Tag Archive for 'Spurgeon'

Spurgeon on Psalm 116:8

I often miss the spiritual meaning in Scripture. Death here can refer to that, possibly in addition to also being delivered from human enemies. I see it more readily now than I used to. Reading commentaries has helped me a lot with this.

I had a great time reading the first half of Psalm 116 today, which is one of my favorites. At least I thought it was, because I had the title highlighted. But in the past the Holy Spirit hadn’t opened up my eyes to nearly the amount of things I learned today. I spent some time looking at dead white guy commentaries, and this is one of the many gems I found.

For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.” [Psalm 116:8] The triune God has given us a trinity of deliverances: our life has been spared from the grave, our heart has been uplifted from its griefs, and our course in life has been preserved from dishonour. We ought not to be satisfied unless we are conscious of all three of these deliverances. If our soul has been saved from death, why do we weep? What cause for sorrow remains? Whence those tears? And if our tears have been wiped away, can we endure to fall again into sin? Let us not rest unless with steady feet we pursue the path of the upright, escaping every snare and shunning every stumblingblock. Salvation, joy, and holiness must go together, and they are all provided for us in the covenant of grace. Death is vanquished, tears are dried, and fears are banished when the Lord is near.

–C.H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David

The Lord is near.
Philippians 4:5b

Me, Myself and The Holy Spirit

Some Christians have a disdain for commentaries, scholars, books, and even Bible teachers. I used to dislike study Bibles, because the notes were “just someone else’s opinion.” Although what bothered me the most is when people viewed the notes as if they were part of the Bible, which is another matter.

I came to my senses and have read through many commentaries in their entirety. They are just one man’s “opinion”, but that person has been gifted by God to help people read and understand the Bible better, fallible as they may be, as opposed to Scripture (so I’m not misunderstood).

It’s very arrogant (as Spurgeon says) and dangerous for people to think that they can interpret and apply Scripture just by themselves and with the Holy Spirit. Some of them have commented on this blog, but may have been offended too many times by quotes like the ones below. The Holy Spirit is our great teacher, among so many other things, but God has designed the church to have various parts to help each other learn and grow together. See what these two people have to say.

While we turn to the Holy Spirit throughout the process of interpretation, we still have our work cut out for us. There are things that the Spirit does not do. The Spirit does not give out new revelation on par with Scripture, guarantee that our interpretations are infallible, or give insights that no one else has ever had and with which no one will ever agree. The Spirit does not miraculously enable us to read biblical Greek and Hebrew and analyze it grammatically without having studied those languages. Above all, the Spirit does not force us to obey God in applying Scripture to our lives.

–Craig Blomberg, A Handbook of New Testament Exegesis

In order to be able to expound the Scriptures, and as an aid to your pulpit studies, you will need to be familiar with the commentators: a glorious army, let me tell you, whose acquaintance will be your delight and profit. Of course, you are not such wiseacres as to think or say that you can expound Scripture without assistance from the works of divines and learned men who have laboured before you in the field of exposition. If you are of that opinion, pray remain so, for you are not worth the trouble of conversion, and like a little coterie who think with you, would resent the attempt as an insult to your infallibility. It seems odd, that certain men who talk so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to themselves, should think so little of what he has revealed to others. My chat this afternoon is not for these great originals, but for you who are content to learn of holy men, taught of God, and mighty in the Scriptures. It has been the fashion of late years to speak against the use of commentaries. If there were any fear that the expositions of Matthew Henry, Gill, Scott, and others, would be exalted into Christian Targums, we would join the chorus of objectors, but the existence or approach of such a danger we do not suspect. The temptations of our times lie rather in empty pretensions to novelty of sentiment, than in a slavish following of accepted guides. A respectable acquaintance with the opinions of the giants of the past, might have saved many an erratic thinker from wild interpretations and outrageous inferences. Usually, we have found the despisers of commentaries to be men who have no sort of acquaintance with them; in their case, it is the opposite of familiarity which has bred contempt.

