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The Purpose of the Bible

“The great purpose of the Bible, namely, [is] to produce a spiritual effect in the life of the man that reads it.  Augustine was not wrong when he said the guide of interpretation was love – love to God and love to man.  All the historical, doctrinal, and practical truth of the Bible is for one purpose:  to promote the spiritual prosperity of man.  The Bible is not an end; it is a means. . . . The prostitution of the Bible from means to end is an ever present danger for little groups who study the bible for no other reason than to study the Bible.  Such groups frequently fall prey to such spiritual maladies as Pharisaism, spiritual pride, and popishness in interpretation. . . Hobart correctly says that ‘no man does good interpretation who does not look for results in men as the final aim of his interpretation.’  Nor can we gainsay Rowley when he wrote: ‘. . . Its study should do more than develop right views about God, man, and duty; it should nurture right relations with God.’
Bernard Ramm
Protestant Biblical Interpretation
p. 96

Letterism in Biblical Interpretation

[Palestinian Jews and their literal understanding of the Scriptures. . . .] “The major weakness of their system was the development of a hyperliteralism or a letterism.  In the intense devotion to the details of the text, they missed the essential and made mountains out of the accidental.  This was based on the belief that nothing in Scripture was superfluous and therefore all the grammatical phenomena of the text had an import to the interpreter. . . There is one major lesson to be learned from rabbinical exegesis:  the evils of letterism.  In the exaltation of the very letters of the Scripture the true meaning of the Scripture was lost.  The incidental is so exaggerated as to obscure the essential.  Any exegesis will go astray which bogs itself down in trivialities and letterism.”
Bernard Ramm
Protestant Biblical Interpretation
p. 47

Fishing In An Empty Bathtub

The writer Franz Kafka gave a great illustration about education. He pictured a bombed-out city where all that was left was rubble. Everywhere there were people bleeding and dying; there was smoke and smoldering fire—just total rubble. But in the middle of the city was an ivory tower piercing the sky, pristine white, untouched by any bombs. Then, there was this solitary figure winding his way through the rubble. When he got to the tall white building, he walked in and went up to the top story. He came to a dark hall, and at the end of it was a little light. He walked in the darkness until he came to the light, he turned, and walked into a bathroom. inside sat a man with a fishing pole,  fishing in the bathtub. The solitary stranger said to him, “Hey, what are you doing?”

The man said, “I’m fishing.”

The stranger looked in the bathtub and said, “There’s no fish in the bathtub and there’s no water.”

The man said, “I know,” and kept on fishing.

Kafka said, “That is higher education.”

You see, man has lost the truth.
John MacArthur
How to Study the Bible
(electronic ed.)

Keywords: truth,postmodernism,education,scholarship

The Voice We First Hear in the Morning

Let our secret reading prevent [i.e., precede] the dawning of the day. Let God’s voice be the first we hear in the morning.

Robert Murray M'Cheyne
Cited by D.A. Carson
For the Love of God, vol 1 - Introduction

Why Did God Make Us Sleep?

Have you ever wondered why God made us in such a way that we have to sleep away a third of our lives? God could have designed a human being that was always fresh and rested and needed no sleep. Why did he decree that sleep be part of human experience? I'll give you my opinion. He wanted to give a universal reminder to the human race that we are but children and ought to own up to it. We are so frail that we have to become helpless and unconscious and blind and weak every day in order to live at all. Sleep is a terribly humbling experience. We are never more weak, never more childlike than when we sleep in faith.
John Piper
"Don't Eat the Bread of Anxious Toil"
July 27, 1980

Keywords: sleep