Religious Reality
By A.E.J. Rawlinson

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Public Domain Books

Chapter V - The Devotional Use of the Bible

It is to be feared that the habit of reading the Bible in private for purposes of devotion has largely dropped out of modern usage, partly by reason of the general stress and urgency of modern life, and partly because men do not quite know what to make of the Bible when they read it. They are aware of the existence of what are called “critical questions,” but they do not know precisely the kind of differences which criticism has made. It is a pity to acquiesce in an attitude of this kind, and it is greatly to be desired that the habit of reading the Bible regularly and becoming familiar with its contents should be revived.

There are two distinct methods of reading the Bible which are of value. One is to take a particular book and to read it straight through like a novel, in order to get the impression of the writer’s message as a whole. Advantage may be taken of occasional opportunities of Sunday or week-day leisure for this purpose. If the book is studied with the help of a good commentary, so much the better. A man who would be ashamed to be wholly unfamiliar with modern or classical literature ought to be equally ashamed to be wholly unfamiliar with the literature of the Hebrews.

The second method of reading the Bible consists in the devotional study of particular passages, sometimes called by the formidable name of “meditation.” The parts of the Bible best adapted for this purpose are the Gospels, certain portions of the Epistles, many of the Psalms, and portions of the greater Prophets. The essence of the method is to read over a short passage quietly after prayer for spiritual guidance, to browse over it for a few minutes and follow out any train of thought which may be suggested by it, to apply its message in whatever way may seem most real and practical to the spiritual problems of immediate daily life, and to conclude with prayer and resolution for the future. It is not practicable for the majority of men to make such a “meditation” a matter of daily habit, though this may easily be possible for people of leisure. But it may be suggested that it is both practicable and abundantly worth while for ordinary people to allot at least half an hour a week for such a purpose. Our fathers unquestionably fed and nurtured their souls to an extraordinary degree by spiritual reading. It ought to be possible for modern people, in spite of modern distractions, to acquire and maintain the capacity to do the same.


Preface  •  Author’s Preface  •  Introduction  •  Part I - The Theory of the Christian Religion: Chapter I - the Man Christ Jesus  •  Chapter II - The Revelation of the Father  •  Chapter III - The Fellowship of the Spirit  •  Chapter IV - The Holy Trinity  •  Chapter V - The Problem of Evil  •  Chapter VI - Sin and Redemption  •  Chapter VII - The Church and Her Mission in the World  •  Chapter VIII - Protestant and Catholic  •  Chapter IX - Sacraments  •  Chapter X - The Last Things  •  Chapter XI - Clergy and Laity  •  Chapter XII - The Bible  •  Part II - The Practice of the Christian Religion: Chapter I - The Christian Aim  •  Chapter II - The Way of the World  •  Chapter III - The Spirit and the Flesh  •  Chapter IV - The Works of the Devil  •  Chapter V - The Kingdom of God  •  Chapter VI - Christianity and Commerce  •  Chapter VII - Christianity and Industry  •  Chapter VIII - Christianity and Politics  •  Chapter IX - Christianity and War  •  Chapter X - Love, Courtship, and Marriage  •  Part III - The Maintenance of the Christian Life: Chapter I - How to Begin  •  Chapter II - Prayer  •  Chapter III - Self-Examination and Repentance  •  Chapter IV - Corporate Worship and Communion  •  Chapter V - The Devotional Use of the Bible  •  Chapter VI - Almsgiving and Fasting

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Religious Reality
By A. E. J. Rawlinson
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