“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8)
“…God is not in all [the wicked’s] thoughts.” (Psalm 10:4b)
Christ tells us in His discourse on the Holy Spirit in John 14-16 that the Spirit has many different offices or responsibilities. One of these offices is to teach and to guide us in the learning and understanding of the Scriptures. With that being said, we should gather that we are to do more than merely read the words on the page.. We are to study the Scriptures like the Bereans did. We should “search the Scriptures,” as Christ told the Pharisees, “for in them ye shall find [M]e.” We are to spend time in the Scriptures. We are to spend time with God in the Scriptures. Pink said, “the Bible is not for the lazy man.” Rather the Bible is for the person who devotes and invests time in the Book of books. That is not to say that we should not simply read the Bible. We should read the Bible AND we should study the Bible. One may sit and simply read the Book for spiritual entertainment. One Must study the Book for spiritual growth.
There are many helps in studying the Book. The serious student should own a good concordance. I use either the Strong’s or Young’s Analytical. Young’s will give you the original Hebrew word for the Old Testament and the original Greek for the New Testament. These are indespensable. A good Topical Bible will allow you to look up topics and then see where they are mentioned throughout Scripture. “The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge” will allow the student to look up a verse and then follow that thought throughout Holy Writ. While I find the KJV to be the very best translation, I find using other versions as a type of commentary. The Ampliphied is very helpful as are many others. I have used a Parallel Bible to great success in understanding a text.. The Blue Letter Bible is remarkable if you are an online user. Another tremendous aid is the KJV Easy Reader.
Of course, there are a number of Bible commentaries that will help you learn and grow. Most would suggest Matthew Henry to be the very best. John Calvin’s is useful but has less depth than Matt. Henry. That is not a poor critique however as there are times one needs a quick reference commentary. There a commentaries on single books of Scripture as well if you want a tremendous amount of information. A.W. Pink has single book commentaries on Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, 1-2 Samuel (“The Life of David”), John, Hebrew, 1John. He also has a great commentary on the lives of Elijah and Elisha as well as a magazine called, “Studies in the Scriptures” that spanned over (30) thirty years. These are available through “Chapel Library.”
Luther has commentaries on Romans, Galatians, 1 Peter and James. John MacArthur has a commentary set on all of the Books. J. Vernon MacGee has a set that is very basic but valuable. Spurgeon has a set as well as a study on the life of David. Saint Augustine has a commentary on Romans, John, and Psalms. These are neat as you get to read the thoughts of a man that lived in the 300’s.
(3) three books that revolutionized my understanding of God and my walk with Him. “Mere Christianity,” “Practicing the Presence of God,” and “The Sovereignty of God.” “Mere Christianity” give a birds eye view of the faith with remarkable and very notable insights. Another reason is this is the seminal work that introduced me to C.S. Lewis. Reader, This is a man you should know. If you want to introduce a child to the faith you couldn’t do better than “The Chronicles of Narnia.”
“Practicing the Presence of God” is the book that changed my walk with God. If you ever wondered what it is to “pray without ceasing” or how to do so, this little book will help. This book is made up of 13-15 letters. Each letter is under (2) two pages. The letters concern praying or remaining in the spirit of prayer. These letters were written by a monk in the 1600s. Yes, a monk. Reader, if you pre-judge this work based upon it’s author, you will greatly miss out. There is not another book like it RE: Prayer and dwelling in Gods Presence all day long.
“I speak as a fool,” We have been told by persons that we are the most spiritual person they know and that we are the person closest to God that they know. (2) two thoughts on that: 1. Bro. Lawrence and his book, “Practicing the Presence of God” is one of the reasons we walk closely with God, humanly speaking. 2. We do not take this as a compliment, but as a judgement upon current day Christ-ianity. Get this book and APPLY the principles.
“The Sovereignty of God” by Arthur Pink. If you want to revolutionize your understanding and view of God, this will do it. This is thought to be the definitive (non-inspired) book on the topic of God’s Sovereignty and it was written in the early 1900s. You will once again be in awe of our great and awe-ful God (aweful as in full of awe). This is the book that introduced me to Pink and I thank God for that.
