Pointers on How to Read the Bible
The previous issue of Present Truth Magazine dealt with Sola Scriptura and the importance of correctly handling the Bible. In this issue we wish to carry on from there and discuss specific areas that will help us all to be better readers of the Bible.
1. The first article deals with hermeneutics – the basic rules of interpretation.
2. The next two presentations deal with the central Bible doctrine of justification by faith. Unless we have its meaning correctly in focus, other things are not going to be in focus either. Following G.J. Paxton's lecture on the meaning of justification is a challenging statement by T.F. Torrance on "The Radical Consequences of Justification."
3. Luther often said that no one can be a good reader of the Bible unless he
gets a grasp of the doctrine of original sin. We have therefore reproduced Spurgeon's
great sermon on "Indwelling Sin." What light it throws on true Christian
experience! And what distortions of the Christian message would be avoided if
this matter were properly considered!
4. Since the book of Romans is the most systematic presentation given of the
gospel of Christ, we are reproducing Luther's famous "Preface to the Epistle to the Romans." The
Reformer's incisive definitions of key words have opened a door to many who were
searching for clearer light on the Bible. It was this preface which led to the
evangelical conversion of John Wesley. No doubt many of our readers have read
it before, but this immortal classic is so moving that it is like a good song
which one likes to hear again and again.
5. The final article is called "A New Reformation?" It discusses the
contrast between Greek and Hebrew thought, and shows how Greek philosophy affects
our theology today.
The editor is well aware that many of our readers will not agree with every point in every article. That would be too much to expect. The editor himself does not necessarily subscribe to every point by every writer, but he thinks that the material is challenging enough to merit serious attention. T.F. Torrance's statement, found in his article within this issue, applies to us as much as to anyone else:
"Justification means that at every point in our theological inquiry we have
to let our knowledge, our theology, our formulations, our statements, be called
into question by the very Christ toward whom they point. . ." We
therefore send out this issue of Present Truth Magazine with the earnest desire
that it may be used to awaken many to a clearer understanding of the Bible.