The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Posts Tagged ‘Bible

Review: the Schuyler New King James Version

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IMG_1213(Yes, this is a longer review, but it’s written to be enjoyed as well as employed. It also reflects the measure of the investment concerned. So stay calm, grab a brew, settle in, and ride along.)

The background bit

They called him Brownie. He played village cricket at the level at which a few of the more debonair players would agonise over the weight and balance of their bats and fuss about various aspects of their other equipment. Not so Brownie. He would pillage the dressing room before going out to bat, and – like some latter-day Shamgar with his ox-goad, or Samson with the jawbone of an ass – simply grab whatever came to hand and stride forth to smite lustily about him in order to slay his thousands. Meanwhile, at the boundary, the poor unfortunate whose bat Brownie had accumulated as he headed for the wicket would often be in agonies as he watched his beloved willow being so abused. At the other end of the scale was the occasion when, in the Louisville Slugger Museum, I picked up a casual bat and give it a twirl. “That,” intoned the solemn attendant, “is designed specifically for Derek Jeter.” Our eyes met and a frisson of understanding passed between us. He knew instinctively that I could not afford to damage it, and this was silently communicated to me. Even this uneducated Britisher knew enough to pause for a moment’s reverent silence before, with a slight bow, placing the aforementioned piece of wood back in its pillowed cradle. Apparently, the care with which that particular club was honed would put the most pedantic village cricketer to shame.

So it may be with the physical Bibles that we use for reading and preaching. For some of us, form is of little regard. We will pick up whatever comes to hand and go forth to battle. Others, more particular, or with a measure of permanence and precision in mind, look for the specific implement that best accentuates whatever natural and honed abilities we might have. That may be true for the general Bible reader, and is likely to be more true for the regular Bible preacher. I want to address both the reader and the preacher in this review, with an eye more to the aficionado than the barbarian.


The subject of my critical gaze will be the Schuyler Quentel Edition of the New King James Version. As a private and public reader and also a preacher of the Bible, I have a keen interest in a physical volume that lends itself to the rigours and demands of consistent and varied use. I would contend that there is real value in the preacher actually carrying a Bible into the pulpit (or any other preaching arena) with him. There is significance in evidently returning to the book in the course of one’s preaching, both by way of spoken and visual reference. It grounds one’s discourse in the very Word of God, with all the implications of authority and sufficiency that such reliance should communicate. And herein lies the problem. Depending on the regularity with and manner in which one refers to the Scriptures, a number of challenges arise. Many preachers, especially as they age, will find that the text of some Bibles is simply too small, or becomes so, leaving the congregation either with the sight of a man’s face replaced by the back of a little book, or regular close-ups of the top of his head as he bends to scour the page. In addition, with repetition comes familiarity, and many preachers can find even the most obscure text in the book and on the page by its location, almost instinctively thumbing to the right spot and casting an eye on the right portion. All this adds up to a more natural and even seamless relationship to the written word in the act of preaching. After a few years, even if one is careful, the Bible over which one pores and paws, perhaps in the armchair and the study, as well as in the pulpit, starts to wear out. The search begins for a new copy, but the desire may be for one which effectively mirrors the previous copy, so that the familiarity and facility are retained. And then the horrific discovery is made that some blighted publisher has only gone and decided to issue seven new editions, none as readable as the earlier ones, and none retaining the same format, often completely retypeset, and all that is now available is the Slovenian Basketweaver’s Edition with hessian cover for the horny-handed sons of toil, available in canary yellow or puce. The disappointment is crushing. One begins to search for some local bookbinder with the requisite skills to get another few years out of your increasingly haggard copy of God’s word.

All facetiousness aside, this is why I would counsel any young man setting out into the ministry, if he is able, to consider investing in one of the Bibles of superior craftsmanship that are currently available. In the same way as an old soldier might become so familiar with his weapon that it pretty much fits in his hand and can be stripped down and built up in his sleep, so a particular copy of the Bible might become almost a part of you, immediately familiar and readily wielded even under the most inauspicious circumstances. The same applies to the reader of the Scriptures: habits of time and place aid retention. Furthermore, familiarity not just with the text in itself but with a particular copy of the text can be a real help in knowing and using our Bibles as individuals, in families, and among friends. For those with a particular kind of memory, looking for something “about there on the page” is an easy way of working.

To be sure, there are times when, like Brownie, one must simply take up whatever lies at hand and go forth to conquer. But it may be that you can invest in a Derek Jeter special that will, because of its superior design and manufacture and catering to your specific capacities, augment your natural abilities and become a lifelong companion and perhaps even a bequest. That may be where a high-end Bible like the Schuyler Quentel NKJV comes into play.

