R. H. Boll
There is a crying need of Bible study, and faithful study will bring its own sweet reward. There is such a joy of discovery (Ps. 119:162), such a quickening of zeal, enlargement of the spiritual horizon, strengthening of faith and courage, and renewing of the mind, as could never come by mere listening to sermons or reading of religious books and articles. These latter were, indeed, not meant for substitutes, but rather as aids and encouragement to Bible study. When they become substitutes, they are a bane, not a blessing.
A good commentary used aright is a help, but it often becomes the occasion of cheating its possessor out of the most beneficial and healthful of spiritual exercises-the using of his own mind, his own power of perception and reflection. Do not be deprived of the great advantage of learning for yourself at first hand. Do not let even the few comments that will appear in these lessons take the place of your own searching.
The most important suggestion I have to make is this: Study for spiritual benefit. You can gather into your mind a collection of facts, figures, and statements, and get no more good from it than if you had memorized the catalogue of a museum or the inventory of a storage room. You can study in a spirit of controversy and gain little or nothing by hunting down of “points.” Lawyers, politicians, and even infidels, often show considerable acquaintance with the Bible text, but no evidence of the spiritual benefit they might have obtained from it. Something depends on the attitude of the student.
Let it, then, not be sufficient to learn a list of biblical facts and truths. Let us look for principles. Let us study the meaning and import of each fact and its direct or indirect bearing on our own life. Above all, let us study to get nearer to God, to please him better, to know his will that we may do it, and that, being filled with his thought and his mind, we may be more like him. Never leave out of view the fact that you are studying the word of God, that is pertains to the healing and welfare of your soul, and that God’s eye is upon you. Study in sincerity and love and open your inmost heart to the truth.
R. H. Boll, Lessons on Hebrews. Nashville: McQuiddy Printing Company, 1910.