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How We May Read Scripture With The Most Spiritual Profit

by on August 19, 2011

How to Read Scripture with Spiritual Profit

From Thomas Watson:

Direction 1. ”If you would profit by reading, remove those things which hinder your profiting.”

Direction 2. ”If you would profit, prepare your hearts to the reading of the word.”

Direction 3. ”Read the Scripture with reverence. — Think every line you read God is speaking to you.”

Direction 4. ”Read the books of Scripture in order. . . Order is an help to memory: we do not begin to read a friend’s letter in the middle.”

Direction 5.
”Get a right understanding of Scripture . . . In the law Aaron was first to light the lamps, and then to burn the incense: the lamp of the understanding must be first lighted, before the affections can be inflamed. Get what knowledge you can by comparing the Scriptures, by conferring with others, by using the best annotators [commentators].”

Direction 6. ”Read the word with seriousness . . . If a letter were to be broken open and read, wherein a man’s whole estate were concerned, how serious would he be in reading of it! In the Scripture our salvation is concerned; it treats of the love of Christ, a serious subject. . . . Seriousness is the Christian’s ballast, which keeps him from being overturned with vanity.”

Direction 7. ”Labor to remember what you read. — Satan would steal the word out of our mind; [cf. Matt 13.4, 19] not that he intends to use of it himself, but lest we should make use of it. . . . . we are bid to have the ‘word dwell in’ us [Col 3.16].”

Direction 8. ”Meditate upon what you read. . . . The bee sucks the flower, then works it in the hive, and so turns it to honey: by reading we suck the flower of the word, by meditation we work it in the hive of our mind, and so it turns to profit. . . . The reason we come away so cold from reading the word is, because we do not warm ourselves at the fire of meditation.”

Direction 9. ”Come to the reading of the Scripture with humble hearts. — Acknowledge how unworthy you are that God should reveal Himself in His word to you. . . . pride is an enemy to profiting.”

Direction 10.
”Give credence to the word written. — Believe it to be of God; see the name of God in every line. The Romans, that they might gain credit to their laws, reported that they were inspired by the gods at Rome. . . . [but] All Scripture is of divine inspiration [cf. 2 Tim 3.16].”

Direction 11. Highly prize the Scriptures.

Direction 12. Get an ardent love to the word.

Direction 13. Come to the reading of the word with honest hearts.

Direction 14. Learn to apply the scriptures.

Direction 15. Observe the preceptive part of the word, as well as the promissive.

Direction 16. Let your thoughts dwell upon the most material passages of scripture.

Direction 17. Compare yourselves with the word.

Direction 18. Take special notice of those scriptures which speak to your particular case.

Direction 19. Take special notice of the examples in scripture. — Make the examples of others living sermons to you.

Thomas Watson, “How We May Read the Scriptures With Most Spiritual Profit,” in Puritan Sermons 1659-1689, 57-68, vol 2 of 6.

HT: BM

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