I confess that I am not really an expert when it comes to these things. For years I used the same copy of the Scriptures, a nice but not overly-impressive leather-bound NKJV, purchased for me by my parents for some auspicious birthday. I did indeed have it resewn once, and the brother who did it did what he could with what he had in hand, leaving me with a serviceable but fairly tight volume that lay reasonably flat but pulled at the seams a bit when under strain. It travelled long distances and did sterling service. After a while, it simply began to pull apart once more. It was at this point that I began the search for a serviceable replacement. In addition, as I preached in other places, I found many that had lower pulpits and poorer lighting than I enjoy in my home church building. Readability became more of an issue. Many readers of a review like this might immediately point me toward the excellent work of R. L. Allan (whose efforts are also available through I found ‘my’ copy of the NKJV in a slightly larger font but the same layout (the Broadman & Holman Ultrathin Large Print Reference Edition) and have used it now for a year or two. It does the job, but it’s a little larger to carry and the paper is sufficiently thin that – even with use – it is still not too easy to manipulate quickly in the pulpit, though it is familiar and functional. I therefore had my eye open for an alternative, and was pleased to be given the opportunity to review the Schuyler Quentel Edition of the New King James Version.

The technical stuff

IMG_1212This is a beautiful Bible. Mine is the dark green, black letter edition. A red letter edition is available, and the ability to differentiate between the two is an immediate bonus for those who – for reasons of principle or aesthetics or something else – prefer not to have the garish splatter of red across the pages of the New Testament or who like or wish to be, or are simply accustomed to being, able immediately to pick up the physical speech of the incarnate Christ. In the black letter edition, red is reserved for the chapter numbering and the footnote numbering, giving a helpful touch of distinctness and emphasis without overdoing things.

But let us begin on the outside and work in. The binding is beautifully done. I don’t need much persuading of the beauty of green, but it’s far more than this – or any other colour – that commends the Quentel. What hits home is the quality of the work.

IMG_1211The yapp is not particularly broad, as it is in some of the Allan Bibles. I guess that’s a matter of taste. It’s not something that fusses me too much. The Allan Bibles have a certain loucheness about them, while these Schuylers feel a little more rugged. The edge lining and stitching are all neat and precise, while the pages themselves enjoy red-under-gold art-gilt edging. There are raised spine bands that feel quite substantial but not aggressive, and the same could be said for the gilt lettering on the spine and the stamped cross on the front cover. Different customers might push for less (would many push for more?) but this is not over the top.

Everything is as tight and trim and clean as one would hope for the price and the promises. Three ribbons, a rather fetching combination of copper-gold-bronze colours (I am reasonably persuaded that mine are three different colours, but cannot say why) with the dark green cover, are really as much as most of us would need, while providing plenty of scope (though why they couldn’t be green as well, I don’t know!).

IMG_1210The binders have put in very dark brown endpapers – good in quality if not particularly striking. Again, one asks if a very dark green might have completed the look, though the brown does offset the green nicely – ask almost any tree. The hinges are reasonably stiff, but this is one of the places at which books – especially Bibles opened repeatedly and read regularly – start to suffer. I know that for some the sine qua non of a good binding is that the thing lies open, flat, as supple as an old rag, the first time it is opened – that Allan limpness comes to mind. I imagine that these will work in with use, especially given then overall weight of the book. That initial ‘pull’ does give some assurance that the main block will not break away from the spine if slightly manhandled or dropped. In fairness, this one drops open without too much lift, but – again – that physical robustness is properly tangible. The spine is Smyth sewn, as it should be, but beyond knowing that it’s there, it something you will only realise when it doesn’t start dropping apart within a few years.


Schuyler on left, Broadman & Holman Ultrathin Large Print right

Inside, the text is a punchy 11 points (the font is Milo for those who like to know such things) and seems larger on account of the crispness of the print. In practice, that means that it is a very good size, almost to the degree of reading somewhere between large and giant print. For the sake of comparison, side by side with an Allan edition of the Ultrathin Large Print Reference Edition you simply cannot argue with its readability.

The paper is a creamy 36gsm with an opacity rating of 83%. “Hooray!” I hear almost no one bellow. “Who knew?” cry the few. “Who cares?” cry the many. So what does that even mean in practice? Well, the initial fear is that black on cream will lack the potentially helpful contrast of the whiter page, but – once more – such is the quality of the print itself that the contrast is not an issue. In fact, the creamier paper is quite easy on the eye, even over time, neither demanding excessive strain to see the text nor offering any of the glare that might result from brighter lighting. The fair weight of the PrimaBible paper does help prevent ghosting – the tendency of the text on the back of the page to be visible from the side you are reading. What helps to reduce the impact further is the effective line-matching i.e. the fact that the lines on both side of the page match each other and don’t overlap and produce shadows on the other side. All in all, that combination produces a distinctly readable page with few obvious frustrations or distractions.

