One Book at a Time—Chapter Study—The Gospel of
I KNOW some men who never sit down to read a
book until they have time to read the whole of it.
When they come to Leviticus or Numbers, or any of
the other books, they read it right through at one
sitting. They get the whole sweep, and then they
begin to study it chapter by chapter. Dean Stanley
used to read a book through three separate times;
first for the story, second for the thought, and third
for the literary style. It is a good thing to take one
whole book at a time.
How could you expect to understand a story or a scientific text-book if you read one chapter here and another there?
Dr. A. T. Pierson says: Let the introduction cover five P's; place where written; person by whom written; people to whom written; purpose for which written; period at which written.
Here it is well to grasp the leading points in the chapters. The method is illustrated by the following plan by which I tried to interest the students at Mt. Hermon school and the Northfield Seminary. It provides a way of committing Scripture to memory, so that one can call up a passage to meet the demand whenever it arises. I said to the students one morning at worship: "To-morrow morning when I come
80 One Book at a Time.
I will not read a portion of Scripture, but we will take the first chapter of the Gospel of John and you shall tell me from memory what you find in that chapter and each learn the verse in it that is most precious to you." We went through the whole book that way and committed a verse or two to memory out of each one.
I will give the main headings we found in the chapters.
THE GOSPEL OF JOHN, BY CHAPTERS.
Chapter 1. The call of the first five disciples.
It was about four o'clock in the afternoon that John stood and said, " Behold, the Lamb of God." Two of John's disciples then followed Jesus, and one of them, Andrew, went out and brought his brother Simon. Then Jesus found Philip, as he was starting for Galilee, and Philip found Nathaniel, the skeptical man. When he got sight of Christ his skeptical ideas were all gone. Commit to memory verses 11 and 12:" He came unto his own and his own received him not, but as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." Key word, Receiving.
Chapter 2. "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it." We had a good time in this chapter on Obedience, which is the key word.
Chapter 3. This is a chapter on Regeneration. It took us more than one day to get through this one. This gives you a respectable sinner, and how Jesus 'dealt with him. Commit verse 16: "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but .have everlasting life." Key word, Believing..
Chapter 4. A disreputable sinner, and how Jesus dealt with her. If we had been dealing with her, we would have told her what Jesus to Nicodemus, but He took her on her own ground. She came for a water-pot of water, and, thank God, she got a whole well full. Key word, Worshipping. Memorize verse 24: "God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
Chapter 5. Divinity of Christ. Commit verse 24: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." Key word, Healing. m
Chapter 6. We called that the bread chapter. If you want a good loaf of bread, get into this sixth chapter. You feed upon that bread and you will live forever. Key verse: Christ the bread'of life. "I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." Key word, Eating.
Chapter 7 is the water chapter. "If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink." You have here living water and Christ's invitation to every thirsty soul to come to drink. Key word, Drinking.
Chapter 8. The Light chapter. "I am the light of the world" Key, Walking in the light. But what is the use of having light if you have no eyes to see with, so we go on to
Chapter 9. The Sight chapter. There was a man bom blind and Christ made him to see. Key word, 82 The Gospel of John, by Chapters,
Testifying. Memory verse: "I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day: the night Cometh when no man can work."
Chapter 10. Here you find the Good Shepherd. Commit to memory verse 11 : "I am the Good Shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." Key word, Safety.
Chapter I1. The Lazarus chapter. Memorize verse 25: "I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." Key word, Resurrection.
Chapter 12. Verse 32: "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me." Here Christ closes up his ministry to the Jewish nation. Key word, Salvation for all.
Chapter 13. The Humility chapter. Christ washing the feet of his disciples. Learn verse 34: "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another." Key word, Teaching.
Chapter 14. The Mansion chapter. Commit to memory verse 6: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me." Key words, Peace and comfort.
Chapter 15. The Fruit chapter. The vine can only bear fruit through the branches. Verse 5: "I am the vine; ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing." Keyword, Joy.
Chapter 16. The promise of the Holy Ghost. Here you find the secret of Power, which is the keyword.
Chapter 17. This chapter contains what is properly the " Lord's prayer." Learn verse 15: "I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil.' Key word, Separation.
Chapter 18. Christ is arrested.
Chapter 19. Christ is crucified,
Chapter 20. Christ rises from the dead.
Chapter 21. Christ spends some time with his disciples again, and invites them to dine with him.
SUMMARY OF SUGGESTIONS.
1. Have for constant use a portable reference Bible, a Cruden's Concordance, and a Topical Text Book.
2. Always carry a Bible or Testament in your pocket, and do not be ashamed of people seeing you read it on trains, etc.
3. Do not be afraid of marking it, or of making marginal notes. Mark texts that contain promises, exhortations, warnings to sinners and to Christians, gospel invitations to the unconverted, and so on.
4. Set apart at least fifteen minutes a day for study and meditation. This little will have great results and will never be regretted.
5. Prepare your heart to know the law of the Lord, and to do it. Ezra 7:10.
6. Always ask God to open the eyes of your understanding that you may see the truth; and expect that He will answer your prayer.
7 Cast every burden of doubt upon the Lord. "He will never suffer the righteous to be moved." Do not be afraid to look for a reason for the hope that is in you.
8. Believe in the Bible as God's revelation to you, and act accordingly. Do not reject any portion because it contains the supernatural, or because you can not understand it. Reverence all Scripture. Remember God's own estimate of it: "Thou hast magnified thy Word above all thy Name."
9. Learn at least one verse of Scripture each day. Verses committed to memory will be wonderfully useful in your daily life and walk. "Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee." Some Christians can quote Shakespeare and Longfellow better than the Bible.
10. If you are a preacher or a Sunday school teacher, try at any cost to master your Bible. You ought to know it better than anyone in your congregation or class.
11. Strive to be exact in quoting Scripture.
12. Adopt some systematic plan of Bible study: either topical, or by subjects, like "The Blood," "Prayer," "Hope," etc.; or by books; or- by some other plan outlined in the preceding pages.
13. Study to know for what and to whom each book of the Bible was written. Combine the Old Testament with the New. Study Hebrews and Leviticus together, the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles, the Prophets and the historical books of the Old Testament.
14. Study how to use the Bible so as to "walk with God" in closer communion; also, so as to gain a working knowledge of Scripture for leading others to Christ. An old minister used to say that the cries of neglected texts were always sounding in his ears, asking why he did not show how important they were.
15. Do not be satisfied with simply reading a chapter daily. Study the meaning of at least one verse.
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