that we read and study it in the fear of God with prayer, devotion, and diligence, and therebycalling on God for enlightenment through the Holy Spirit.The phrase: "how to master the Bible"
sounds a bit strange, but is surely meant well.He certainly will not say that people would be allowed to behave as masters of Scripture and toset themselves over Scripture, as the higher and, for that matter, the highest critics do, who cutHoly Scripture, as the tailor cuts a piece of cloth in order to make it a tuxedo, then a man cancover his nakedness with it. Dr. Gray will surely say only this: We should thus acquaint andfamiliarize ourselves with Holy Scripture that we are quite at home with it and always have itclose at hand whenever a serious and difficult question comes to us.The equally serious question comes to an upright preacher: How am I adept toadminister my Office so beneficially as it is only ever possible?
How do I learn the most fromHoly Scripture
? What book of the Bible should I read first, and then what? One cannot give ananswer to this question that would be fit for everyone. For we do not all have the same needsin equal measure, not all have the same knowledge. One lacks more in one respect, the other inanother.But again we presume it the case that one memorizes and wants to make his own assoon as possible the chief characteristics of upright preachers and pastors
. He makes abeginning with the letters of St. Paul to Timothy. He reads and studies it with devotion, andindeed often, until the contents are his own. He also at the same time underlines the mostimportant words or sections, for example, 1 Timothy 1:12 for his consolation and also as awarning, and 1 Timothy 1:14-16, where the main content of a good sermon is given, 1 Timothy2:1, from which one sees that one has to begin first of all with prayer if one wants to haveblessing on his work. He should memorize well the third chapter from the first verse to the last.He should then underline chapter 4:11-16; 5:19-21; 6:11-14, 20; 2 Timothy 1:7-14; 2:1-4, 7-8,14-16, 24; 3:14-17; 4:1-2, 5, 7.Note for Chapter 2:1. A preacher who does not exercise himself in prayer above allthings, will be either a reckless boy or a wretched man, he should study what and how much healways would. A true preacher must above all things and first of all
, first for himself, whenhe reads and studies the Scriptures, when he prepares his sermon, when he ascends the pulpitand opens his mouth, when he practices private pastoral care or otherwise wants to perform anofficial act. But he should also pray for other people, in particular for those who are under hispastoral care, whether they are high or low, old or young. If he does not pray, then he is notsurprised when he, despite his ongoing reading, does not have much success. A preacherwatched a man who knocked stones with astonishment and then said to his companion: "Howeasily the man smashes the hard stones that they are suitable, as I often with the greatestdifficulty can smash a heart." "Yes", said the companion, "but the man also does his work on hisknees." The preacher understood the hint and took it to heart.Now if one has completely appropriated the two epistles to Timothy and now wants tolearn in particular the art to extol God's grace rather sweetly and lovely, then he should readand study further the epistle to Titus in the same way. And in order to be able rightly to comfort
In English in the original. DMJ