–C.H. Spurgeon Commenting & Commentaries—Lecture 1

And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head–Christ. From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.
Ephesians 4:11-16 HCSB

Dead Men’s Brains

In order to be able to expound the Scriptures, and as an aid to your pulpit studies, you will need to be familiar with the commentators: a glorious army, let me tell you, whose acquaintance will be your delight and profit. Of course, you are not such wiseacres as to think or say that you can expound Scripture without assistance from the works of divines and learned men who have laboured before you in the field of exposition. If you are of that opinion, pray remain so, for you are not worth the trouble of conversion, and like a little coterie who think with you, would resent the attempt as an insult to your infallibility.

–Charles Spurgeon

Many feel that it’s ‘just the Holy Spirit and me’. Spurgeon would obviously disagree.

That’s just a quote from the document I mention below. What I really want to say is that, along with many of you, the main reason I keep using e-Sword Bible software even though I have the much more robust Bibleworks (v.8 reviewed here), is because of the commentaries freely available and easy to use within the program. There are Calvin, Henry, Clark, and Gill among others available.

Why use old commentaries?

  1. Free
  2. As part of a program like e-Sword, it’s easy to look up what many different commentators say, linked to each verse or section
  3. If you can’t afford commentaries, or at least not as many as you’d like, these gifted men along with a couple of study Bibles can go a long way
  4. As Charles Spurgeon says, “The temptations of our times lie rather in empty pretensions to novelty of sentiment, than in a slavish following of accepted guides. A respectable acquaintance with the opinions of the giants of the past, might have saved many an erratic thinker from wild interpretations and outrageous inferences.”

I found this nice document called Commenting and Commentaries by Spurgeon. He writes short biographies on many of the commentators that you can find available for e-Sword (some of which are found outside the e-Sword site–like Calvin–but they are legal). He then writes about how to use study aides, especially commentaries. I would think that budding preachers and all Bible studiers would benefit.

By the way, the subject line of this post was found in the document by Spurgeon.

Spurgeon Portriat

Spurgeon on Depression

I note that some whom I greatly love and esteem, who are, in my judgment, among the very choicest of God’s people, nevertheless, travel most of the way to heaven by night.

–C.H. Spurgeon

I don’t mean to murmur, but it doesn’t seem that this is the prevailing attitude nowadays.

I was going to leave it at that, but I remember what I also found earlier today on David Black’s blog. It’s a quote by Terry Waite, but I want to include Prof. Black’s commentary.

Whenever I discuss the Greek word apostolos with my students, I always ask them to translate the word, not just transliterate it as “apostle.” Students usually suggest “personal representative,” “messenger,” or “ambassador.” I tell them that my personal favorite is “envoy,” and I usually mention the name Terry Waite as an example. If you recall, Waite was the British hostage released in 1991 after five years of solitary confinement in Lebanon. Waite was not held captive simply because he was a British citizen, however. Terry Waite was serving as the Envoy of the Church of England at the time, a high and honorable position. As an apostolos, he represented in his person the power, prestige, and authority of the entire Anglican Church.

But there’s another side to this story. In addition to being an envoy, Waite was a remarkable Christian theologian. When asked how he had survived all those years of solitary confinement, he said:

I have been determined in captivity, and still am determined, to convert this experience into something that will be useful and good for other people. I think that’s the way to approach suffering. It seems to me that Christianity doesn’t in any way lessen suffering. What it does is enable you to take it, to face it, to work through it, and eventually to convert it.

Wow. Christianity doesn’t in any way lessen suffering. I wonder how many Christians, besides me, need to learn this lesson? Today Becky has had excruciating pain. Christianity doesn’t in any way lessen suffering. Her body is gradually weakening. Christianity doesn’t in any way lessen suffering. I want you to pause right now and ask yourself whether your Christianity is anything like Terry Waite’s. Fortitude is integral to Christian living. I say this as perhaps the softest man who has ever walked this earth, a pampered American free of poverty and, for the most part, pain. My task is to avoid suffering at all costs. Convert suffering into good? How impossible that sounds! But for the Christian, only scars produce lasting sanctity. I know this intellectually, but I want to run and scream whenever I face problems. Leveraging suffering for good — this is actually something I know very little of, but I want to learn how to do it.

