David describes the good person as one who delights in the law of the Lord, and meditates every day and night. Never let a day pass without reading a portion of Holy Scripture, and realize that an important duty of the day has been neglected if Scripture reading has been omitted.
No one can be an eminent Christian, no matter how frequently he hears his favorite preacher, who does not converse much with his Bible in secret. Anyone who wishes to grow in grace and in knowledge must commune daily with the Bible’s prophets and apostles. Through the medium of these inspired texts, the Christian must drink largely of the pure living waters and undiluted milk of the word. Alas, it is a weak and sickly faith that depends solely upon the hearing of sermons or the reading of Christian “bestsellers” for its spiritual support.
God’s word is the food of the soul. There is more concentrated nourishment in a single text of Scripture, drawn out by the digestive process of meditation to strengthen the heart of the believer, than in many pages of uninspired, though instructive, composition. God’s words are life, and they are spirit. Read the pages of Christian martyrology and you will find that the secret of the martyrs’ strength was in their intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures. They were Bible Christians, and not mere sermon Christians.
If you have any deep experience in the ways of God and the devices of Satan, then you would easily remember times of peril when the perusal of a single chapter, or even the pondering upon a single verse, sounded like the voice of God and seemed like the mightiness of His omnipotence coming into your soul. If, then, you want to relish the uncorrupted sweetness of the word; if you want to realize all its strength-giving efficacy; if you want to grow to the strength and stature of a perfect man or woman in Christ Jesus; if you want to be valiant in the fight of faith—you must be much in converse with God alone, through the medium of his own blessed word.
Is this precious privilege not often neglected by many of you? Does the Bible not lie upon the table or the shelf for days or weeks unopened? What excuse have you to offer for so ungrateful a return for this inspired book? Perhaps, you say, it is a difficult book to understand. Admittedly, there are dark and inexplicable passages to ordinary readers, and yet how much more there is that is clear to the feeblest capacity. And think how much more those dark passages would brighten and unfold their meaning with a more spiritual, more devoted, and habitual attention!
Diligence, prayer, and a holy state of mind will unlock to the inquiring believer most of the hidden treasures of inspiration. Those who complain of the darkness of the Scriptures are generally those who have devoted the least time and attention to the study of them. Many uninspired books are difficult to those who only dip into them occasionally, but which, to the very same people, become easy when studied with care. There is such a thing as becoming, by long examination, familiar with an author’s style and manner, just as our protracted acquaintance with an individual enables us to understand the drift of his remarks better than we did at our first introduction to him. If necessary, the aid of a commentary may be of service to those who have leisure to peruse it.