IMG_1214Bear in mind too that the volume contains a concordance and maps. That adds to the bulk a little, but is of value to those who still use such things in concrete rather than electronic form – I must confess I don’t mind having them to hand. The maps are beautifully done, it must be said, though the one of Paul’s journeys suffers a little with being stretched over two pages – great for scope, tricky to follow the detail in the centre. With all this, I knew that it would be a good size, but I was still slightly surprised by its heft. Of course, this is partly a consequence of the weight of the paper, which brings its own benefits. It feels like it will last. It may be a little heavy for some to tote around, while others accustomed to hauling around a study bible or its equivalent might feel this a frisky little number by comparison.

The practical considerations

For the reader, this is a delightful experience.

I actually love reading a paragraph Bible, especially with big blocks of text set out in single columns. For personal devotions and more intense reading sessions, there is not much to beat a single column Bible. The Schuyler reading experience is sufficiently pleasant that I had no real complaints. For those accustomed to such reading, the Schuyler will be a joy. If I were being snarky, I would ask why we need to have the text broken up with headings rather than paragraphed, but it does have the virtue of opening out the page, despite my personal distaste for it.

IMG_1156For the preacher, there is so much to commend. I have only used the Bible for preaching and teaching a couple of times, and was concerned that my lack of familiarity with the layout might become an issue. In particular, paragraph Bibles do not always work well for the preacher, especially if he is working very specifically. Finding individual verses in the text block can become extremely difficult, especially when working at speed. The Quentel largely overcomes that by simple virtue of its excellence of design and production. The font is sufficiently large to make it easy to follow, the verse numbers are picked out in bold, giving them that extra visibility, and the print clarity of the whole means that the eye very easily begins to work with and around the text, even in larger blocks, allowing one to zero in on a particular verse or verses.


Spine bends out, good flexibility on the cover but DO NOT make a habit of doing this to your Bible – demonstration purposes only!

Perhaps the downside for the preacher, especially one who travels more often and might need to travel light, is the size and weight of the Quentel. It is simply quite bulky: you cannot have what it offers without that bulk, but the bulk itself might make it slightly awkward as a travelling companion. On the other side, if someone were looking for a pulpit Bible, and did not want to go for one of the weighty tomes that often fall into that category, the Quentel’s readability means that you do not need to go large in order to benefit.

In short, if you are looking for that one Bible which will be with your in your home and home church, and not many other places, and are content to carry something quite massy around with you, you will hardly be able to go wrong with the Schuyler Quentel. For all-purpose reading and use in private, family and public settings, it might be hard to beat. It is, in terms of its reading ease, outstanding; in terms of its physical construction, magnificent. It is the kind of Bible that, God willing, you might hand on after your pilgrimage is done to others who will be able to go on using it in the same manner. On one level, you could argue that it is somewhat overbuilt. On another, it’s just going to keep going. Of course, I cannot guarantee what state it will be in in twenty years, should the Lord tarry, but – well cared for and gently handled – I cannot see it being in anything other than better shape as it gets worn in.

There may be times when you need simply to pick up whatever copy of the Word of God is to hand and go in swinging. However, in summary, if you have the luxury of and the capacity for selecting a more expensive Bible edition (all $222) that will be suited to your particular needs, the Schuyler Quentel begs your consideration.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 23 May 2016 at 08:25


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It may have been ever thus, but there seem to be an increasing number of books – often from the fields of biblical or systematic theology – that present themselves as having discovered or provided the overarching theme of the Scriptures as a whole, the lens through which the whole should be read and interpreted. At other times, there is a supposed historical precedent which, we are informed, must govern the way in which we handle not only uninspired texts, but even the Scriptures themselves. Perhaps there is even an experimental approach: we have had such-and-such an experience, therefore it must be validated by the Word of God.

Every other theme or text is then shoehorned into the grand scheme, trimmed and hammered until the squarest of pegs slide into the roundest of holes. Sometimes, there is something that is compelling about such presentations, and much light is shed on the Word of God. One might still not accept the demand that this be the point at which we stand in order to change the world, while appreciating the help given in seeing this as a weighty theme or principle. At other times, I am concerned at how blunt or even crass that process is, with some shallow little epithet becoming the cookie cutter into which every text or doctrine must be forced. We end up reading our Bibles with a combination of myopia and tunnel vision, and not just those that come of being fallen creatures.

At the same time, most of us are probably accustomed to reading the Bible through a certain set of lenses. We come to the Word of God with certain notions, and these – consciously or unconsciously, possibly even subconsciously – inform our hermeneutics. This is largely inevitable. We open the Bible with certain presuppositions, a certain system influencing if not governing the way in which we read.

As a result, we tend to find in the Scriptures what accords with our own convictions. You might recall John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan’s attempt at self-definition: “I’m first a Christian, next a catholic, then a Calvinist, fourth a paedobaptist, and fifth a Presbyterian. I cannot reverse this order.” I wonder if (with necessary adjustments and extensions, depending on our beliefs) we also read the Bible through those kinds of lenses, in more or less that order?

