Useful Directions For Reading and Searching the Scriptures
by Thomas Boston
Embark on a consistent and deliberate course when reading these sacred texts, making it an integral facet of your personal devotion. Although it is not obligatory to adhere exclusively to a structured regimen, so as to never read by choice, but it generally proves to be the most beneficial approach. Some portions of the Bible may appear dificult, while others may seem spiritually arid to the casual reader. Nevertheless, if you regard the entirety as God's sacred word, to be approached with unwavering faith and profound reverence, undoubtedly, you shall derive spiritual enrichment.
Employ a distinctive marker, in a manner that suits you, to identify those passages that resonate most profoundly with your circumstances, condition, or struggles. Keep in mind that periodically revisiting these passages shall be immensely rewarding.
Engage in comparative study, scrutinizing the more enigmatic verses alongside those that offer greater clarity. This practice is an outstanding means to decipher the intended meaning of the Scriptures. The marginal notes found in some Bibles can also be of great service in this endeavor. Be ever mindful of Christ, for He is the focal point to which the Old Testament Scriptures allude, in its genealogies, typology, and sacrificial rites, just as the New Testament Scriptures do.
Approach your reading with a sacred attentiveness, stemming from your acknowledgment of the divine majesty of God and the reverence owed to Him. This attentiveness should extend to the words themselves, the underlying meaning, and the divine authority of the Scripture, recognizing the moral imperative it imposes upon the conscience for obedience.
Let your primary objective in Scripture study be not just the acquisition of knowledge but the practical application of its teachings. As James 1:22 admonishes, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." Read with the intent to learn and apply, without any reservations or exceptions. Strive to practice everything that God's word requires of you.
Beseech God and rely on His Spirit, for it is the Holy Spirit that grants true understanding of the Scriptures. As 1 Corinthians 2:11 elucidates, "For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God." Therefore, it is eminently reasonable to seek divine blessings before you engage in your reading.
Guard against a worldly and carnal mindset, for earthly sins obscure the mind from perceiving divine truths, and a worldly heart remains indifferent to them. Just as the earth interposes itself between the sun and the moon during a lunar eclipse, obstructing the sun's light from the moon, so does the world, when it resides within one's heart, obstruct the divine radiance of the word.
Strive to cultivate a disposition inclined toward godliness and vigilantly assess your spiritual circumstances. A disciplined disposition greatly aids in comprehending the Scriptures. Such a devout soul shall discover reflections of their own life within the pages of the word, and, in turn, the Scriptures shall shed light upon their personal circumstances.
Endeavor to put into practice the wisdom and insights you glean from the Scriptures. As the saying goes, "To him that has, shall be given." It is no surprise that those who make no effort to practice what they know often gain little understanding from the Bible. However, when the stream of knowledge flows into a holy life, the fountain of divine wisdom shall gush forth even more abundantly.