We Can’t Open Our Eyes

The Scriptures teem with marvels; the Bible is wonder-land; it not only relates miracles, but it is itself a world of wonders. Yet what are these to closed eyes? And what man can open his own eyes, since he is born blind? God himself must reveal revelation to each heart. Scripture needs opening, but not one half so much as our eyes do; the veil is not on the book, but on our hearts. What perfect precepts, what precious promises, what priceless privileges are neglected by us, because we wander among them like blind men among the beauties of nature, and they are to us as a landscape shrouded in darkness!

The Psalmist had a measure of spiritual perception, or he would never have known that there were wondrous things to be seen, nor would he have prayed, ‘”Open thou mine eyes'”; but what he had seen made him long for a clearer and wider sight. This longing proved the genuineness of what he possessed, for it is a test mark of the true knowledge of God that it causes its possessor to thirst for deeper knowledge.

–Charles Spurgeon

Psalm 119:18
Uncover my eyes so that I may see the miraculous things in your teachings.

We can’t open our eyes. Sometimes we can’t even want to open our eyes. We might have no thirst. Sometimes we’re afraid to open our eyes and see what God might have to say to us. What falls on us is to pray, whatever it’s for, at whatever level, for whatever thing Scripture says that God will give every believer on some level. Then we wait, because we know the thing is in God’s will. Then through Scripture we will find more and more of it.

Photo of Eyeball

It took me a long time to know what waiting on God is. It’s not waiting to get what we want materially. That can end in disappointment and frustration. It’s not really patience. When we wait for something that is definitely His will as revealed in Scripture, we know we’re waiting for something that He will give us, whether it’s knowledge, wisdom, our eyes being opened or whatever else God shows us we should want. Sometimes it’s waiting for something we’re praying for someone else. Sometimes it comes quickly and sometimes it takes decades. Then as we experience God, we want to experience Him more, in His wonder-land.

Resources:
Psalms 119 – Treasury of David – StudyLight.org

Psalm119 For Life-Book

Book-Psalm 119 by Bridges
Also on the web

Eyeball Photo © Jeff at Scripture Zealot

Quote of the Day: Spurgeon on Psalm 94

How long, Lord, will the wicked,how long will the wicked be jubilant?
Psalm 94:3

The sound “how long?” is very akin to howling, as if it were one of the saddest of all the utterances in which misery bemoans itself. Many a time has this bitter complaint been heard in the dungeons of the Inquisition, at the whipping posts of slavery, and in the prisons of oppression. In due time God will publish his reply, but the full end is not yet.

-C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David

When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
19When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy.
Psalm 94:18-19

On Reading Calvin’s Institutes and Other Matters

  • Calvin’s Institutes are “a distilled readers’ guide to the main teachings of the Scripture and how they fit together.”
    –Timothy Keller, The Counterintuitive Calvin – a great read on his experience and observations in reading the Institutes

  • 8 Things Wesleyans Need to Learn from Neo-Calvinism // Asbury Seedbed – It may not be as appropriate for a Calvinist (me) to post this as would a Wesleyan/Arminian, but at least it’s written by a Wesleyan and I don’t think there’s anything to argue about.
  • Spurgeon, Impressions, and Prophecy | the Cripplegate

  • “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.”
    –Apostle Paul

    I love this verse. It really says a lot. It also makes me feel like he’s a kindred spirit. Wouldn’t the first thing you ask for be the whole Bible and your books?

    HT: Thanks to T.C. on FB for the reminder

Verse of the Day: Psalm 46:10

The NIV says, “Be still and know that I am God” which has led some to believe this verse is about quiet, contemplative prayer.