So the key question must be, who makes the lenses and sets them in the frames? Here is a great challenge for us if we are to be faithful and humble readers of the Scriptures. Prayerfully dependent on the Holy Spirit, we must adjust our lenses and our frames to ensure that the Scriptures come into focus as they are, and not adjust the Scriptures so that they can be read through our lenses and frames.

This, I think, is one of the particular things that I appreciate about the expositions of Calvin and some of the other older writers. Please understand that I am not seeking to set up a Calvin versus the Calvinists dichotomy, or necessarily trying to endorse the system that often goes by the name of Calvinism. Rather, I am talking about the way the man handles the Bible. And I think he handles the Bible humbly and faithfully. There is no doubt that he reads with certain presuppositions, as do we all. But when he reaches a given point in his handling of a text, and noticeably where it is something which pushes his system – starkly and mechanistically considered – out of shape, he does not start trying to kick the text into shape, but he takes off his shoes, for he is standing on holy ground. And that is something we all must do.

Spurgeon once said, “Brethren, we shall not adjust our Bible to the age; but before we have done with it, by God’s grace, we shall adjust the age to the Bible.” If we are to do that, we must also ensure that we do not adjust our Bible to the system, but the system to our Bible. As we read, we must allow every line to have its full and honest weight, to be interpreted historically and and linguistically and grammatically in accordance with righteous standards, and to submit to whatever we find. To be sure, we do not and cannot come nakedly to the Word of God, and it would be folly to suggest that we do and can. But let us be done with shoehorning the Bible, in the whole or in part, into a preordained system. If I find it in my Bible, I must believe it. If I do not, then I am not bound by it, and neither can I bind anyone else to it. We cannot use the Bible to legitimise what we have already decided must be true. If God’s Word declares it, I receive it and embrace it, even if – where reason fails, with all its powers – there faith prevails and love adores. We worship even when – perhaps especially when – we cannot fully comprehend. Let us make sure that – whatever we start with – we are continually adjusting our frames and refining our lenses to ensure that the fixed points of the Word of God inform everything else that we believe or do, and live and worship accordingly.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 9 January 2015 at 16:35

Posted in Hermeneutics

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Treasuring the Word

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Last night at a meeting at Maidenbower we heard a stonking sermon from Andy Young of Cheltenham on the preciousness of God’s word, highlighting how we ought to receive it, our appropriate response to it, and the fearful rejection of it. In his introduction, Andy made reference to the video below about the Kimyal people:

That further reminded me of this video of Chinese believers receiving the Word of God in their own language for the first time . . .

. . . and of this video of Christians in Africa getting their own Bibles:

What is the Bible to you? Is it better than thousands of pieces of gold and silver? Do you treasure it? I am reminded of a famous sermon by John Rogers. What difference would losing your Bible make to you?

Written by Jeremy Walker

Wednesday 12 March 2014 at 08:05

Posted in Christian living

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Review: “What Does God Want of Us Anyway?”

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What Does God Want of Us Anyway? A Quick Overview of the Whole Bible

Mark Dever

Crossway (IX Marks), 2010, 128pp., small case, $12.99 / £8.99

ISBN 978-1-4335-1415-9

This little book draws together three chapters from longer overviews of both Old and New Testaments by the same author, all three having their origin in sermons. I confess to a being a little nonplussed by the title, which seems to have remote connection to the contents. The first section provides a panoramic view of the whole Bible, with the latter two taking up the identified elements for a marginally deeper view of the Old and then the New Testament. The emphases lie on God’s purposes, holiness and promises, the latter blossoming into promises relating to a Redeemer, a relationship, and a renewal. Each section has its own study questions. This is a high-speed journey through a blurred landscape, with many major landmarks briefly swimming into focus before disappearing quickly. It is helpful in identifying some of the driving forces of the Biblical narrative as a whole, and the particular themes that recur. As a resource, it might be useful for those who have not got ‘the big picture’ or who need some general sense of where they are heading and what they are looking for as they read the Bible through.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 27 February 2014 at 15:40

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Ten basic facts about the NT canon

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Mike Kruger heads into a useful ten part series at Canon Fodder:

This new blog series is designed to help the lay believer learn some basic facts about the New Testament canon—the kind of facts that might be helpful in a conversation with a skeptic or inquisitive friend. The first of these facts is one that is so basic that it is often overlooked. It is simply that the New Testament books are the earliest Christian writings we possess.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 8 February 2013 at 13:10

Posted in While wandering . . .