Now that we have written on reading v studying and mentioned a few very helpful books, let us now (DV) spend sometime learning how to get meat out of a verse. (2) two of the priciples I use to gain much from a verse is [Sidenote: Notice we did not say interpret, as that is a dangerous word and is misused. There is no such thing as a private interpretation (1 Peter 1). No one is allowed to believe anything other than what the A(a)uthor is intending. “This means x to me” is not allowed.] the opposite meaning and the “if then.”
“The double minded man is unstable in all his ways” This tells us that the man that is always second guessing himself or is always changing his mind is unstable and could not and should not be counted upon for leadership and is not to be depended upon. That is not to say that one cannot change one’s mind. If a you change your mind based upon new information you are not double minded, instead you are wise. The best way to keep from being double minded is to wait until all information is in and has been analyzed. We have not exhausted this verse, but let us move on and implement our “if then” principle.
If a double minded man is unstable in all his ways, then a single minded man must be stable in all his ways. The man of God is or should be singularly minded on the things of God. His mind is on the Godhead, on his own predestinated end of Christ-likeness and that of the people of God. He is mindful of the needs of Gods people and his own needs. Everything else flows from that single mindedness. He is a prayful man, etc. This is the “if then” principle.
The “Opposite” principle is exactly what it sounds like:
Psalm 10 tells us that the unrighteous and wicked do not want God in all of their thoughts. In other words, the enemy of God does not want God in any of their thoughts, decisions, or choices This truth is found in Romans 1, as well. These do not seek for God nor do they have any true understanding of God. When the “opposite” principle is applied we get this, God is in all of the thoughts of the righteous. The opposite of wicked or unrighteous is righteous. The unrighteous and wicked do this or that, what does the righteous? Reader, Is God in all of your thoughts? Does He have a place in your decisions and choices? Are your thoughts captive to righteousness? Do you ever think and ask, like the rubber bracelets say, What Would [Lord] Jesus Do? Is God anywhere in your thoughts?
Other authors that I have found helpful:
Andrew Murray (not the T.V. Murray, the Murray on T.V. is a Trinity denier)
Puritans, Watson, Flavel, Owen, Watts on Logic (life changer for me), John Newton, Sibbes, Manton,
C.H. Spurgeon: Start with “Mornings and Evenings” as an introduction, then branch out.
Jonathan Edwards…if you read nothing else from Edwards, read, “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God.” Read it in the morning and not before bedtime…
Chuck Swindoll (I’m always slow in recommending the living, but Swindoll has great stuff.)
Madame Guyon for the ladies….. and the men.
J.C. Ryle….Ryle has many books. He has one called, “Thoughts for Young Men.” Also, “Daily Devitions from the Gospels” are excellent. He also has a commentary set on the Gospels that is very devotional.
A.W. Tozer is in a class to himself.
A.B. Simpson has good stuff on the Old Testament.
Sir Robert Anderson was one of the investigators on the Jack the Ripper case and he has good theology.
Phillip Keller, “A Shepherds look at Psalm 23″…get it yesterday.
D. Martyn LLoyd Jones…Anything and everything by Lloyd Jones is helpful.
Meister Eckart- Mystic.
Biographies are helpful but beware of hero-worship.
Contact Chapel Library, which is a ministry of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Pensacola Florida. They have a great many titles and upto a certain amont all is free. Ask them for a catalogue or go to their website. It is a ministry well worth your financial support as well.
Radio Preachers or Online Preachers or Youtube:
John Mac Arthur
Family Radio if you can get it on radio, if not try online.
Janet Parshall “In the Market Place” not business but in the market as the disciples would preach in the market place.
The Gospel Bus, Through the Bible in Five Years
Oneplace.com will have most of the above. Oneplace.com is a treasure.
Now, Grow, GroooooOOOOW GROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!