Tag Archives: The Bible

“The treasures of Paradise have been opened to you in the gospel” by John Calvin

“When you hear that the gospel presents you Jesus Christ in whom all the promises and gifts of God have been accomplished, and when it declares that He was sent by the Father, and has descended to the earth and spoken among men perfectly all that concerns our salvation, as it was foretold in the Law and to the Prophets — it ought to be most certain and obvious to you that the treasures of Paradise have been opened to you in the gospel and that the riches of God have been exhibited and eternal life itself revealed.

For, this is eternal life; to know one, only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent, whom He has established as the beginning, the middle, and the end of our salvation.

Christ is Isaac, the beloved Son of the Father who was offered as a sacrifice, but nevertheless did not succumb to the power of death.

He is Jacob the watchful shepherd, who has such great care for the sheep which He guards.

He is the good and compassionate brother Joseph, who in His glory was not ashamed to acknowledge His brothers, however lowly and abject their condition.

He is the great sacrificer and bishop Melchizedek, who has offered an eternal sacrifice once for all.

He is the sovereign lawgiver Moses, writing His law on the tables of our hearts by His Spirit.

He is the faithful captain and guide Joshua, to lead us to the Promised Land.

He is the victorious and noble king David, bringing by His hand all rebellious power to subjection.

He is the magnificent and triumphant king Solomon, governing His kingdom in peace and prosperity.

He is the strong and powerful Samson, who by His death has overwhelmed all His enemies.

It follows that every good thing we could think or desire is to be found in this same Jesus Christ alone. For, He was sold, to buy us back; captive, to deliver us; condemned, to absolve us; He was made a curse for our blessing, sin offering for our righteousness; marred that we may be made fair; He died for Our life; so that by Him fury is made gentle, wrath appeased, darkness turned into light, fear reassured, despisal despised, debt canceled, labor lightened, sadness made merry, misfortune made fortunate, difficulty easy, disorder ordered, division united, ignominy ennobled, rebellion subjected, intimidation intimidated, ambush uncovered, assaults assailed, force forced back, combat combated, war warred against, vengeance avenged, torment tormented, damnation damned, the abyss sunk into the abyss, hell transfixed, death dead, mortality made immortal.

In short, mercy has swallowed up all misery, and goodness all misfortune.

For all these things which were to be the weapons of the devil in his battle against us, and the sting of death to pierce us, are turned for us into exercises which we can turn to our profit.

If we are able to boast with the apostle, saying, ‘O hell, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?’ it is because by the Spirit of Christ promised to the elect, we live no longer, but Christ lives in us.

And we are by the same Spirit seated among those who are in heaven, so that for us the world is no more, even while our conversation is in it. But we are content in all things, whether country, place, condition, clothing, meat, and all such things. And we are comforted in tribulation, joyful in sorrow, glorying under vituperation, abounding in poverty, warmed in our nakedness, patient amongst evils, living in death.

This is what we should in short seek in the whole of Scripture: truly to know Jesus Christ, and the infinite riches that are comprised in Him and are offered to us by Him from God the Father.

If one were to sift thoroughly the Law and the Prophets, he would not find a single word which would not draw and bring us to Him. And for a fact, since all the treasures of wisdom and understanding are hidden in Him, there is not the least question of having, or turning toward, another goal.”

–John Calvin, “Preface to Olivetan’s New Testament” in Calvin: Commentaries (Library of Christian Classics, Vol. XXIII), Ed. Joseph Haroutunian (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1958), 68-70.

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“Be Bible readers” by Charles Spurgeon

“Let us stop and consider the merciful nature of God, in having written us a Bible at all. Ah! He might have left us without it, to grope our dark way, as blind men seek the wall.

He might have suffered us to wander on with the star of reason as our only guide… The light of creation is a bright light.

God may be seen in the stars. His name is written in gilt letters on the brow of night. You may discover His glory in the ocean waves, yea, in the trees of the field.

But it is better to read His glory in two books rather than in one. You will find it here more clearly revealed, for He has written this book Himself, and He has given you the key to understand it, if you have the Holy Spirit.

Ah, beloved, let us thank God for this Bible. Let us love it. Let us count it more precious than much fine gold.

But let me say one thing before I pass on to the second point. If this be the Word of God, what will become of some of you who have not read it for the last month?

‘Month, sir! I have not read it for this year.’

Ay, there are some of you who have not read it at all.

Most people treat the Bible very politely. They have a small pocket volume, neatly bound. They put a white pocket-handkerchief around it, and carry it to their places of worship.

When they get home, they lay it up in a drawer till next Sunday morning. Then it comes out again for a little bit of a treat and goes to chapel.

That is all the poor Bible gets in the way of an airing. That is your style of entertaining this heavenly messenger.

There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write ‘damnation’ with your fingers. There are some of you who have not turned over your Bibles for a long, long, long while, and what think you? I tell you blunt words, but true words.

What will God say at last? When you shall come before him, he shall say, ‘Did you read my Bible?’

‘No.’

‘I wrote you a letter of mercy; did you read it?’

‘No.’

‘Rebel! I have sent thee a letter inviting thee to me: didst thou ever read it?’

‘Lord I never broke the seal; I kept it shut up.’

‘Wretch!’ says God, ‘then thou deservest hell, if I sent thee a loving epistle and thou wouldst not even break the seal: what shall I do unto thee?’

Oh! Let it not be so with you. Be Bible readers; be Bible searchers.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Bible” in The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons (vol. 1; London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1855), 112–113.

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“For the sake of God’s Word” by Martin Luther

“There are times when, for the sake of God’s word, we must endure the hardship, anguish, and persecution which the holy cross brings upon us. In such times we can rightfully bestir and strengthen ourselves with God’s help in such a way that we can be bold, alert, and cheerful, committing our cause to God’s gracious and Fatherly will.”

