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No preacher should be content with being anything less than “a man mighty in the scriptures”

January 6, 2015 1 comment

Arthur PinkNo preacher should be content with being anything less than “a man mighty in the scriptures” (Acts 18:24). But to attain thereunto he must subordinate all other interests. An old writer quaintly said, “The preacher should be with his time as the miser is with his gold—saving it with care, and spending it with caution.” He must also remind himself constantly whose Book it is he is about to take up, so that he ever handles it with the utmost reverence, and can aver “my heart standeth in awe of Thy word” (Psalm 119:161). He must approach it in lowly-mindedness, for it is only unto such that the Lord “giveth more grace.” He must ever come to it in the spirit of prayer, crying “that which I see not teach Thou me” (Job 34:32): the enlightening grace of the Spirit will often open mysteries to the meek and dependent which remain closed to the most learned and scholarly. A holy heart is equally indispensable for the reception of supernatural truth, for the understanding is clarified by the purifying of the heart. Let there also be a humble expectation of Divine help, for “according unto your faith be it unto you” holds good here too.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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The hearts of those who preach, must be conformed to the word of God

December 16, 2014 1 comment

Arthur Pink“To seek after mere notions of Truth, without an endeavor after an experience of its power in our hearts, is not the way to increase our understanding in spiritual things. He alone is in a posture to learn from God, who sincerely gives up his mind, conscience, and affections to the power and rule of what is revealed unto him. Men may have in their study of the Scriptures other ends also, as the profit and edification of others. But if this conforming of their own souls unto the power of the Word be not fixed in the first place in their minds they do not strive lawfully, nor will they be crowned. And if at any time, when we study the Word, we have not this design expressly in our minds, yet if upon the discovery of any truth we endeavor not to have the likeness of it in our own hearts, we lose our principal advantage by it” (John Owen). It is much to be feared that many preachers will have reason to lament in the day to come,

“They made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept” (Song of Solomon 1:6)

—like a chef preparing meals for others and himself starved.

 

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Those who preach are to read the scriptures for his own benefit first

November 25, 2014 3 comments

Arthur PinkParticularly does the minister need to attend unto this injunction “take heed unto thyself” in his study of the Scriptures, reading them devotionally ere he does so professionally; that is, seeking their application and blessing to his own soul before searching for sermonic materials. As the saintly Hervey expressed it, “Thus may we always be affected when we study the oracles of Truth. Study them, not as cold critics, who are only to judge of their meaning, but as persons deeply interested in all they contain. Who are particularly addressed in every exhortation, and directed in every precept. Whose are the promises, and to whom belong the precious privileges. When we are enabled thus to realize and appropriate the contents of that invaluable Book, then shall we taste the sweetness and feel the power of the Scriptures. Then shall we know by happy experience that our Divine Master’s words are not barely sounds and syllables, but that they are spirit and they are life.” No man can be constantly giving out — that which is fresh and savory—unless he be continually taking in. That which he is to declare unto others is what his own ears have first heard, his own eyes have seen, his own hands have handled (1 John 1:1, 2).

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Those who preach are to study the Word of God

November 4, 2014 3 comments

Arthur PinkThus the chief and constant duty of the preacher is to conform unto that injunction,

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

In the whole of Scripture there is no exhortation addressed to preachers which is of greater importance than that one, and few equal. Doubtless that is why Satan has been so active in seeking to obscure its first two clauses by raising such a cloud of dust over the last one. The Greek word for “study” here signifies “give diligence”: spare no efforts, but make it your paramount concern and constant endeavor to please your Master. Seek not the smiles and flatteries of worms of the earth, but the approbation of the Lord. That is to take precedence of everything else: unless it is, attention to the second thing mentioned will be in vain. Entirely subordinate all other aims to commending thyself unto God — thine own heart and character, thy dealings with and walk before Him, ordering all thy ways according to His revealed will. What are your “service,” your ministrations, worth, if He be displeased with thee?

