THE STUDY OF THE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE IN THE ORDER GIVEN IN THE BIBLE AND IN THEIR CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER.
A fifth method of Bible study is the old-fashioned method of the study of the Bible in course, beginning at Genesis and going right on until Revelation is finished. This method of study is ridiculed a good deal in these days, but it has some advantages which no other method of study possesses. It is sometimes said, you might as well begin at the top shelf of your library and read right through, as to begin at the beginning of this library of sixty-six books and read right through. To this it is a sufficient answer, If you had a library that it was important to master as a whole, that you might understand the separate books in it, and that was as well arranged as the Bible is, then this method of going through your library would be excellent. The advantages of studying in the Bible in course are: First, It is the only method by which you will get an idea of the Book as a whole. The more we know of the Bible as a whole, the better prepared we are for the understanding of any individual portion of it. Second, It is the only method by which you are likely to cover the whole Book, and so take in the entire scope of God's revelation. It will be many a long year before any man covers the whole Bible by Book studies, or even by Topical studies. Every part of God's word is precious, and there are gems of truth hidden away in most unexpected places, e. g., I Chron, iv: 10, we hit upon these priceless gems by studying the Bible in course.
Third, It is the best method to enable one to get hold of the unity of the Bible and its organic character. Fourth, It is a great corrective to one-sidedness and crankiness. The Bible is a many sided book, it is Calvinistic and Arminian, it is Trinitarian and Unitarian, it clearly teaches the Deity of Christ and insists on His real Humanity, it exalts faith and demands works, it urges to victory through conflict and asserts most vigorously that victory is won by faith, etc., etc. If we become too much taken up with any one line of truth in our Book or Topical studies, and we are more than likely to, the daily study of the Bible in course will soon bring us to some contrasted line of truth, and bring us back to our proper balance. Some people go insane through becoming too much occupied with a single line of truth. The thoughtful study of the whole Bible is a great corrective to this tendency. It would be well to have three methods of study in progress at the same time: first, the study of some book; second, the study of topics (perhaps topics suggested by the book studies); third, the study of the Bible in course. Every other method of study should be supplemented by studying the Bible in course. Some years ago I determined to read the A. V. through every year, the R. V. through every year, and the N. T. in Greek through every year. It has proved exceedingly profitable, and I would not willingly give it up.
A sixth method of study is closely related to the fifth method and has advantages of its own that will appear as soon as the method is described. It is studying the various portions of the Bible in their Chronological Order. In this way the Psalms are read in their historical settings, as are prophecies, epistles, etc. The whole Bible has been excellently arranged for Chronological study in Miss Petrie's Clews to Holy Writ. (American Tract Society.) The course as outlined by Miss Petrie covers three years, and there are questions given for study and examination.