THE METHODS AND FUNDAMENTAL CONDITIONS OF THE BIBLE STUDY THAT YIELD THE LARGEST RESULTS
HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER TO METHODS OF BIBLE STUDY.
We shall consider the most profitable Methods of Bible Study before we consider the Fundamental Conditions of Profitable Bible study. Many readers of this book will probably be frightened, at first, at the seeming elaborateness and difficulty of some of the methods of study suggested. But they are not as difficult as they appear. Their practicability and fruitfulness have been tested in the class-room, and that not with classes made up altogether of college graduates, but largely composed of persons of very moderate education; in some cases of almost no education. They do require time and hard work. It must be remembered, however, that the Bible contains gold, and almost any one is willing to dig for gold, especially if it is certain that he will find it. It is certain that one will find gold in the Bible, if he digs. As one uses the methods here recommended, he will find his ability to do the work rapidly increasing by exercise, until he can soon do more in fifteen minutes than at the outset he could do in an hour.
The first method of study suggested will be found to be an exceptionally good mental training. When one has pursued this method of study for a time, his powers of observation will have been so quickened, that he will see at a glance what, at first, he only saw upon much study and reflection. This method of study will also train the logical powers, cultivating habits of order, system and classification in one's intellectual processes. The power of clear, concise and strong expression will also be developed. No other book affords the opportunity for intellectual development by its study, that is to be found in the Bible. No other book, and no other subject, will so abundantly repay close and deep study. The Bible is much read, but comparatively little studied. It will probably be noticed by some that the first method of study suggested is practically the method now pursued in the study of nature; first, careful analysis and ascertainment of facts; second, classification of facts. But the facts of revelation far transcend those of nature in sublimity, suggestiveness, helpfulness and practical utility. They are also far more accessible.
We cannot all be profound students of nature; we can all be profound students of Scripture. Many an otherwise illiterate person has a marvelous grasp of Bible truth. It was acquired by study. There are persons who have studied little else, who have studied the Scriptures, by the hour, daily, and their consequent wisdom is the astonishment and sometimes the dismay of scholars and theologians.