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“Search this book”

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O my brethren, what can be better for informing the understanding than the Word of God? Would you know God? Would you know yourself? Then search this Book. Would you know time, and how to spend it? Would you know eternity, and how to be prepared for it? Then, search ye this Book. Would you know the evil of sin, and how to be delivered from it? Would you know the plan of salvation, and how you can have a share in it? This is the Book which will instruct you in all these matters. There is nothing which a man needs to know for the affairs of his soul, between here and heaven, of which this Book will not tell him. Blessed are they that read it both day and night; and especially blessed are they who read it with their eyes opened and illuminated by the Divine Spirit. If you want to be wise unto salvation, select the Word of God, and especially the Spirit of God, as your Teacher. There is nothing else that is equal to the Bible for inflaming, sanctifying, and turning in the right direction, all the passions of the soul.

A little more of the good stuff from Spurgeon at the Pyromaniacs.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 6 October 2012 at 23:34

Hidden in the heart

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. . . one of the consequences of the internet-trained brain seems to be an inability to hide very much – not much of the Word of God, to be sure – in our hearts. That results in a crippling weakness in the battle for godliness.

Yours truly offers some thoughts on hiding God’s word in our hearts at Reformation21.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 5 March 2012 at 23:10

Posted in General

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God is speaking

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Tim Challies has begun what looks like it might be an interesting brief series on how God is speaking today, not least in the matter of discerning the Lord’s will. I appreciated his rooting the reality in the inscripturated, final Word of the living God.

I was glad to see that he pointed us toward the Lord Christ: he is our High High Priest; he is our sole Sovereign; and, he is our final and sufficient Prophet.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Wednesday 19 October 2011 at 09:24

Posted in Revelation

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Concerning the Word of God

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John Murray:

There is no situation in which we are placed, no demand that arises, for which Scripture as the deposit of the manifold wisdom of God is not adequate and sufficient.  It is the Scripture that provides the equipment, the furnishings, the investments, that prepare us for the kingdom of God, ’till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ’ and are ‘filled unto all the fulness of God’. (Works, 3:261)

Herman Bavinck:

The imperative task of the dogmatician is to think God’s thoughts after him and to trace their unity. His work is not finished until he has mentally absorbed this unity and set it forth in a dogmatics. Accordingly, he does not come to God’s revelation with a ready-made system in order, as best he can, to force its content into it. On the contrary, even in his system a theologian’s sole responsibility is to think God’s thoughts after him and to reproduce the unity that is objectively present in the thoughts of god and has been recorded for the eye of faith in Scripture. (Reformed Dogmatics, 1:44)

Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 26 September 2011 at 12:51

Review: “Journibles (The 17:18 Series)”

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Journibles (The 17:18 Series)

Rob Wynalda

Reformation Heritage Books, various dates, various pp., hardback, $13-20

Various ISBNs

When I tell you that this growing series consists mainly of blank pages, you might ask me why you should invest your hard-earned local shekel in such a product. Let me explain: building on the mandate of Deuteronomy 17:18 (that the king write out his own copy of the law) and the expectation that such a process will be an aid to memory and a prompt to understanding, each journible takes either one or several of the books of Scripture, giving a blank right-side page for someone to write out their own copy of the book, and the left page for notes, comments and thoughts (with very occasional prompts to get the juices flowing). Could you not do it yourself in any decent notebook? Yes, but I imagine that investing in these well-bound and attractively-presented volumes – pleasant enough to prompt the employment of a good fountain pen to slow down the process of thought and action – may prove an incentive and a means of maintaining focus and accountability in the process. As a deliberate, spiritual exercise, perhaps as part of one’s private devotions, or as a Sunday afternoon activity, I should hope that this would prove a genuine means of getting the Word of God written not just on the pages of a notebook but on the fleshy tablet of the heart.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 21 April 2011 at 09:14

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Sixty-six clouds

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Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 24 January 2011 at 09:58

Posted in Revelation

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“God-breathed, each sacred page reveals”

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God-breathed, each sacred page reveals
The sacred truth of God on high;
God condescends to speak to man,
His holy name to magnify.

Divine, no error mars the Word,
No folly creeps across the page.
The Word of God unsullied stands
From shore to shore and age to age.

Unchanged, the Word of God remains
The same across the passing years;
The truth which fired the martyrs’ hearts
Still freshly rings in modern ears.

Complete, our every need is met
Within the holy, precious book.
Our souls are saved, and kept, and fed
Beside the waters of this brook.

How warmly gleams this heav’n-forged blade,
Far sharper than a two-edged sword;
It overcomes the hardest heart,
And spreads God’s glorious power abroad.

“Enlarge our hearts to understand
The light of God to sinful man!
Grant grace to choose the way of truth,
To run the way that you command.”


See all hymns and psalms.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 31 July 2010 at 19:37

Grateful for a Bible

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How precious is the Word of God?  To these people, it is better than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.  Reminds me of John Rogers.

Remember this next time you open your Bible, and consider what you hold in your hands.


Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 11 February 2010 at 11:43

Keep it simple

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Kevin DeYoung has an interesting post on maintaining simplicity and clarity in interpreting the Scriptures, based in part on the environment in which the original recipients of the gospels and epistles especially would have heard the good news.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 11 September 2009 at 10:11

Posted in Revelation

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Thomas Watson on reading the Scriptures

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Thomas WatsonIn my edition of Thomas Watson’s Heaven Taken By Storm: Showing The Holy Violence A Christian is to Put Forth in the Pursuit After Glory (how’s that for a title?  So much for today’s recovery of all this Fight Clubby, Wrestlemaniacal, “More hair on my chest than you!” Christian manliness – Watson is there way before us) . . . where was I? . . . oh, yes – in my edition there is an appendix (actually, the second appendix) containing a sermon on Deuteronomy 17.19: “And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them.”  The title of the sermon is “How we may read the Scriptures with most spiritual profit”.

What follows is a digest of his main points.  Please do not be discouraged by the number of suggestions – no-one can put them all into practice at once.  Concentrate on developing over a period of time the habits and attitudes that will help you to profit from Bible-reading.

  1. Remove those things that will prevent you profiting: (1) remove the love of every sin; (2) take heed of the thorns that will choke the Word read.  These ‘thorns’ are those covetous cares that keep our minds on material matters when they should be concentrating on spiritual things; (3) take heed of joking with or making light of Scripture.
  2. Prepare your hearts before the reading of the Word (1Sam 7.3).  (1) Summon your thoughts to attend to this serious work; (2) cleanse yourself of the unclean affections that take away the desire to read.
  3. Read the Scriptures with reverence; think about every line you read; God is speaking to you.
  4. Read the Bible with a method, perhaps in order.  Order and method are a help to memory.
  5. Get a right understanding of Scripture (Ps 119.73).  Compare texts with each other, talk to others, use other books and helps.
  6. Read the Word with seriousness.  It is the savour of life to those who read it with seriousness, for it deals with everything that is most dear to us.  Consider its subject matter – eternal life and death, heaven and hell, the labour of faith.  Who can read these things and not be serious?  Read, therefore, with a solemn and composed spirit.
  7. Labour to remember what you read.  Satan will try to steal the Word from our minds; we should guard it jealously.  If we cannot remember what we read, it will not be of use to us.
  8. Meditate upon what you read (Ps 119.15).  This means to fix your thoughts upon what you are reading.  Meditation without reading is foolish; reading without meditation is empty.
  9. Come to read with humble hearts, acknowledging your unworthiness to have God reveal Himself to you in His Word.  An arrogant man who feels he has nothing to learn is unlikely to gain any profit.
  10. bible-and-gogs-2Believe that what you read is the very Word of God, that it is all divinely inspired (2Tim 3.16).  All the countless excellencies of Scripture testify that it is of God.  Note the effect that the Bible has upon the hearts of men, now and throughout history.  You will not obey something that you do not believe.
  11. Highly prize the Scriptures (Ps 119.72).  Treasure it above all other books.  It contains the things we must believe and do.  It is the breeder and feeder of grace.  A believer is born and fed by the Word of truth.
  12. Get a fervent love for the Word.  Prizing (point 11) refers to the judgement of a man, but love means also the affections.  We should delight to be in the pages of God’s Word; we must learn to delight in its comforts and in its reproofs and corrections.
  13. Come to read the Word with honest hearts: (1) read with hearts willing to know the whole counsel of God, and not willing to have any truth concealed.  You cannot pick and choose Scriptures; (2) read in order that you might be made better.  The Word is the means of our sanctification.  Go to God’s Word to find the truths that will make you more like Christ.
  14. Learn to apply Scripture; take every word as if spoken to yourselves.  When the Word talks of the punishment of sin, it means my sin; when it tells me of duty, it means my duty.
  15. Observe the commands of the Word, as well as its promises.  Use the commands to direct you, and the promises to comfort you.  Do not look more to comfort than to duty, or you might find your comforts false.
  16. Let your thoughts dwell most upon the most useful parts of Scripture.  Although all parts are excellent, some are more emphatic or vital than others.  Spend more time reading of faith and the new man in Christ, than in the genealogies of dead kings!
  17. Compare yourselves with the Word; see how Scripture and your hearts agree.  Is your heart a mirror of the Word?  Is the Word written upon your heart?  By comparing ourselves with the Word, we get to know the true state of our souls, and see what evidences we have for heaven.
  18. Take special notice of those Scriptures that speak to your particular case.  Pay careful attention to those paragraphs of Scripture that are most appropriate to your particular situation.  Watson identifies three particular situations – affliction, desertion, and sin – and gives a number of appropriate texts to consider.  In reading, read all the Bible, but mark those verses that apply most to your own person.
  19. Take special notice of the examples in Scripture, and make the examples living sermons to yourself.  (1) Observe the examples of God’s judgement upon sinners: they are warnings, lamps to keep us from the rocks; (2) observe the examples of God’s mercy to saints: they are props to our faith and spurs to holiness.
  20. Do not stop reading the Bible until you find your heart warmed.  Read the Word not only as a history, but strive to be affected by it.
  21. Determine to practise whatever you read (Ps 119.66).  Christians should be walking Bibles, living the truths written.  The Word is not only a guide to knowledge, but a guide to obedience.  A blessed reading of God’s Word results in our fleeing from sins and practising the duties commanded.
  22. Make right use of Christ in His prophetic office.  It is one thing to read a promise, another really to know it to be true.  If we would read with profit, we must have Christ as our teacher: when Christ taught, He opened not only men’s eyes, but their understandings (Lk 24.45).
  23. Be at all the appointed services of the church, and spend much time in hearing the Word preached.  Be diligent in attending upon a Biblical, faithful ministry.  Ministers are God’s interpreters; it is their work to open up and expound dark places of Scripture.
  24. Pray that God would make you profit (Is 48.17).  It is when God’s Spirit joins Himself to the Word that it takes effect in our hearts and minds.