It’s more likely in this verse that God is telling us to be quiet and quit fretting about all that’s going on in the world (easier said than done) and know that God is the ruler and will be glorified and exalted in all that is happening. So important in difficult times.

Spurgeon says in his Treasury of David:

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Hold off your hands, ye enemies! Sit down and wait in patience, ye believers! Acknowledge that Jehovah is God, ye who feel the terrors of his wrath! Adore him, and him only, ye who partake in the protections of his grace. Since none can worthily proclaim his nature, let “expressive silence muse his praise.” The boasts of the ungodly and the timorous forebodings of the saints should certainly be hushed by a sight of what the Lord has done in past ages.

I love the term timorous forebodings, which is what we hear and read about a lot these days (and apparently in Spurgeon’s day too!) when there are so many books, sermons by spurious pastors and articles on ‘headline prophecy’ (trying to match current events with Bible prophecy), the impending doom that is always being predicted, etc. Not that impending doom isn’t upon us, we just can’t predict it, or anything else that may or may not happen.

I bring this up mainly because I read this in my two favorite translations and like how they put it:

Psalm 46:10 GW
Let go of your concerns! Then you will know that I am God.
I rule the nations. I rule the earth.

Psalm 46:10 REB
‘Let be then; learn that I am God,
exalted in the nations, exalted in the earth.’

Read the whole Psalm to see the context. The idea of the beginning of this single verse needs to be balanced with others and not misunderstood to the other extreme of course.

If any Hebrew geeks or anyone else want to chime in, feel free.

Luke 12:29-34 GW
“Don’t concern yourself about what you will eat or drink, and quit worrying about these things. 30 Everyone in the world is concerned about these things, but your Father knows you need them. 31 Rather, be concerned about his kingdom. Then these things will be provided for you.

32 Don’t be afraid, little flock. Your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 “Sell your material possessions, and give the money to the poor. Make yourselves wallets that don’t wear out! Make a treasure for yourselves in heaven that never loses its value! In heaven thieves and moths can’t get close enough to destroy your treasure.

34 Your heart will be where your treasure is.

Whoever delights in the Lord prospers

Psalm 1:1-3 NIV
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

I’ve often wondered about “whatever he does prospers”. I always thought it to be a general truth like a Proverb and not a hard and fast rule or promise that comes about 100% of the time.

For friends who may be interested in one thing I’ve been doing lately–As part of my concentration on the Old Testament, I’m going through all of the OT verses and passages I have memorized (too many single verses!) and reading them in context again. I also look things up in a commentary if I feel a need. Since I don’t have a lot of newer (which isn’t necessarily better of course) OT commentaries in book form, I often go to e-Sword, where there are plenty of commentary modules of dead people that are out of copyright. One of the ones I especially like is Spurgeon’s Treasury of David which is on the Psalms. (The one in e-Sword doesn’t contain additional quotes that Spurgeon compiled for each verse in addition to his own commentary.)

So after my update on what I’ve been doing, here is an interesting quote from Spurgeon on the last part of Psalm 1:3 :

“And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Blessed is the man who hath such a promise as this. But we must not always estimate the fulfilment of a promise by our own eye-sight. How often, my brethren, if we judge by feeble sense, may we come to the mournful conclusion of Jacob, “All these things are against me!” For though we know our interest in the promise, yet are we so tried and troubled, that sight sees the very reverse of what that promise foretells. But to the eye of faith this word is sure, and by it we perceive that our works are prospered, even when everything seems to go against us. It is not outward prosperity which the Christian most desires and values; it is soul prosperity which he longs for. We often, like Jehoshaphat, make ships to go to Tarshish for gold, but they are broken at Ezion-geber; but even here there is a true prospering, for it is often for the soul’s health that we should be poor, bereaved, and persecuted. Our worst things are often our best things. As there is a curse wrapped up in the wicked man’s mercies, so there is a blessing concealed in the righteous man’s crosses, losses, and sorrows. The trials of the saint are a divine husbandry, by which he grows and brings forth abundant fruit.

Even though the word prosper may have changed somewhat in meaning over time, we westerners still think dangerously temporal and materialistic. Too dangerous for our spiritual health.

Spurgeon on Biblical Paradox

Augustine had something to say about this but so did Spurgeon. This was found in If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil by Randy Alcorn.

Spurgeon warned against theologies that attempt to reconcile, by means of shortsighted human logic, every apparent biblical inconsistency:

Men who are morbidly anxious to possess a self-consistent creed, a creed which will put together and form a square like a Chinese puzzle, are very apt to narrow their souls. Those who will only believe what they can reconcile will necessarily disbelieve much of divine revelation. Those who receive by faith anything which they find in the Bible will receive two things, twenty things, ay, or twenty thousand things, though they cannot construct a theory which harmonizes them all.

(“Faith,” An All-Round Ministry, 1872)

The system of truth is not one straight line, but two. No man will ever get a right view of the gospel until he knows how to look at the two lines at once.

The first quote can be found in an interesting article on Randy Alcorn’s Ministry site. He writes about Calvinism and election but isn’t really a Calvinist so it’s a bit strange from my point of view:
Spurgeon’s Theology: Embracing Biblical Paradox

The second quote can be found here:
If God Is Good: 99 Quotes and Illustrations

I suppose I can stop posting quotes from that book now. I need to read it again someday. Interestingly, right now the Kindle edition costs more than the paper version. But the prices change often. There is an abridged version of the book too.

Spurgeon: “I know their sorrows.” Exodus 3:7

If I could only always remember this, not to mention doctors and well-meaning friends.

Evening Devotion
Sunday, August 14, 2011

“I know their sorrows.” (Exodus 3:7 KJV)
The child is cheered as he sings, “This my father knows”; and shall not we be comforted as we discern that our dear Friend and tender soul-husband knows all about us?

1. He is the Physician, and if he knows all, there is no need that the patient should know. Hush, thou silly, fluttering heart, prying, peeping, and suspecting! What thou knowest not now, thou shalt know hereafter, and meanwhile Jesus, the beloved Physician, knows thy soul in adversities. Why need the patient analyze all the medicine, or estimate all the symptoms? This is the Physician’s work, not mine; it is my business to trust, and his to prescribe. If he shall write his prescription in uncouth characters which I cannot read, I will not be uneasy on that account, but rely upon his unfailing skill to make all plain in the result, however mysterious in the working.

2. He is the Master, and his knowledge is to serve us instead of our own; we are to obey, not to judge: “The servant knoweth not what his lord doeth.” Shall the architect explain his plans to every hodman on the works? If he knows his own intent, is it not enough? The vessel on the wheel cannot guess to what pattern it shall be conformed, but if the potter understands his art, what matters the ignorance of the clay? My Lord must not be cross questioned any more by one so ignorant as I am.

3. He is the Head. All understanding centres there. What judgment has the arm? What comprehension has the foot? All the power to know lies in the head. Why should the member have a brain of its own when the head fulfils for it every intellectual office? Here, then, must the believer rest his comfort in sickness, not that he himself can see the end, but that Jesus knows all. Sweet Lord, be thou for ever eye, and soul, and head for us, and let us be content to know only what thou choosest to reveal.

Spurgeon on Suffering, via Piper

This is taken from Reformissionary:

John Piper’s verbal biographies are wonderful. I’m listening again to his bio of Spurgeon and just had to throw up a few quotes. They are rocking me today in the midst of all the stuff our family is going through. Here’s the Piper audio, and the manuscript [1995].

It would be a very sharp and trying experience to me to think that I have an affliction which God never sent me, that the bitter cup was never filled by his hand, that my trials were never measured out by him, nor sent to me by his arrangement of their weight and quantity.

