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Reading Scripture


Eight ways to read Scripture, suggested by Richard Greenham (c. 1542–1594):

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  1. With Diligence. We must be more diligent in reading the Scriptures than anything else—more than men dig for hidden treasure. Diligence makes rough places plain; makes the difficult, easy; makes the unsavory, tasty.
  2. With Wisdom. We must be wise in the choice of matter, order, and time. In terms of matter, we must not try to move from the revealed to that which is not revealed to that which is not revealed, nor spend more time on the most difficult portions of Scripture. In terms of order, the wise reader of Scripture must be firmly grounded in all the major points of doctrine. Moreover, the Scripture reading must follow some semblance of order, for a whole Bible makes a whole Christian. In terms of time, the entire Sabbath should be devoted to such exercises as the reading of Scriptures. On other days, a portion of Scripture should be read in the morning, at noon, and in the evening.
  3. With Preparation. In desiring to learn of God, we must approach Scripture with a reverential fear of God and His majesty, with faith in Christ, and with sincerity.
  4. With Meditation. This is as critical as preparation before reading Scripture. Reading may give some breadth, but only meditation will offer depth. “Meditation without reading is erroneous, and reading without meditation is barren,” Greenham writes. “Meditation makes that which we have read to be our own.” It helps transfuse Scripture through the entire texture of the soul.
  5. With Conference. This means godly conversation with ministers or other believers. The godly must share with others what they learn from the Scriptures, not in a proud manner but with humility, trusting that where two or three are gathered together for spiritual conversation, God will be among them.
  6. With Faith. As Hebrews 4:2 says, faith is the key to profitable reception of the Word. Through reading the Word by faith, our faith will be refined. Scripture reading ought to try our faith, not only in the generalities of our lives, but also in particular afflictions. As God is tried in the fire, so faith will abide the fire of affliction.
  7. With Practice. Practice will “bring forth increase of faith and repentance,” Greenham writes. Practice is the best way to learn; the more we put the Word into practice in the daily obedience of faith, the more God will increase our gifts for His service and for additional practice.
  8. With Prayer. Prayer is indispensable in the reading of Scripture. It must precede, accompany, and follow our reading. Prayer also necessarily involves thanksgiving: “if we be bound to praise God when he hath fed our bodies, how much more when he hath fed our souls?” Greenham asks.

Meet the Puritans (Reformation Heritage Books, 2006), 294–295.



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3 Comments:


#1 || 13·01·25··07:01 || Carl Cunningham

This is very helpful, to the point of convicting, in how I should go about personal and family devotion.


#2 || 13·01·25··07:16 || Carl Cunningham

Oops, I forgot to mention my main point: thank you for sharing great nuggets such as this!


#3 || 13·01·25··14:52 || David Kjos

It’s my pleasure—I get to read them first.


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