Give Attendance to Reading
The ancient conqueror faced the tremendous problem of spreading the fact among his new subjects that their country was under new management. General communications were limited to crude smoke or fire signals and runners, therefore, another means of disseminating the news of the conqueror was invariably practised. This plan involved calling in all the coin of the realm, melting it, then re-issuing it with a reproduction of the new king on one side. The circulation, among the vanquished, of these coins was a continual reminder to the users that they were subjects of the new monarch.
Our Master, the Lord Jesus, Who has liberated us from the power of our old taskmaster, sin, and has brought us out to enjoy “the glorious liberty of the people of God,” has likewise formed His impression, not on our external possessions, but on our hearts. This impression should be made manifest in our daily living.
In addition to saving us by His incomparable grace we are indwelt by a member of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit. Moreover, our Lord has provided us with a series of letters (using human penmen) from His very throne. These are addressed to us as individuals and assemblies. How easy it is, however, for the old nature which is still within us to dominate our lives. How infrequent and spasmodic is our realization of the responsibilities of making Christ Lord in our hearts. While to a degree we are willingly subject to our new Sovereign, often we lose the sense of the relative values of things temporal and things spiritual.
If the scales of importance are unbalanced in the direction of the temporal things, and these items acquire a sufficiently high degree of significance in our lives, spiritual things become secondary. If this is allowed to continue, such thoughts and practices become habitual, our consciences are dulled and we become less fruitful or perhaps unfruitful. When the importance of temporal things reaches the point of extreme desire and lust, we are in particular danger, and can well be called unprofitable servants.
If we attempt to shelter ourselves behind the excuse that we are living under the period of God’s grace, let us not forget what Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 6:12 (Darby), “All things are lawful to me but all things do not profit.”
Practising the title of this article is an additional aid to escaping this danger. We are fortunate in having God’s Word readily available to us as well as having many commentaries prepared by Godly men.
The attorney’s office is frequently lined with books to which he must often make reference because of the limitations of human memory. The doctor, similarly, may refer to his library, although he knows by memory the symptoms of most of the common ailments, he must keep himself informed of the newest wonder drugs and anesthetics as well as the latest in surgery. The engineer must avail himself of handbooks, and must keep abreast of the latest developments in the technological fields, particularly his own. Therefore, Christians, young and old, acquire a good library of Bible commentaries, subscribe to the best scriptural periodicals, and procure various reliable translations of the Holy Scriptures. A different translation or a comment often will clear the uncertainty and apparent cloud that surrounds a passage of Scripture. It is well also to remember that Scripture complements Scripture. God is a most unusual and unique Writer.
God has given to us a new nature, a membership in a new family, a citizenship in a new country, and a destination and permanent residence in that sinless location beyond the turmoil and chaos of this scene. These blessings become strong incentives to learn more about these possesions which we shall enjoy forever; strong incentives, indeed, to learn more about the gracious Giver of all these mercies.
Often the reading habit has to be acquired. Some of us are born with it, but the usual trend is in the opposite direction. We need to cultivate the urge. We must not overlook the value of searching out the settings of the sixty-six books of the Bible, the relationship of each to the others, the character and background of the human writers, the conditions under which the books were written, and the details of the silent years between the Old and the New Testaments. All of the facts contribute to a greater interest in His Word, and lead to a fuller appreciation of the actual Inspired Writings of God.
May we caution, however, against accepting all statements of all commentaries, and all translations of the Bible, or interjections of secular history as being accurate. Take nothing for granted. “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.” Be satisfied that nothing contradicts the Holy Scriptures.