Another…

I dare say the greatest earthly blessing that God can give to any of us is health, with the exception of sickness … If some men, that I know of could only be favoured with a month of rheumatism, it would, by God’s grace mellow them marvelously.

Quote of the Day by Charles Spurgeon

I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite certain that, if God had not chosen me, I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love.

–Charles Spurgeon

HT: Randy Alcorn via Facebook

As an aside, for what it’s worth, I think the “doctrine of election” should be narrowed down because everyone believes in it unless they don’t believe the Bible. It’s what type of election. Spurgeon of course is talking about Calvinism’s/Reformed limited atonement type, which I agree with.

I feel the same way about what Calvinists refer to as “the doctrines of grace” as if they have it cornered. Everyone except maybe Pelagians believe that we are saved by grace in some fashion whether prevenient (sp?) or just grace alone without the person relying on their own ‘decision’ to be saved. I wonder if Calvin used that term in his language.

I must sound like a curmudgeon.

Spurgeon: A Defense of Calvinism (and Arminians)

In a sermon by C. H. Spurgeon popularly titled A Defense of Calvinism, Spurgeon also speaks highly of his Arminian friends. There are some quotable quotes in this message that those who are Reformed (of which I am one) often rightly use, but I thought I would point out another quote that may get overlooked:

There is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do, and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvinist, I answer—I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it. But far be it from me even to imagine that Zion contains none but Calvinistic Christians within her walls, or that there are none saved who do not hold our views. Most atrocious things have been spoken about the character and spiritual condition of John Wesley, the modern prince of Arminians. I can only say concerning him that, while I detest many of the doctrines which he preached, yet for the man himself I have a reverence second to no Wesleyan; and if there were wanted two apostles to be added to the number of the twelve, I do not believe that there could be found two men more fit to be so added than George Whitefield and John Wesley. The character of John Wesley stands beyond all imputation for self-sacrifice, zeal, holiness, and communion with God; he lived far above the ordinary level of common Christians, and was one ‘of whom the world was not worthy.’ I believe there are multitudes of men who cannot see these truths, or, at least, cannot see them in the way in which we put them, who nevertheless have received Christ as their Saviour, and are as dear to the heart of the God of grace as the soundest Calvinist in or out of Heaven.

Of which I agree. It pains me when people say otherwise.

I hope this isn’t taken the wrong way. It’s a note of love towards my Arminian friends. If it sounds condescending in any way, which I imagine to some it could, that’s not how the posting of this quote was intended or understood by me.

What Is Revival?

A revival is a time of quickening or impartation of life. As God alone can give life, a revival is a time when when God visits His people and by the power of His Spirit imparts new life to them, and through them imparts life to sinners dead in trespasses and sins. We have religious excitements gotten up by the cunning methods and hypnotic influence of the mere professional evangelist; but these are not revivals and are not needed. They are the devil’s imitations of a revival. New life from God–that is a revival. A general revival is a time when this new life from God is not confined to scattered localities, but is general throughout Christendom and the earth.

…revivals also have a decided influence on the unsaved world.

First of all, they bring deep conviction of sin. Jesus said that when the Spirit was come He would convince the world of sin (John 16:7-8). Now we have seen that a revival is a coming of the Holy Spirit, and therefore there must be new conviction of sin, and there always is. If you see something men call a revival, and there is no conviction of sin, you may know at once that it is bogus. It is a sure mark.

–R.A. Torrey, How To Pray

Marks of Revival – J. I. Packer
Revival-and Renewal – A.W. Tozer
Revival Conditions – A.W. Tozer
What Is a Revival? by C. H. Spurgeon

The Spirit of Revival (pt. 1) – R.C. Sproul
The Spirit of Revival (pt. 2)
The Spirit of Revival (pt. 3)
The Spirit of Revival (pt. 4)
The Spirit of Revival (pt. 5)

Test Revival with Doctrine – John Piper

MARJOE GORTNER-HOW FALSE PROPHET WORKS – YouTube

Psalm 19:7a HCSB
The instruction of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;