I recently read J.C. Ryle's Practical Religion which was originally published in 1878. One of the chapters in this book is on Bible Reading. This chapter is wonderful: challenging and inspiring. Here is how Ryle concludes his chapter,
Let us resolve to read the Bible more and more every year we live. Let us try to get it rooted in our memories, and engrafted into our hearts. Let us be thoroughly well-provisioned with it, against the voyage of death. Who knows but we may have a very stormy passage? Sight and hearing may fail us, and we may be in deep waters. Oh, to have the Word "hidden in our hearts" in such an hour as that! (Psalm 119:11.)
Let us resolve to be more watchful over our Bible reading every year that we live. Let us be jealously careful about the time we give to it, and the manner that time is spent. Let us beware of omitting our daily reading, without sufficient cause. Let us not be gaping, and yawning, and dozing over God's book, while we read. Let us read like a wife reading a husband's Letter from a distant land.
Let us be very careful that we never exalt any minister, or sermon, or book, or tract, or friend--above the Word. Cursed be that book, or tract, or human counsel--which creeps in between us and the Bible, and hides the Bible from our eyes! Once more I say, let us be very watchful. The moment we open the Bible--the devil sits down by our side. Oh, to read with a hungry spirit, and a simple desire for edification!
Let us resolve to honor the Bible more in our families. Let us read it morning and evening to our families, and not be ashamed to let others see that we do so.
Let us not be discouraged by seeing no good arise from it. The Bible-reading in a family has kept many a one from the jail, the workhouse, and the hospital--if it has not kept him from Hell.
Let us resolve to meditate more on the Bible. It is good to take with us two or three texts when we go out into the world, and to turn them over and over in our minds whenever we have a little leisure time. It keeps out many vain thoughts. It clenches the nail of daily reading. It preserves our souls from stagnating and breeding corrupt things. It sanctifies and quickens our memories; and prevents them becoming like those foul ponds where the reptiles live, but the fish die.
Let us resolve to talk more to believers about the Bible when we meet them. Alas, the conversation of Christians, when they do meet, is often sadly unprofitable! How many frivolous, and trifling, and uncharitable things are said! Let us bring out the Bible more, and it will help to drive the devil away, and keep our hearts in tune. Oh, that we may all strive so to walk together in this evil world; that Jesus may often draw near, and go with us, as He went with the two disciples journeying to Emmaus!
Last of all, let us resolve to live by the Bible more and more every year we live. Let us frequently take account of . . .
all our opinions and practices,
all our habits and tempers,
all our behavior in public and in private
--in the world, and by our own firesides.
Let us measure all by the Bible, and resolve, by God's help, to conform to it. Oh that we may learn increasingly to "cleanse our ways" by the Word! (Psalm 119:9.)
I commend all these things to the serious and prayerful attention of every one into whose hands this paper may fall. I want the ministers of my beloved country--to be Bible-reading ministers; the congregations--to be Bible-reading congregations; and the nation--to be a Bible-reading nation.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible