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Great Men of God and Bible Study
"Thy word is a lamp unto my path and a light unto my path." Psalms 119:105
"In meditation the chief object is to appropriate and experience. A readiness to believe every promise implicitly, to obey every command unhesitatingly, to 'stand perfect and complete in all the will of God,' is the only true spirit of Bible study. It is in quiet meditation that this faith is exercised, that this allegiance is rendered, that the full surrender to all God's will is made, and the assurance received of grace to perform our vows."
Bio: Andrew Murray was born in 1828 in Scotland. He studied theology in the Netherlands where he also experienced personal conversion. For the next 60 years, Murray worked as a pastor in South Africa in the Dutch Reformed Church. During this time he also authored over 200 books. In addition to all of this he was busy in social activism, founded various educational institutions, and played a significant positive role within many circles of Christendom. Andrew Murray believed God had done everything necessary for people to live rich and productive lives, but also reognized that half-hearted surrender, a lack of confidence in the anointing of the Spirit and skepticism in the power of prayer, would thwart God's intention. Because physical infirmities prevented him from writing, his books were dictated either to his wife Emma or his daughter. Many of his books were written with 31 brief chapters, designed to be read on a daily basis for a month.
"God expects that we should be obedient children, and that we should accept the Word as His will, and carry it into practice. If this be neglected, you will find that the reading of the Word, even if accompanied by prayer, meditation, and faith, will do you little good. God does expect us to be obedient children, and will have us practice what He has taught us. The Lord Jesus Christ says If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." And in the measure in which we carry out what our Lord Jesus taught, so in measure are we happy children. And in such measure only can we honestly look for help from the Father, even as we seek to carry out His will."
Bio: George Muller spent most of his life in Bristol England where he founded an orphange that eventually cared for 2,000 children, only looking to God to provide for the needs of the children in response to his prayers. Though some of the people of his day felt God blessed Muller as a result of his special relationship with God and his spiritual-mindedness, he was certain it was due to his carefully learning and following the teachings of the Bible. In later life Muller was a much sought after speaker who frequently spoke on practical Christianity. This excerpt comes from George Muller's Counsels for Christians.
"Yield yourself meekly and obediently to the authority and teaching of Christ, accepting human guidance only so far as it comes with a "thus says the Lord" as its divine endorsement. Our only safeguard in a matter of such infinite moment as our future well being, is God's pure Word; our only secure place, the feet of the Savior. Sitting there as His lowly disciple, the Holy Spirit will lead our minds into the truth, even "the truth as it is in Jesus," as it emanates from Jesus, as it speaks of Jesus, as it strengthens our faith in, and inspires our love to, Jesus, and as it prepares us to go and be with Jesus forever."
Bio: Octavius Winslow (1808-1878) descended from the Pilgrim Edward Winslow who came to the New World in 1620. Ordained to the ministry in 1833, he later moved to England where he became a highly regarded nonconformist pastor as a result of his preaching and prolific writing. Octavius Winslow wrote more than 40 books.
"I determined to lay aside all my prepossessions, to thoroughly compare scripture with scripture, and to pursue its study in a regular and methodical manner. I commenced with Genesis, and read verse by verse, proceeding no faster than the meaning of the several passages should be so unfolded, as to leave me free from embarrassment respecting any mysticisms or contradictions. Whenever I found anything obscure, my practice was to compare it with all collateral passages; and, by the help of Cruden, I examined all the texts of Scripture in which were found any of the prominent words contained in any obscure portion. Then, by letting every word have its proper bearing on the subject of the text, if my view of it harmonized with every collateral passage in the Bible, it ceased to be a difficulty."
Bio: William Miller (1782-1849) was an American Baptist preacher who is credited with founding what would be termed the Millerite movement. Raised as a Baptist in his early life, he became a deist as a result of the deist leanings of community leaders in Poultney, Maine where he came to reside in 1803. In 1812 his life was providentially spared during the Battle of Plattsburg, and he became convinced that God was more personally involved in the lives of human beings than his deist beliefs allowed. As a result he began readopting his Baptist beliefs and experienced a genuine conversion while reading a sermon for an absent pastor in the church he was attending. Challenged by his Deist friends to substantiate his faith, Miller began carefully studying the Bible on a verse by verse basis. William Miller later wrote of his experience and the principles he established to study the Bible in his autobiography, which follows.
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