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Spurgeon’s Prayer for Reading Scripture

When it comes to spending time reading the Bible, C. H. Spurgeon stands in the company of great men and women who held a high view of Scripture. He (and they) reminded people that the Bible is not simply a group of words that teach us how to live as faithful disciples of Jesus, but its the book through which we actually encounter the living Christ. Recently I’ve been immersed in the writing of men such as John Piper, Martin Luther, and (a new book on the works of) Karl Barth; men who knew that Scripture was the primary means of grace through which we could see and savour the preeminent, living Christ.

When it came to teaching his people how to approach the pages of the Bible, Spurgeon reminded them of the real reason they’re disciples of Christ. Like the primary purpose of the Holy Spirit, Spurgeon’s priority in preaching was to make much of Christ and he did so every time he stepped into the pulpit. This is the posture we should have as we pick up our Bibles. Reading Scripture should never be a dull task, a monotonous ritual, or a low-level guilt-inducing obligation. I’m the first to admit that I’ve gone through seasons when Bible reading has been reduced to the simple turning of a page and the moving-forward of my bookmark. But above all else, whenever we pick up our Bibles our desire should be to encounter Christ—the Word made flesh—to be encountered by him; to be read by him; to be transformed into his image; and to know in a deeper way him in whom we find our ultimate delight. Spurgeon encouraged his people to pray like this:

O living Christ, make this a living word to me. Thy word is life, but not without the Holy Spirit. I may know this book of thine from beginning to end, and repeat it all from Genesis to Revelation, and yet it may be a dead book, and I may be a dead soul. But, Lord, be present here; then will I look up from the book to the Lord; from precept to him who fulfilled it; from the law to him who honoured it; from the threatening to him who has borne it for me, and from the promise to him in whom it is “Yes and amen.”

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Published inChristian Living