Thursday, October 22, 2015

Profiting from the Word - Chapter 1

In Chapter 1 "The Scriptures and Sin" of Profiting from the Word, A.W. Pink looks at the wrong motives for studying the Bible and presents 7 true purposes for reading God's Word.  As part of my family devotional study of this book, I've decided to post my thoughts chapter by chapter and to include portions from the book that are helping me improve my daily Bible reading and study.

Individuals profit from the Word of God through:
  1. Conviction of Sin--"Such conviction that brings home to the heart the awful ravages which sin has wrought in the human constitution is not to be restricted to the initial experience which immediately precedes conversion."
  2. Sorrow for Sin--"Do you, my reader, know anything of such an experience? Does your study of the Word produce a broken heart and lead to a humbling of yourself before God? Does it convict you of your sins in such a way that you are brought to daily repentance before Him?"
  3. Confession of Sin--“'He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy' (Pro 28:13). There can be no spiritual prosperity or fruitfulness (Psa 1:3) while we conceal within our breasts our guilty secrets; only as they are freely owned before God, and that in detail, shall we enjoy His mercy.  There is no real peace for the conscience and no rest for the heart while we carry the burden of unconfessed sin. Relief comes when it is fully unbosomed to God."
  4. Deeper Hatred of Sin--"'Ye that love the Lord, hate evil' (Psa 97:10). 'We cannot love God without hating that which He hates. We are not only to avoid evil, and refuse to continue in it, but we must be up in arms against it, and bear towards it a hearty indignation' (C.H. Spurgeon, 1834-1892)...In Proverbs 8:13, we read: 'The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.' This godly fear comes through reading the Word."
  5. Forsaking of Sin--"The more the Word is read with the definite object of discovering what is pleasing and what is displeasing to the Lord, the more will His will become known; and if our hearts are right with Him the more will our ways be conformed thereto...Here is another important rule by which we should frequently test ourselves: Is the reading and studying of God’s Word producing a purging of my ways?"
  6. Fortification against Sin--"The Holy Scriptures are given to us not only for the purpose of revealing our innate sinfulness, and the many, many ways in which we “come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23), but also to teach us how to obtain deliverance from sin, how to be kept from displeasing God...Yes, we are to anticipate the future and be fortified against it, by storing up the Word in our hearts for coming emergencies."
  7. Practicing the Opposite of Sin--"Thus, sin is rebellion against God, the determination to have my own way (Isa 53:6)...Are my thoughts being formed, my heart controlled, and my ways and works regulated by God’s Word?...'We need not only light to know our way, but a heart to walk in it. Direction is necessary because of the blindness of our minds; and the effectual impulsions of grace are necessary because of the wickedness of our hearts. It will not answer our duty to have a naked notion of truths, unless we embrace and pursue them' (Thomas Manton)."
I was struck by the following quote from A.W. Pink under the sixth purpose of fortification against sin.  I was especially convicted by Thomas Manton's imagery of the Word soaking from the ear down into the heart (emphasis mine):

"So the more Christ's Word dwells in us 'richly' (Col. 3:16), the less room will there be for the exercise of sin in our hearts and lives. It is not sufficient merely to assent to the veracity of the Scriptures, they require to be received into the affections. It is unspeakably solemn to note that the Holy Spirit specifies as the ground of apostasy, 'because the love of the truth they received not' (2 Thess. 2:10). 'If it lie only in the tongue or in the mind, only to make it a matter of talk and speculation, it will soon be gone. The seed which lies on the surface, the fouls in the air will pick up. Therefore hide it deeply; let it get from the ear into the mind, from the mind into the heart; let it soak in further and further. It is only when it hath a prevailing sovereignty in the heart that we receive it in the love of it--when it is dearer than our dearest lust, then it will stick to us' (Thomas Manton). Nothing else will preserve from the infections of this world, deliver from the temptations of Satan, and be so effective a preservative against sin, as the Word of God received into the affections."

Mr. Pink ends this chapter with the following application questions:

"Has your study of the Bible made you more humble, or more proud—proud of the knowledge you have acquired? Has it raised you in the esteem of your fellow men, or has it led you to take a lower place before God? Has it produced in you a deeper abhorrence and loathing of self, or has it made you more complacent? Has it caused those you mingle with, or perhaps teach, to say, I wish I had your knowledge of the Bible; or does it cause you to pray, Lord give me the faith, the grace, the holiness Thou hast granted my friend, or teacher? 'Meditate upon these things: give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear unto all' (1Ti 4:15)."

If you are interested in the book and/or study guide, you can freely download them at chapellibrary.org.

I will continue my look at Profiting from the Word in future posts.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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"Now ye are clean through the word which I [Jesus] have spoken unto you," (John 15:3).