Andrew Bonar preached from the whole Bible, the Word of God from Genesis to Revelation. When one of his friends remarked on his originality in finding subjects for preaching, and wondered where he got all his texts, he just lifted up his Bible. He did not ignore any part of it, but explained it all. He did not shy away from any passages that might be seen as unpopular or unpleasant. Even the first chapters of Chronicles became 'God calling the roll of mankind.' He made it come alive as a history of men and women, living in their time, as we live in ours, accountable to God.
Christ and Him crucified was at the centre of all his preaching, in all parts of the Bible. He declared 'the whole counsel of God', and was deeply aware of his responsibility as a man of God. He spent hours every day in prayer and meditation of the Scriptures, and asking for the Holy Spirit to show the truth to him, so that he might pass it on to his flock. He wrote in a letter: "Persevering prayerfulness is harder for the flesh than preaching."
Above all, he was aware that his personal holiness would be of crucial importance to his preaching, as his remark shows: "Sins of teachers are teachers of sins."
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'The Value of a Thought'
History of a Model of the Tabernacle, 1879
[The notes which form this chapter are taken, with additions and explanations, from a little book in which Dr. Bonar had jotted down a brief account of the origin of his model of the Tabernacle. It was one of the methods of preaching the Gospel which he made use of during the course of his ministry - a ...read
A friend in Blairgowrie
GLASGOW, 2nd Sept. 1859.
DEAR FOLLOWER OF THE LAMB,
-- He that believeth shall not make haste. Go on quietly resting in the grace of Jesus, for His grace is like a full well which you may draw from and yet no way exhaust. Sit beside this well, and when your soul is sad because of sin in you, drink of this free love again. Sit beside this well ...read
A friend in the country
MY DEAR SIR,
--I have been too long in replying to your welcome letter. Do you think letters ever passed between the families of Moses and Jethro? Would not Moses or his son Gershom write occasionally to their friends in Midian, and tell of the wilderness journey?
Suppose the following letter from Gershom to his grandfather Jethro : 'Peace be ...read
A schoolboy in London
GLASGOW, 20 INDIA STREET, 21st October 1873.
MY DEAR WALTER,
--I wonder how your soul prospers? You know we can go on busily with work, and all the more busily, when enjoying the sunshine round us--it makes all so cheerful. It is even thus with us in our souls when realising the presence of God in Christ, when we know that He is 'beholding us ...read
A Sermon to Children
'There were also with Him other little ships' Mark 4: 36
Some of the little things we do in our meetings with you are imitations of Christ's ways.
When you are going away from a meeting we sometimes give you a tract ; so Jesus in sending the people away gave each of them a blessing. It was evening, and He was kept late as He thus spoke a p ...read
A servant in his congregation
CRAIGNURE, ISLE OF MULL, 6th August 1884.
-- I was greatly surprised on receiving your letter. But I suppose you were yourself taken altogether unawares. This comfort, however, you have, sure and full, viz., that E. has only gone to 'the mountain of myrrh and hill of frankincense' for a season, and then shall come back with Chr ...read
All Spiritual Blessings
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3
There are many wonderful things in this epistle. Sometimes we are told to look up to the 'heavenly places;' sometimes to look back, past eternity; and again we are told to look far forward, into t ...read
What I write is not a vision, nor a dream; it is an allegory of its kind. You will follow me into another region, to a spot where angels are gathered together in quiet, happy converse. They are all ' ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation' (Heb. 1:14); but they are creatures, and so they need intervals ...read
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Psalm 103: 1-5 IN this psalm we find the Psalmist standing at the golden altar with his harp in his hand, recounting all his mercies. This psalm teaches us adoration. Adoration is not thanksgiving; it is silent wonder. I once saw a striking instance of this in a sick one, who said to me, 'I got such a sight of the Lord Jesus -- His wonderful Person ...read
Christ's Silence, Part 1
'A time to keep silence and a time to speak' Eccles. 3:7
We can draw a great deal of instruction from Christ's silence.
'Let Christ's word and silence too
Dwell in thy heart,'
a Moravian hymn says. Silence as to things we would like to know about Christ is a different thing from Christ Himself keeping silence. Do we ever in the four Go ...read
Christ's Silence, Part 2
'Have I not held my peace even of old, and thou fearest me not? Isaiah 57:11
IT is, as we would say, an old custom of God's to keep silence when we would have expected Him to speak. Of old God's silence was meant to lead men to fear. We need not wonder that when Christ came He acted in the same way.
I. Christ's silence in receiving sinner ...read
Christ's Silence, Part 3
JOHN the Baptist lay in prison unnoticed, and we may say uncared for, for nearly a year. How mysterious! No wonder he sent to ask the Master if there was any explanation of this. 'Art Thou He that should come? Is this like the Messiah?' Christ's answer to the disciples of John was, 'Tell your master what I am doing, and have be ...read
Closing Address On Communion Sabbath January 27, 1889
'When He is come, He will tell us all things' John 4:25
You must have noticed some great and memorable sayings in the New Testament which were spoken unwittingly.
'This man receiveth sinners' (Luke 15:2); 'It is expedient that one man should die for the people' (John 11:50); 'He saved others, Himself He cannot save' (Matt. 27:42); 'This is ...read
Coming to Christ
The natural man is exceedingly perverse, and Satan knows how to wield this perversity of the heart. We, in our day, are ready to excuse ourselves for slowness to believe in the Lord Jesus by saying, 'How much easier it would have been, had we seen Him in the flesh, and been with Him when he wrought His gracious works, and when He spoke His words th ...read
'Always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God' Col. 4:12.
Epaphras was a citizen of Colosse. Hence his deep interest in the Colossians. The Lord does not ask His people to give up their patriotism when they turn to Him. Epaphras had a particular desire that the Colossians should b ...read
First-fruits of the Resurrection.
'The graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose.' Matt. 27: 50-53
This is a passage about which very little has been written. Commentators seem to pass it by as something very mysterious. But if the Holy Spirit be with us we will find that there is a lesson for us in this part of the Word. 'The rocks rent.' Wherever we ...read
His niece in school at Kelso
GLASGOW, 14th December 1874.
MY DEAR NIECE EMILY,
--It was very good in you to write me so nice a letter. It was well written every way, and makes me think you are already greatly the better of being away from home, breathing your native air. Your great-grandfather never saw Kelso, but I am sure he would have rejoiced to see his descendant, w ...read
His son James
GLASGOW, 14th Feby. 1873.
MY DEAR JAMES,
--I have this week been lighting upon some passages in the poets that seemed to me to illustrate, or, rather, to put in a good setting, some truths that are usually stated in Bible language. Reading a little of Carey's 'Dante' (which is not always free from obscurity), I found these lines that seemed t ...read
How Faith Receives Christ and Rests on Him
NOTES OF AN ADDRESS DELIVERED AT THE PERTH CONFERENCE, 1885
It is often best for us not to attempt to define Faith and its actings, but to show how the soul that has been awakened and is seeking a resting-place, may be gently led by the Spirit to meet Christ, in whom it finds all it desires, without an effort. Let us try this plan of illustratin ...read
And I John saw these things and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not : for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book ; worship God. Rev. 22: 8, 9
'I, J ...read