From the Editor's Notebook: Reading the Bible

MIF 8:4 (Jul-Aug 1976)

From the Editor’s Notebook

W. Ross Rainey

Reading the Bible

In the March 1976 issue of LeTourneau College’s four-page publication, Now, there appeared on the back page an excerpt from Rethinking Our Priorities, a recent book by J. Sidlow Baxter. In his comments, Baxter urges the habit of reading the Bible “copiously and continually,” pointing out that many who realize the importance of studying it do not likewise appreciate the value of reading it.

He cites the fact (which I was particularly interested to learn) that when Dr. Harry A. Ironside, former pastor of the Moody Memorial Church, Chicago, died at the age of 73, he was reading the Bible through for the seventy-third time. Dr. Ironside had personally told Baxter that in his early Christian life he had determined to read the Bible through once for every year of his life. He gradually caught up with the years already past, and thereafter kept his Bible reading equal with his years.

Baxter further noted G. Campbell Morgan, a prince among Bible expositors, who said that early in his ministry there was one period when for two full years he read nothing hut his daily mail and the four Gospels. Day after day, for two full years he read nothing but Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, over and over again, resulting in a transforming effect on his ministry.

Baxter mentions several “big values” in reading right through the Bible again and again. Among them are: (1) it gives one a vivid sense of the presence of God in history; (2) it begets a profound awareness of the divine sovereignty; and (3) it provides us with a comprehensive grasp of divine revelation.

On how to read the Bible, George Muller made the following suggestions:

    1. Read the Scriptures through regularly.

    2. Read with prayer..

    3. Read with meditation.

    4. Read with reference to yourself.

    5. Read with faith.

    6. Read in order to carry into practice.

Along the same line, the saintly and gifted F.B. Meyer gave this word of advice:

“Read the Bible, not as a newspaper, but as a home letter. If a cluster of heavenly fruit hangs within reach, gather it. If a promise lies upon the page as a blank check, cash it. If a prayer is recorded, appropriate it, and launch it as a feathered arrow from the how of your desire. If an example of holiness gleams before you, ask God to do as much for you. If the truth is revealed in all its intrinsic splendor, entreat that its brilliance may ever irradiate the hemisphere of your life.”

Anticipating the 1976 Bicentennial celebration of the United States, I decided that one of the best ways to personally observe this historic occasion would be to once again read right through the Bible in a year’s time. As always, it takes a measure of self-discipline to do this midst life’s daily tasks and responsibilities. Nevertheless, I can once again joyfully attest that the undertaking of this spiritual exercise has already brought a wealth of pleasure and blessing to my own soul.

If you have never read the Bible through in a year, why not try it? And I might further ask, Have you ever really read the Bible through in your lifetime?

Rules for Revolution

Earlier this year a Christian friend brought the following to my attention:

In May of 1919 at Dusseldorf, Germany, the Allied Forces obtained a copy of some of the “Communist Rules for Revolution.” Nearly fifty years later, the Reds are still “following the rules.”

As you read some of the rules from the list, stop after each item and think about the present-day situation where you live — all around our nation.

A. Corrupt the young; get them away from religion. Get them interested in sex. Make them superficial. Destroy their ruggedness.

B. Get control of all means of publication, and thereby:

    1. Get people’s minds off government by focusing their attention on athletics, sexy books and plays, and other trivialities.

    2. Divide the people into hostile groups by constantly harping on controversial matters of no importance.

    3. Destroy the people’s faith in their leaders by holding the latter up to contempt, ridicule and obloquy.

    4. Always preach true democracy, but seize power as fast and as ruthlessly as possible.

    5. By encouraging government extravagance, destroy its credit and produce fear of inflation with rising prices and general discontent.

    6. Foment unnecessary strikes in vital industries, encourage civil disorders, and foster a lenient and soft attitude on the part of government toward such disorders.

    7. By specious argument cause the breakdown of the old moral virtues, honesty, sobriety, continence, faith in the pledged word, and ruggedness.

C. Bring about the registration of all firearms with a view to confiscating them and leaving the population helpless.

Stop and think — how many of these rules are being carried out in our nation today?

As a footnote to all this, last fall Malcolm Muggeridge, author and former editor of Punch, told a packed house at the University of Toronto that “western institutions are not working, personal relationships are not working—it’s uncannily and obviously just like the collapse of the Roman Empire.”

Mr. Muggeridge, ’72, said Rome didn’t crack up because of a lack of power or wealth, but because “the moral shape that lies behind all other shapes was breaking up. The truth is that unless men have a sense of moral order within themselves and in their universe, they will not be able to build any other kind of order, economic, political, or social.”

Muggeridge, who shook the British public by becoming a Christian in the late 1960’s, blamed the media, particularly TV, for most, if not all, of what he looks upon as a slide towards Hell. “The corruption of our children is absolutely appalling,” he said. “On TV they see the family ridiculed, marital fidelity ridiculed, and a crass materialism constantly being preached.”

Certainly no thinking person could truthfully deny that atheistic Communism, along with other Satanic forces, has had a considerable impact and influence in our nation, and in other so-called “free nations” throughout the world, in, as Muggeridge indicated, man’s slide towards Hell.


In 1950, 44 percent of the world’s population were illiterate. In 1970 the illiteracy rate was only 34 percent.

In spite of the percentage drop of illiteracy, there were more illiterates in 1970 than in 1950. In 1950 the illiterates numbered 700 million, while in 1970 they were 783 million.

Even the most optimistic projections estimate that by 2000 A.D. there will be no less than 650 million illiterates.

And did you know that since the inventing of the printing press, two billion Bibles have been printed, of which 85 percent have been in English? Only nine percent of the world speaks English. Selah.

Gold or God

When the late Roger Babson was asked by the president of the Argentine Republic why South America with her tremendous resources—greater, perhaps, than those of North America— was so far behind, replied: “I think it may be because South America was peopled by Spaniards seeking gold. North America was peopled by Pilgrim Fathers seeking God.”

Now, however, North America has drifted far from the character and conduct manifested by the Pilgrim Fathers.

Let us be much in prayer these days for our nation and its leaders, as well as for other nations and leaders throughout the world (see 1 Timothy 2:1-6).