To My Wife
THE purpose of this little book is the simple though necessary one of directing fresh attention to the value and importance of the study of the Bible itself as distinct from, or at least prior to, the study of books about the Bible. It is only too possible to know a great deal about the Bible and yet to know very little of the contents of the Bible. These chapters are intended to suggest methods of mastering the subject-matter of the Word of GOD, its facts and doctrines. Many more books about the Bible, books of great value, could easily have been suggested, but this might have diverted attention from the simple object of this book, the first-hand study of the Scripture.
It is hoped that Christian workers of our Churches may find herein some suggestions for a fuller knowledge of their handbook of service and for a more efficient use of their weapon of warfare, the English Bible. And if anything is found helpful to theological students, and those whose ministry has just commenced, the purpose of these papers will be more than realized. There can be no doubt that the most powerful and fruitful ministry will ever be the ministry of those who are, like Apollos, "mighty in the Scriptures."
A beloved friend, a well-known and honored dignitary of the Church of England, who most kindly read through these chapters before publication, recently wrote to me "Bible-teaching sermons never grow stale; the King honors His sign-manual."
There is of course no attempt at completeness in the plan of this book.
There are other methods of Bible study besides those found here, while even these may be developed in additional directions. All that is hoped is, that they may be found suggestive, and prove incentives to further study. These hints are the assimilation of study and reading from student days onwards, for the last twenty years, and represent a wide and varied indebtedness to many books, papers, and lectures. They have been delivered in substance as lectures in Oxford and London, and are now reprinted with revision from the Life of Faith.
They are sent forth with prayer and hope, and with an ever-deepening conviction that for mature Christian life, strong character and fruitful service, nothing can possibly compare with or make up for, daily definite study of and medication on the Word of GOD.