How To Study The Bible, by Dwight L. Moody
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Aneko Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
One should not think that a bluntly titled book like this one, part of the Aneko Press Christian Classic series , would offer the reader any ambiguity about what its title meant. When I saw the title of this book, my first thought is that the author, a noted theologian, would provide some sort of practical insight on Bible study, and there was some of that. What there was a great deal more of, though, was discussion of the mindset that people should have towards the Bible when it comes to study. If not precisely as practical in the narrow sense, this discussion was immensely useful in setting a context for a lifetime of Bible study to which the practical elements included later on would fit. In stark contrast to many contemporary books on Bible Study, the author does not assume a great deal of knowledge concerning the Bible on the part of the student of the Bible. First he seeks to convince the reader of the worthwhile nature of bible study and then he gives advice on how it can profitably be done, making this a book of enduring worth.
Eighteen chapters fill the approximately 150 pages about this book. Included in the book are strong defenses of the necessity of Bible Study for a true life as well as the truth of the Bible. The author encourages attention to the often-neglected Old Testament and defends the accuracy of scripture against critics, encouraging the reader to take the time necessary to know the whole Bible well. Among the more practical aspects of Bible study the author discusses are the telescope and microscope approaches, one of them looking at the larger structure of the books and chapters of the Bible, a top-down approach, and the other a bottom-up approach of looking in depth at different biblical verses and passages and how they connect with others. The author spends some time talking about the importance of biblical typology and developing trust in God’s word. This is followed by some discussion of the worth of marking a Bible in order to place a context around verses that serve as a memory aid to larger discussions. Towards the end of the book the author encourages believers to engage in personal work for God and summarizes his suggestions on Bible study for the reader.
A great deal of this book can be better understood when one realizes that the original title of the book was Pleasure & Profit In Bible Study. That title makes a great deal of sense given the book’s contents. The author encourages the reader to cultivate the time to read and study the Bible enough to develop a love for it. In our age of busy lives and easily distracted people, this book is a useful reminder that there has long been a struggle to devote the proper amount of time to prayer and Bible study and that this is by no means a new problem as we might otherwise be led to believe by our own chronological snobbery. It is admirable that the writer maintains his zeal for the Bible and a justice to its contents while also showing a great deal of thoughtful concern for the reader. This book shows no pandering to the reader and to his (or her) prejudices, but neither is this book a harsh and unkind one. On the contrary, the book shows a balance between a high degree of honor towards God as well as a high degree of respect for the reader, a habit many contemporary readers would do well to imitate.
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