Be encouraged!

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by ReformedBaptist, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
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    A dear brother in Christ recently wrote to me concerning some (bad) advice he was receiving from certain brethren. It was advice to give up the reading of Christian books/commentaries. I too have run into this and find it to be utterly stupid. I am posting my reply to this dear Christian as an encouragement to others and, honestly, a rebuke of such bad advice.


    Hey my brother,

    Grace and peace to you and the increase of the knowledge of Christ be yours! (I am not trying to sound lofty, but taking the example of the apostles and of something I read recently by Tyndale lol, plus I mean it from my heart)

    To your question those encouraging you to personal Bible study as the way in which God leads us is true. To give this exhortation to the exclusion of reading solid Christian literature is...well...stupid. lol Maybe I should use the term foolhardy. While the following quote from Spurgeon is fairly long, its worth the exhortation:

    This Spurgeon said to those who came to the Pastor's College (Spurgeon's seminary) to his students and I think there is much wisdom in it. Once I had a pastor remark that I should put away all my commentaries and just read the Scriptures, to which I replied, "Sir, does that include the commentary you make on the Scripture every week?"

    The Lord has given to His Church many gifts of teachers and preachers and we do well to attend to them. It is possible to be so consumed in such reading that we could neglect our personal study of the Scriptures. I think we should strike a balance between the two. There have been times in my personal study where I came to an understanding that I did not have before, nor recalled hearing preached, so I consulted many commentaries to see if I had an innovation. Often to my great joy and comfort, I found those things expounded long ago by great men of God.

    In finding quality commentary and works I have taken good comfort in Spurgeon recommendations. He references a great many men and their works for our edification. Remember, Spurgeon had 12,000 volumes in his own library and on average read 6 books a week! I don't think he is the worse for it, do you? lol

    Spurgeon said one time that a man who is not well read will not be read well. I think that is right.

    So my brother, do not throw off the old divines as some would have you do. Their exhortations are exhibitions of their own ignorance.

    Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed!

    Your servant in Christ,
    RB
     
  2. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    And sooner or later, their ignorance will be revealed in their preaching or teaching. The problem is that they won't even know it enough to be embarrassed.. And their ignorance could very well lead someone astray.
     
  3. drfuss

    drfuss
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    drfuss: The problem I have with depending on commentaries is: What commentaries do you depend on? Roman Catholic? Jewish? Calvinists? Arminian? Lutheran? 7Th Day adventists? etc.

    Every commentary has an agenda. The problem is most Christians limit their commentaries to those of their own theology. This is particularily true on BB with the Calvinists. I suspect in other forums, the same limitations are practiced with other theologies. Some Christians are fearful of reading commentaries of other theologies which may contradict their own taught theology.

    I study the secipture without the commentaries and read the commentaries as only someone's opinion. Many times the commentaries are helpful, but I don't depend on them for my basic theology.
     
  4. Bro. Williams

    Bro. Williams
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    I will say that I approach other books and commentaries in a twofold fashion:

    1) They are often a sermon in print (we do not give up listening to preaching, why would would give up reading preaching - to put it lightly)

    2) As I study to reconcile a man's sermon with Scripture, so too do I with the writings of man.
     
  5. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant
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    Good advice, Reformed Baptist! We must compare Scripture with Scripture, but the commentaries and sermons have lasted for hundred or more years for a reason - they contain great wisdom.

    When I read commentaries that don't agree with my view, it makes me go back and make certain that my view is Biblically based. If I think it is, I treat it like eating fried chicken: I eat the meat and throw away the bones.
     
  6. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
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    Tom,

    I do the same. I don't believe everything I read in commentaries. I do believe everything I read in Scripture, without question, but not so with commentaries. Yet I have found some commentaries to be very useful.
     
  7. TCGreek

    TCGreek
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    Well said.
     
  8. charles_creech78

    charles_creech78
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    The only thing that will lead you astray is not blieveing in Jesus Christ.1Jn 2:27 But the anointing which ye haue receiued of him, abideth in you: and yee need not that any man teach you: But, as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is trueth, and is no lye: and euen as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
     
  9. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    There are people to whom God has given a gift of great intellect, and a desire to apply that intellect to reading and understanding the scriptures. Some of them are also given a teaching gift for our benefit. We should appropriate those benefits to ourselves.

    I have personally benefited from the preaching, teaching and writings of a number of my pastors and others so gifted. They have broadened and deepened my understanding of the scriptures which I doubt if I had the intellectual capacity to achieve on my own.
     
  10. charles_creech78

    charles_creech78
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    God gives you understanding then.
     
  11. pops

    pops
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    Encouraged

    Not read books ? Not use commentaries? - Must be kidding!!
    Why would I not know what commentaries to read and what books to read? I may be old but not that old !
    Commentaries I look at who publisher is, I listen to advice of others who's opinion I value. I believe I own three commentaries and several other reference volumes. The commentary that I use most often is a two volume set published by Dallas Theological Seminary. The next one was written by J. Vernon McGee. I read this one from beginning to end once - took me two years mostly because it was not the only thing I read. However my all time number one writer of expository commentaries is James Montgomery Boice (a Presbyterian in case you are curious) Each chapter of his books is about eight pages in length because they were also his sermons (at least most were). I would say that in a majority of his chapters at the end he talks about salvation. Which you don't find in many publications these days.
    Regarding books my favorite authors are Dr Blackaby, Rick Warren, Billy Graham, Charles Stanley, and others that I will remember when I get over this senior moment! I also like fiction books and get most of them from discount places about $4.99 or so and the language used has sometimes made me regret spending even $4.99, I also like books on Alaska.
     

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