Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Hint on Bible Reading

"This epistle [to the Philippians], like all the other epistles in the New Testament, was written to believers in Christ; it was not addressed to the world at large, to the masses of the human race, to unbelieving Jew or unbelieving Gentile, but was specially addressed to saints and servants of the living God... No truth can be more simple than this; but how grossly it has been overlooked or perverted by applying to the world at large the doctrines and declarations, the promises and precepts, which are the peculiar inheritance of the believing Church of God. When, then, we read this epistle from this point of view, and see how all the promises and all the precepts, all the unstruction, reproof, or admonition contained in it belong exclusively to the church of Christ, then we at once percieve how every word falls into its place. To read the epistles otherwise is something like looking through the wrong end of a telescope; one seeing one's face in water with a ripple over the surface; or taking a view of our features in a broken mirror, or one which represents them upside down. In a similar way, if we read the Epistles as if they were written to all the world, all is distorted; we fall into the grossest mistakes, and completely misuderstand the meaning of the Spirit."

- J.C. Philpot, 'The Gospel Pulpit' Vol. III, Pp. 467-8. From a sermon entitled 'The Abounding of Love in Knowledge and Experience' (No. 68 in the Gospel Pulpit series) Preached at North Street Chapel, Stamford, on October 11 1863. Our illustration is North Street Chapel today.

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