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F.E. Marsh :: Introductory Note

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By Dr. James H. Brookes*

THE best commentary on the Bible is the Bible. Important help may be received from devout scholarship in the accurate translation of Hebrew and Greek words, when the student is not familiar with the original languages in which the Scriptures were written; but beyond that, men can give very little assistance in the elucidation of the text.

The Bible is a plain Book, intended for a plain people. Hence the Westminster Assembly of Divines, 1647 A.D., wisely said: “All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.” Not only the learned, but the unlearned, can say to God in adoring gratitude, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path… The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:105, 130).

It is the purpose of this book of “Bible Studies” to use Scripture to explain Scripture. Those who have read the author’s previous writings, need not be told, that by long, patient, and prayerful study of God’s Word, by thorough conviction of its Divine inspiration in every part, by humble reliance upon the Holy Spirit to enlighten and guide him, he has, through grace, obtained a wonderful skilled wisdom in putting together various portions of the Bible, bearing upon different subjects. His book, therefore, must be more valuable than any commentary, to all who accept the following rules of Bible study:-

First. Be fully persuaded that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The profound reverence paid to the very words of Scripture by our Lord Jesus Christ, and His inspired apostles, shows how true it is that “the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21).

Second. Be humble as you sit face to face with God’s inerrant Word. “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My Word” (Isaiah 66:2). Few, alas! can say in these days with the Psalmist, “My heart standeth in awe of Thy Word” (Psalm 119:161). Never forget, in reading the Bible, that “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

Third. Recognizing your dependence upon the Holy Spirit, you will be led earnestly to seek His blessing, “that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man” (even in a believer) “receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:12-14).

Fourth. Learn to find the Lord Jesus Christ everywhere in the Bible. “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39). “Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27).

Fifth. Do not neglect the Old Testament; “for whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples (margin, types); and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Corinthians 10:11).

Sixth. Peruse this book of “Bible Studies” with a desire to make its teachings personal and practical. “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Psalm 119:11). “Whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him to a wise man, which built his house upon a rock” (Matthew 7:24). “Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).

Seventh. Remember that, by the Word of God you are begotten, James 1:18; you are born again, 1 Peter 1:23; you grow, 1 Peter 2:2; you are cleansed, John 15:3; you are sanctified, John 17:17; you are built up, Acts 20:32; you are prepared to be presented to Christ, Ephesians 5:26-27; you are defended amid the perils of the way, Ephesians 6:17; and you patiently wait, “until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts,” 2 Peter 1:19. The blessed Bible is the only lamp which God swings out in the darkness of the future.

* Since Dr. Brookes wrote the above words of introduction, he has been called into the Lord’s presence; hence, his words emphasizing the importance and benefit of Bible study are of peculiar value, as they are the words of one who is now “at home with the Lord.”

God's Word to His Children Next Section →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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