How to Read the Bible: A Matter of Stewardship

Following my post in this column last week, I learned of this helpful article (thanks Sharon Lowery!):  Do’s and Don’ts When Reading the Bible.  These are very helpful encouragements, reminding us that more important than simply reading Scripture, is the vital question of how we read Scripture.


Given that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16) and also that all Scripture clearly and comprehensively reveals Jesus Christ (Jn. 5:39-40; Lk. 24:27), it behooves us to approach scripture in the right way, with the right heart.


Beloved, we live at a time in history, and in a part of the world, where God’s word has never been more available.  Let alone the opportunities for our own reading, study, memory, and meditation, but we also have access to countless resources in hearing the word of God faithfully preached and taught.  This is indeed a great privilege, and also a great stewardship.


So may we be devoted and diligent to grow in faith by feeding on God’s word, both individually and corporately.  And may we be faithful stewards in proclaiming God’s glorious word to others!


Because Christ lives, and is returning,


Spiritual Bankruptcy and Rich Hope

It was a joy to have Pastor Martin Manten, and his family, with us this past Lord’s Day.  Martin is the Director of the European Bible Training Center (EBTC) in Zurich, and he’s also planting a church there.


Martin’s sermon from Mt. 5:1-4 on “The Foundation of Happiness” was personally convicting and refreshing.  I was particularly helped by the reminder that acknowledging my spiritual bankruptcy before God and genuinely mourning over my sin is the pathway to knowing the true joy of His mercy, cleansing, and grace.  On a daily basis, every believer should be sobered by, and deeply rejoice in, the truth that God’s grace shines the brightest when we see the darkness of our sin against the backdrop of His holiness.  What powerful, blessed, life-giving HOPE we’ve been called to, through all that God has given us in Jesus Christ!


If these truths resonate with you (and I hope they do!), you may likewise be encouraged by this song:  To the Cross I Cling.  (The song is based on a prayer entitled The Broken Heart, from the book The Valley of Vision.)  The rich and beautiful truth that “All things in me call for my rejection; all things in You plead my acceptance” captures the heart of the song…and the heart of the Gospel!


Beloved, do you acknowledge your spiritual bankruptcy before God, mourn over your sin, and taste by faith the rich sweetness of His abundant grace in Jesus Christ?  May God help us to live more fully in this sober joy, and proclaim more passionately the hope of the Gospel to those who are yet in their sins.


Because He lives, and is returning,

As Recipients of Mercy, Be Merciful

It is right and appropriate that believers be grieved over the rank evil and wickedness in this world.  However, as we saw last Lord’s Day from Titus 3:1-8, we should be most shocked that God has been merciful to rank sinners like us.  Paul’s point in this passage is that as believers have received such rich, undeserved mercy, so we must have a merciful disposition toward those yet enslaved in the foolish deceitfulness of sin.


R. Kent Hughes, in his Commentary on 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus , observes: “When we recognize that we were rescued from a pit deeper than we could crawl from, that we were saved from a darkness greater than our light could penetrate, that we were delivered from sin greater than our resolve could control – only then are we prepared to lead others…Only when we truly believe that apart from Christ there is no more hope of heaven for us than there is for the worst sinner we meet, can we minister the gospel to that one and others” (p. 360).


And John Calvin notes:  “Thus we see that we must be humbled before God, in order that we may be gentle towards brethren; for pride is always cruel and disdainful of others…he bids us remember those vices from which we have been delivered, that we may not pursue too keenly those which, still dwell in others” (Calvin’s Commentary, on Titus 3:3).


Beloved, as God in Christ has mercifully rescued helpless sinners such as us, may we humbly, compassionately, and boldly pray and labor for the salvation of those around us who are yet in their sins.


Grace upon grace,



Humility.  How eager I am to be thought of as humble; how slow I am to actually die to my pride and be humble!  As we considered last Lord’s Day from 1 Pet. 5:5-7, humility before God and one another is the garment we must constantly wear.  Jesus Himself, of course, is the supreme example and source of the comprehensive humility we are to exhibit.  I was convicted, encouraged, and helped by the following insights from Andrew Murray – I pray they are helpful for you as well.


“I cannot too earnestly plead with my reader, if possibly his attention has never yet been specially directed to the want there is of humility within him or around him, to pause and ask whether he sees much of the spirit of the meek and lowly Lamb of God in those who are called by His name. Let him consider how all want of love, all indifference to the needs, the feelings, the weakness of others; all sharp and hasty judgments and utterances, so often excused under the plea of being outright and honest; all manifestations of temper and touchiness and irritation; all feelings of bitterness and estrangement, have their root in nothing but pride, that ever seeks itself, and his eyes will be opened to see how a dark, shall I not say a devilish pride, creeps in almost everywhere, the assemblies of the saints not excepted. Let him begin to ask what would be the effect, if in himself and around him, if towards fellow saints and the world, believers were really permanently guided by the humility of Jesus; and let him say if the cry of our whole heart, night and day, ought not to be, Oh for the humility of Jesus in myself and all around me! Let him honestly fix his heart on his own lack of the humility which has been revealed in the likeness of Christ’s life, and in the whole character of His redemption, and he will begin to feel as if he had never yet really known what Christ and His salvation is.  Believer! study the humility of Jesus. This is the secret, the hidden root of thy redemption. Sink down into it deeper day by day.” (Andrew Murray [1828-1917], Humility, Bethany House Publishers, 2001, pg. 26-27.)


Growing and shrinking with you,