Category Archives: Reading

“How can we be wise apart from the Wisdom of God?” by John Calvin

“We are taught in this passage that the knowledge of Christ must be sought from the Scriptures. Those who imagine what they like about Christ will ultimately have nothing but a shadowy ghost in His place.

First then, we must hold that Christ cannot be properly known from anywhere but the Scriptures. And if that is so, it follows that the Scriptures should be read with the aim of finding Christ in them.

Whoever turns aside from this object, even though he wears himself out all his life in learning, will never reach the knowledge of the truth. For how can we be wise apart from the Wisdom of God?

Moreover, as we are commanded to seek Christ in the Scriptures, so He declares in this passage that our work will not be fruitless, for there the Father bears witness to His Son in such a way that He will manifest Him to us beyond all fought.

But what hinders most men is that they look at them only carelessly and as it were in passing. But it needed the utmost application, and so Christ commanded them to search diligently for this hidden treasure.

Accordingly, the abhorrence for Christ which the Jews feel, who have the Law constantly in their hands, must be imputed to their laziness. For the brightness of God’s glory shines clearly in Moses, but they want to have a veil to obscure that brightness.

‘By the Scriptures,’ of course, is here meant the Old Testament. For Christ did not first begin to be manifested in the Gospel; but the One to whom the Law and the Prophets bore witness was openly revealed in the Gospel.”

–John Calvin, The Gospel According to St John: 1-10, Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries, Vol. 4; trans. T.H.L. Parker, Ed. David Torrance and Thomas Torrance (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1961), 139. Calvin is commenting on John 5:39.

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“The rigorous habit of querying the text” by John Piper

“Amazing things happen when you form the rigorous habit of querying the text-– when you aggressively ask questions to yourself and to the text. Little by little, thread by thread, you begin to see the intricately woven fabric of God‘s revelation. Over time you will be changed.”

–John Piper, Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), 347.

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“The purpose of God for the Bible cannot fail” by John Piper

“God has made the natural act of reading the Bible supernaturally the indispensable means of achieving the ultimate goal of the universe…

The purpose of God for the Bible cannot fail. And that purpose is to reveal God’s infinite worth and beauty as the ultimate value and excellence in the universe, to open the eyes of His people to see that glory in the Scriptures, so that we savor the excellence of God above all created treasures, and, by beholding and being satisfied with God, be changed from glory to glory, until the bride of Christ— the family of God across all centuries and cultures— is complete in number and beauty for the white-hot worship of God forever and ever.

God purchased and secured this great salvation through the incarnation of the Son of God, so that He might live a perfect life, die in the place of sinners, and rise from the dead to rule the world. To preserve and perform this great plan of salvation, God inspired and preserved the Christian Scriptures.

And now He is carrying out His plan as millions of people pursue the natural act of reading the Bible supernaturally. I invite you to join us. It is the only way for your life to be of lasting service to the world, and for your work to show forth the glory of God, and for your soul to be fully satisfied forever.”

–John Piper, Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), 392-393, 393.

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“Look, look, look!” by John Piper

“Most people read half asleep. We read the Bible pretty much like we watch television— passively. What I mean by passively is that we expect the TV program to affect us. Entertain us, or inform , or teach us. Our minds are almost entirely in the passive mode as impulses come into our minds.

The opposite is when our minds go on alert and watch carefully. We become aggressively observant. When we see TV or the world actively, we see layers and dimensions and aspects of reality that before were totally unnoticed. The difference is that now the mind is engaged.

You have issued a command to the brain: Look! Listen! Think about what you are seeing. Spot clues. Be aggressively observant. Be unremitting in your attentiveness. Be unwaveringly watchful. Make connections. Notice patterns. Ask questions….

The barrier to seeing the riches of the Scriptures is not owing to the fact that more people don’t know Greek and Hebrew, but that more people don’t have the patience to look, look, look.”

–John Piper, Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), 327, 332.

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“You’re left with a con” by Andrew Sach and Tim Hiorns

“If you take a text out of context, you’re left with a con.”

–Andrew Sach and Tim Hiorns, Dig Deeper Into The Gospels: Coming Face To Face With Jesus In Mark (Nottingham: IVP, 2015), 44.

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“A plotline that flows from Eden” by David Schrock

“In the end, the only typology worth preaching is that which we find in Scripture. Fortunately, we do not need to ‘go over hedge and ditch’ to ‘make a way’ to get to Christ, as the old Welsh preacher said it.

All of Scripture already is written with a plotline that flows from Eden through Israel’s hills and valleys until it terminates and overflows in the person and work of Jesus Christ. We do not need to fear typology nor create new spiritual meaning.

Rather, following the terrain of the text, we need to keep reading the Bible until we like beekeepers find the sweet scent of gospel honey in the pages of God’s Word.

If we do that, we will not (need to) add meaning to the text through some spiritual method of interpretation. Rather, we will hear what the Spirit originally intended as we pay careful attention to the contours of the biblical plotline.”

–David Schrock, “From Beelines to Plotlines: Typology That Follows the Covenantal Topography of Scripture,” The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 21.1 (2017): 48-49.

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“Hammer your way through a continued argument” by C.S. Lewis

“I should rather like to attend your Greek class, for it is a perpetual puzzle to me how New Testament Greek got the reputation of being easy. St Luke I find particularly difficult.

As regards matter– leaving the question of language– you will be glad to hear that I am at last beginning to get some small understanding of St Paul: hitherto an author quite opaque to me.

I am speaking now, of course, of the general drift of whole epistles: short passages, treated devotionally, are of course another matter. And yet the distinction is not, for me, quite a happy one.

Devotion is best raised when we intend something else. At least that is my experience.

Sit down to meditate devotionally on a single verse, and nothing happens. Hammer your way through a continued argument, just as you would in a profane writer, and the heart will sometimes sing unbidden.”

–C.S. Lewis, “To Dom Bede Griffiths” (April 4, 1934) in The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis: Books, Broadcasts, and the War 1931-1949, Volume 2, Ed. Walter Hooper (New York: HarperCollins, 2004), 136.

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