CHAPTER I. THE IMPORTANCE AND VALUE OF BIBLE STUDY
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the
scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth
lie meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by
the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;
his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
Our subject this morning is "The Importance and Value of Bible Study." You will find the text in Psalm 1:13—"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth m the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
There has, perhaps, never been an age that set such great store by study as that in which we now lire. The unfortunate thing about it is that se much of the study in our day, both by children and adults, is devoted to books and subjects in which there is little or no profit. A large portion of every year in our schools and colleges is practically wasted. Time is squandered upon the purely speculative, the uncertain, the unprofitable, the unessential, the unproductive, the irrelevant and the transitory. Many practical business men think that the sooner the boy or girl who is just out of school or college forgets half of what they imagine they have learned, the better. The most profitable of all study is wisely ordered Bible study. Its value is incalculable. It is beyond all comparison more profitable than any other study. It is the one superlatively profitable study.
Possibly some of you may be disposed to question that statement; so I will give you two reasons why Bible study is the one superlatively profitable study, why Bible study towers far above all other studies in importance and value.
I. Because of What the Bible Is
First of all, Bible study towers far above all other studies in importance and value because of what the Bible itself is.
1. In the first place, the Bible is the peerless masterpiece of clear, pure, chaste, forceful, beautiful, exalted English. Nothing can match it in purity, smoothness, clearness, force, and sublimity of expression. That admits of no question. All intelligent, well-read and candid infidels acknowledge that. Prof. Phelps, at the head of the English Department at Yale, contended some years ago that candidates for admission to American Universities should have their qualification for admission, as far as their knowledge of English was concerned, tested by one book alone, the Bible. And Harvard University has announced in the past few weeks that hereafter every student before graduation must pass an examination in the English Bible. Because of Harvard's well-known theological position and also from the fact that they seem to emphasize the Revised Version, it is evident that they have in view principally the fact that the Bible is the great English master-piece. Last Tuesday I received from G. P. Putnam's Sons of New York and London, a book for examination—a dictionary of 6,000 choice and effective phrases. In this book (just published), time and again, page after page, every phrase was taken from the Bible, without variation or addition. Here and there were scattered phrases taken from Shakespeare, but on subject after subject whole pages of telling phrases were consecutively taken from the Bible. Why? Because this book of phrases was prepared by a master hand at English diction and he knew where to find the most illuminating and most telling phrases. Every man and woman should saturate themselves with the very words of the Bible if for no other reason than to clarify, tone up and invigorate their English diction. When Henry Stanley, the great newspaper writer, made his second tour of exploration into the heart of Africa, he took only one book with him, the Bible. In its study he beguiled and improved many lonely hours, and when he emerged, after having been shut up with one book for so many years, it was noticed that Henry Stanley had acquired by absorption an entirely new English style, a far more forceful style, Bible English. It is said that a newspaper report of a paragraph from one of Mr. Moody's sermons was handed to Max Müller, the great philologist, and he was asked what he thought of it. He asked, "Who wrote that?" And the reply was made, "D. L. Moody." "I do not wonder then at his power," Max Müller exclaimed. "That is one of the finest pieces of clear, strong, pure Anglo-Saxon I have ever read."