these things and became the foundation of our salvation in a way that the Scriptures never could and never will. We are not making Christ and the Scriptures interchangeable. Christ is the foundation of the Scriptures, not the other way around.

Nevertheless, God has made the Scriptures indispensable to the consummation of all things. He has ordained that without the written word — explaining and preserving who God is and what he has done — there would be no saving knowledge of God, no new birth, no faith, no seeing and savoring, no experience of forgiveness, no transformation, and, in the end, no completed and beautiful bride for the Son and no white-hot worshipping family for the Father.”

Reading the Bible Supernaturally, John Piper