–Martin Luther, “Sayings in Which Luther Found Comfort” in Luther’s Works, Vol. 43: Devotional Writings II (ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 43: 171.

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“The ever-living, eternally youthful Word” by Herman Bavinck

“Holy Scripture is not an arid story or ancient chronicle but the ever-living, eternally youthful Word, which God, now and always, issues to His people. It is the eternally ongoing speech of God to us.

It does not just serve to give us historical information; it does not even have the intent to furnish us a historical story by the standard of reliability demanded in other realms of knowledge.

Holy Scripture is tendentious: whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope [Rom. 15:4].

Scripture was written by the Holy Spirit that it might serve Him in guiding the church, in the perfecting of the saints, in building up the body of Christ.

In it God daily comes to His people.

In it He speaks to His people, not from afar but from nearby.

In it He reveals himself, from day to day, to believers in the fullness of His truth and grace.

Through it He works His miracles of compassion and faithfulness. Scripture is the ongoing rapport between heaven and earth, between Christ and His church, between God and His children.

It does not just tie us to the past; it binds us to the living Lord in the heavens.

It is the living voice of God, the letter of the omnipotent God to His creature.

God once created the world by the word, and by that word He also upholds it [Heb. 1:2, 3].

But He also re-creates it by the word and prepares it to be His dwelling. Divine inspiration, accordingly, is a permanent attribute of Holy Scripture.

It was not only ‘God-breathed’ at the time it was written; it is ‘God-breathing.’

‘It was divinely inspired, not merely while it was written, God breathing through the writers; but also, whilst it is being read, God breathing through the Scripture, and the Scripture breathing Him [He being their very breath].’ (Bengel)

Having come forth from revelation, it is kept alive by divine inspiration and made efficacious.

It is the Holy Spirit who maintains both prophecy and miracle, Scripture and church, joining them together, thus preparing the parousia.

Some day when being and consciousness are completely renewed, revelation will end and Scripture will no longer be necessary.

Divine inspiration (θεοπνευστια) will then be the portion of all God’s children. They will all be taught by the Lord and serve Him in His temple. Prophecy and miracle have then become ‘nature,’ for God dwells among His people.”

–Herman Bavinck, Ed. John Bolt and trans. John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena, Vol. 1  (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 384-385.

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“The attentive study of the Scriptures” by Charles Bridges

“Let the Theologian ascend from the lower school of natural study, to the higher department of Scripture, and, sitting at the feet of God as his teacher, learn from His mouth the hidden mysteries of salvation, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard which none of the princes of this world knew which the most accurate reason cannot search out; which the heavenly chorus of angels, though always beholding the face of God, desire to look into.

In the hidden book of Scripture, and nowhere else, are opened the secrets of the more sacred wisdom. Whatever is not drawn from them—whatever is not built upon them—whatever does not most exactly accord with them—however it may recommend itself by the appearance of the most sublime wisdom, or rest upon ancient tradition, consent of learned men, or the weight of plausible argument—is vain, futile, and, in short, a very lie.

To the law and to the testimony. If any one speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Let the Theologian delight in these sacred oracles: let him exercise himself in them day and night, let him meditate on them, let him live in them, let him derive all his wisdom from them, let him compare all his thoughts with them, and let him embrace nothing in religion which he does not find here.

Let him not bind his faith to a man— not to a Prophet—not to an Apostle—not even to an Angel himself, as if the dictum of either man or angel were to be the rule of faith. Let his whole ground of faith be in God alone. For it is a Divine, not a human faith, which we learn and teach; so pure that it can rest upon no ground but the authority of God, who is never false, and never can deceive.

The attentive study of the Scriptures has a sort of constraining power. It fills the mind with the most splendid form of heavenly truth, which it teaches with purity, solidity, certainty, and without the least mixture of error. It soothes the mind with an inexpressible sweetness.

It satisfies the sacred hunger and thirst for knowledge with flowing rivers of honey and butter. It penetrates into the innermost heart with irresistible influence. It imprints its own testimony so firmly upon the mind, that the believing soul rests upon it with the same security, as if it had been carried up into the third heaven, and heard it from God’s own mouth.

It touches all the affections, and breathes the sweetest fragrance of holiness upon the pious reader, even though he may not perhaps comprehend the full extent of his reading.”

–Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1830/2005), 58-59.

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Lord’s Day Hymn – “O Word of God Incarnate”

“O Word of God Incarnate”
By William How, 1867

O Word of God incarnate,
O wisdom from on high,
O truth unchanged, unchanging,
O light of our dark sky;
We praise Thee for the radiance
That from the hallowed page,
A lantern to our footsteps,
Shines on from age to age.

The Church from her dear Master,
Received the gift divine,
And still the light she lifteth,
O’er all the earth to shine.
It is the golden casket
Where gems of truth are stored;
It is the heav’n-drawn picture
Of Christ, the living Word.

It floateth like a banner
Before God’s host unfurled;
It shineth like a beacon
Above the darkling world.
It is the chart and compass
That o’er life’s surging sea,
’Mid mists and rocks and quicksands,
Still guides, O Christ, to Thee.

O make Thy Church, dear Savior,
A lamp of purest gold,
To bear before the nations
Thy true light as of old.
O teach Thy wand’ring pilgrims
By this their path to trace,
’Til, clouds and darkness ended,
They see Thee face to face.

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Lord’s Day Prayer – “Hear, read, mark, and learn”

“Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of Thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which Thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.”

—“The Collect for the Second Sunday in Advent” in The Book of Common Prayer (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1662/2006), 49.

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