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

A holy design is required to interpret the scriptures

October 14, 2014 1 comment

Arthur PinkFifth, a holy design. Many are deceived in this matter, mistaking an eagerness to acquire scriptural knowledge for a love of the Truth itself. Inquisitiveness to discover what the Bible says is why some read it. A sense of shame to be unable to discover its teaching prompts others. The desire to be familiar with its contents so as to hold their own in an argument moves still others. If it be nothing better than a mere desire to be well versed in its details which causes us to read the Bible, it is more than likely that the garden of our souls will remain barren. The inspiring motive should be honestly examined. Do I search the Scriptures in order to become better acquainted with their Author and His will for me? Is the dominating purpose which actuates me that I may grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord? Is it that I may ascertain more clearly and fully how I should order the details of my life, so that it will be more pleasing and honoring to Him? Is it that I may be brought into a closer walking with God and the enjoyment of more unbroken communion with Him? Nothing less is a worthy aim than that I may be conformed to and transformed by its holy teaching.

In this chapter we have dealt only with the elementary side of our subject, nevertheless of what is of basic importance, and which few attend unto. Even in the palmy days of the Puritans, Owen had to complain, “the number is very small of those who diligently, humbly, and conscientiously endeavor to learn the Truth from the voice of God in the Scriptures, or to grow wise in the mysteries of the Gospel by such ways as wherein alone that wisdom is attainable. And is it any wonder if many, the greater number of men, wander after vain imaginations of their own or others?” May it not be so with those who read this chapter.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

An impartial spirit is required if we are to discern and apprehend the real teaching of Holy Writ

September 23, 2014 1 comment

Arthur PinkSecond, an impartial spirit is required if we are to discern and apprehend the real teaching of Holy Writ. Nothing more beclouds the judgment than prejudice—none so blind as those who will not see. Particularly is that the case with all who come to the Bible with the object of finding passages which prove “our doctrines.” An honest heart is the first quality the Lord predicated of the good-ground hearer (Luke 8:15), and where that exists we are not only willing but desirous to have our own views corrected. There can be no advance made in our spiritual apprehension of the Truth until we are ready to submit our ideas and sentiments to the teaching of God’s Word. While we cling to our preconceived opinions and sectarian partialities, instead of being ready to abandon all beliefs not clearly taught in Scripture, neither praying nor studying can profit the soul. There is nothing which God hates more than insincerity, and we are guilty thereof if, while asking Him to instruct us, we at the same time refuse to relinquish what is erroneous. A thirst for the Truth itself, with a candid determination for it to mold all our thinking and direct our practice, is indispensable if we are to be spiritually enlightened.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Without the Spirit one is not lead and guided into all truth

September 2, 2014 3 comments

Arthur PinkSince the imagination of man, like all the other faculties of his moral being, is permeated and vitiated by sin, the ideas it suggests, even when pondering the Divine oracles, are prone to be mistaken and corrupt. It is part of our sinful infirmity that we are unable of ourselves to interpret God’s Word aright; but it is part of the gracious office of the Holy Spirit to guide believers into the truth, thereby enabling them to apprehend the Scriptures. This is a distinct and special operation of the Spirit on the minds of God’s people, whereby He communicates spiritual wisdom and light unto them, and which is necessary unto their discerning aright the mind of God in His Word, and also their laying hold of the heavenly things found therein. “A distinct operation” we say, by which we mean something ab extra or over and above His initial work of quickening; for while it be a blessed fact that at regeneration He has

“given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true” (1 John 5:20),

yet more is needed in order for us to

know the things that are freely given to us of God” (1 Corinthians 2:12).

This is evident from the case of the apostles, for though they had companied and communed with Christ for the space of three years, yet we are informed that, at a later date,

“Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:45).

How what has been just alluded to should impress the Christian himself with the need for holy caution when reading the Word, lest he wrest its contents unto his own injury! How it should humble him before its Author and make him realize his utter dependence upon Him! If the new birth were sufficient of itself to capacitate the believer to grasp Divine things, the apostle had never made request for the Colossian saints that they “might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (1:9), nor would he have said to his son in the faith, “the Lord give thee understanding in all things” (2 Timothy 2:7). There never was a more foolish notion or pernicious idea entertained than that the holy mysteries of the Gospel so lie within the province of human reason that they may be known profitably and practically without the effectual aid of the blessed Spirit of Truth. Not that He instructs us in any other way than by and through our reason and understanding, for then we should be reduced to irrational creatures; but that He must enlighten our minds, elevate and direct our thoughts, quicken our affections, move our wills, and thereby enable our understandings, if we are to apprehend spiritual things.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures