We’ve all been warned about the connection between pride and reading. Charles Spurgeon warned that “little learning and much pride come with hasty reading.” Bertrand Russell once observed, “There are two motives for reading a book. One, that you enjoy it. The other; that you can boast about it.” Alan Jacobs has similarly commented: “I think most people read quickly because they want not to read but to have read.” Continue reading “The Humility of Reading (or The Pride of Not Reading)”
Becoming a skilled interpreter of Scripture is not a complicated task. It is hard, but it isn’t complicated. God does not hide the riches of his Word from the simple; he hides them from the proud and ungodly. Right interpretation, then, is first a matter of personal character and piety, and then a matter of methodology. Here are ten basic tips. There is much more to say, of course, but you must start here. Continue reading “10 Quick Tips for Becoming an Excellent Bible Interpreter”
I hadn’t noticed it until recently, but Paul says something unexpected in the first chapter of Romans. The apostle first introduces himself to the church (1:1), then underscores his theological and spiritual credentials (1:2-7), and expresses his genuine love for the believers in Rome (1:8). Paul longs to see these brothers and sisters, and he reports that he has prayed toward that end (1:9-10).
Paul had good reasons why he wanted to see the Christians in Rome; he desired to strengthen them through the impartation of a spiritual gift (1:11) and the preaching of the gospel (1:15). That makes sense. What I find remarkable is what Paul says immediately following verse 11.
For I long to see you, that I may impart some spiritual gift to strengthen you–that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine (Romans 1:11-12; emphasis added). Continue reading “The Pursuit of Mutual Encouragement: A Mark of Spiritual Maturity”
Discipleship, in the words of Mark Dever, is helping another person follow Jesus. Said another way (by Dever): Discipleship is doing deliberate spiritual good to another Christian.
Jesus commands Christians to make disciples (Matt 28:18-20), and Christians should count it a privilege to come alongside others to aid them in their walk with the Savior. We should also receive discipleship from others with gratefulness and a desire to learn. In light of Christ’s command in Matt 28:18-20 and, for that matter, the entire structure of the New Testament where believing relationships are an indispensable means of spiritual growth (e.g., Rom 15:14; Heb 3:12-15), discipleship should be central to our individual Christian lives and our corporate church life. Continue reading “Age, Humility, and Discipleship”
Toward the end of the first volume of his autobiography, Charles Spurgeon relays a somewhat amusing yet instructive anecdote of a time when he would regularly receive comments on his sermons from an anonymous critic. Continue reading “Using Criticism for Our Benefit: A Word from Charles Spurgeon”
Our ability to receive rebuke from others is a quality essential to our making enduring progress in our spiritual lives. There are no two ways around this truth: either we will readily receive correction and enjoy the fruits of godly wisdom, or we will entrench ourselves against reproof and gradually harden our hearts to our soul’s peril.
Yet nothing seems to be more difficult and more contrary to our nature than gladly taking pointed words about our sin and failure and then using those words as a means to sincere repentance. Instead, we often attempt to defend ourselves with complex and even “biblical” arguments, blame others for their negative influence, or douse the confrontation altogether by pointing to the hypocrisy in the one delivering the rebuke. Our sin will do whatever it can to be left in the dark. Continue reading “A Tough Means of Grace: Profiting from the Rebukes of Others”
Rarely is humility exalted as a fundamental element of true leadership. Yet, despite what some popular leadership proponents may allege, an honest and discriminating look into contemporary business culture confirms what the Scripture proclaims: God is opposed to the proud, but he gives grace to the humble. Christian leaders, then, must make every effort to cultivate sincere humility for their task of leadership within the church an in other organizations they might oversee. Aiding in this endeavor is the goal of this article.