In conclusion:

  • Do not be content with simply reading the Scriptures, but labour to find some spiritual benefit and profit.  Get the Word inscribed upon your heart.
  • If you do profit from your reading, be sure to adore the grace of God.  Bless God that He has not only given you His Word, but some ability to understand it.

If you struggle to profit from your reading, then take note of the following encouragements:

  • You can profit from reading the Scriptures even if you do not attain to the level of others.  Do not judge yourself according to the standard of others.  The Lord called it all good ground, whether it brought forth thirty, sixty or a hundred-fold (Mt 13.8); so you may not get as much profit as others, but the profit you do get is still most worthwhile.
  • You can still profit from reading the Word if you are not the most intelligent of people.  Some give up or become discouraged because they are slow to understand.  You may even have weaker judgements but stronger affections.  A weak understanding can keep you from sin, as weak sight can keep a man from falling into deep water.  If you have some vision you cannot be all blind.
  • You can profit from reading the Scriptures although you may not have an excellent memory.  You can have a good heart without having a good memory.  Also, even if you don’t remember all that you read, you can remember the most important part.  The lamp burns even when it is not full of oil; our hearts can burn with love when our memories are not full of Scripture.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Wednesday 19 August 2009 at 15:33

Back on the box

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For those who might be interested, I have been invited back on Revelation TV as a studio guest on another programme.  God willing, the programme will be broadcast live tomorrow (Thu 20 Aug) at 9pm, and therefore goes under the apt title, Live@9 (can you see what they did there?).  The topic is, in essence, Biblical illiteracy among young people.

If you want to watch it will be broadcast on Sky 595 and 585, and I think you can also watch here at Revelation TV.

I am particularly pleased because it gives me another opportunity to give this cartoon of the days before television an airing.


Written by Jeremy Walker

Wednesday 19 August 2009 at 13:13

Posted in Updates

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“Great God, our eyes are slow to see”

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Irish  C.M.

Great God, our eyes are slow to see
The truth your Word contains,
And you alone have power to break
Our understanding’s chains.

Our ears are stopped, our minds are weak,
Our hearts are dull and cold.
How can this be when in your Word
The truth is clear and bold?

So slow our feet to walk your paths;
So slow our hands to learn;
So slow our minds to grasp the truth;
So slow our hearts to burn.

We search the Scriptures and we catch
A fleeting glimpse of Christ.
Remove the scales, arrest our minds,
And grant increasing light.

Have pity, Lord, and help our cause:
How much we long to be
Men of the Word, whose great delight
Is more of Christ to see!



See all hymns and psalms.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 29 May 2009 at 08:42

“A Young Man in Christ” #6: True religion

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From A Good Start by C. H. Spurgeon, Chapter 1 (”A Young Man in Christ”).

Young men, to you I would honestly say that I should be ashamed to speak of a religion that would make you soft, cowardly, effeminate, spiritless, so that you would be mere naturals in business, having no souls of your own, the prey of every designing knave.  Young men, I have tried the faith of Jesus Christ, and I have found it to give me “pluck” – that is an old Saxon word, but it is exactly what I mean.  It puts soul into a man, courage, firmness, resolution, courage.  If he is in the habit of talking with his own conscience, and his Bible, and his God, he can look the whole universe in the face – ay, and a universe of devils, too – and never feel the slightest fear.  Why should he?  Is not the Eternal on the Christian’s man side?  Is not the risen and reigning Christ on his side?  Is not the blessed Spirit his friend?  Yes, the angels of God, and providence, and time, and eternity, and all the forces that exist, are his allies, save only those of death and hell, and these his Lord has conquered and trampled under foot.  I would that every young man were enlisted in the army of Christ right early, for none make such good soldiers as those who begin while yet they are young.


Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 20 February 2009 at 09:00


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A shocking case of dynamic translato-duplicity nicely exposed here by Chris Rosebrough.  Read it (and the subsequent promised posts) before buying The Voice, an ‘authentic’ new translation of the Scriptures from leading voices in the emergent church .

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 22 November 2008 at 13:06

“A Foundation for Life: A Study of Key Christian Doctrines and their Application”

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A Foundation for Life: A Study of Key Christian Doctrines and their Application edited by Michael A. G. Haykin

Joshua Press, 140pp, pbk, $16.99 (Canadian).

This little volume is aimed at new believers with the desire of instructing them in basic truth, and then encouraging them to study Scripture for themselves.  In order to accomplish this, sixteen authors present eighteen brief treatments of several foundational Christian truths.

The format of the book is helpful (key Scripture references are given in full in the side margins, for example) and the layout is clear.  Each treatment is a positive assertion of truth, and all are admirably short and clear.  Brevity has not betrayed the contributors into shallowness or triteness, although at a couple of points the attempt to present profound truth in brief compass runs this risk.  The general standard of these treatments is high, although some in particular stand out as dealing comprehensively yet incisively with particular matters of Christian doctrine.

A Foundation for Life is not setting out to provide all the answers to every question, and neither is it afraid to leave the reader with work to do.  These brief essays demand intelligent reading and active engagement, and prompt further inquiry and study.

Not every reader – especially, perhaps, if he or she is looking for something to give to others, or for use within the church – will agree with the balance, emphasis, or even the detail of every contribution.  Some will wish that more had been said more fully and distinctively at certain points; others, perhaps, will wish that the contributors had left certain things unsaid.  There is, of course, much that (of necessity) has to remain unsaid in a book with this scope and aim: many truths of historic, Biblical Christianity are not treated directly here, but rather assumed, and some might have desired that certain of these would have received more explicit coverage – the sovereignty of God, the nature of saving faith, or the fall of man and sin, for example.  Different individuals will doubtless have different opinions at this point, but those seeking to use this book for pastoral or teaching purposes should be able to supplement this volume with other appropriate material, and flesh out, explain or clarify particular or specific issues along the way.

Importantly, this book not only engages the mind, but also penetrates to and warms the heart, and works upon the will.  It is a stimulus to faith, and most of the essays give the reader something to do as a result of its reading.  The contributors’ own faith is clearly in evidence, and they point consistently and repeatedly to Christ.  Their evident and explicit dependence on Scripture is welcome, regardless of minor differences of opinion.  That in itself will be a valuable lesson to the young Christian.

Wisely employed, this book could be a useful resource for churches, a handy tool for pastors, and a great help not only to new believers, but also to all who wish to advance in their understanding of some of the basic truths of Scripture.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 22 August 2008 at 21:52

Posted in Reviews

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Searching the Scriptures

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Andrew Fuller wrote the following on divine truth and human instruction:

Many religious people appear to be contented with seeing truth in the light in which some great and good man has placed it; but if ever we enter into the gospel to purpose, it must be by reading the word of God for ourselves, and by praying and meditating upon its sacred contents. It is “in God’s light that we must see light” [cf. Psalm 36:9]… The writings of great and good men are not to be despised, any more than their preaching: only let them not be treated as oracular. The best of men, in this imperfect state, view things partially, and therefore are in danger of laying an improper stress upon some parts of Scripture, to the neglect of other parts of equal, and sometimes of superior importance…. If we adopt the principles of fallible men, without searching the Scriptures for ourselves, and inquiring whether or not these things be so, they will not, even allowing them to be on the side of truth, avail us, as if we had learned them from a higher authority. Our faith, in this case, will stand in the wisdom of man, and not in the power of God…. Truth learned only at second-hand will be to us what Saul’s armour was to David; we shall be at a loss how to use it in the day of trial.[1]

[1] Nature and Importance of an Intimate Knowledge of Divine Truth in The Complete Works of the Rev. Andrew Fuller, revised Joseph Belcher (1845 ed.; repr. Harrisonburg, Virginia: Sprinkle Publications, 1988), 1:164.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 14 August 2008 at 12:52

Posted in Miscellany

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“O, Holy Spirit, come!”

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Augustine S.M.

O, Holy Spirit, come!
We need your gracious light
To open up our blinded eyes,
And drive forth shades of night.

We search the precious Word,
But stumble as we go.
Come, set our feet upon the Rock
That we the way might know.

Our understanding help;
Our meditation bless;
We, by ourselves, cannot advance –
Our weakness we confess.

Reveal the truth of God,
And give us hearts to love
The promise and direction that
Have come from heaven above.

So grant increasing light,
And open up the Word.
Give ears to hear and eyes to see
The glories of the Lord.



See all hymns and psalms.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Wednesday 13 August 2008 at 11:15

Driscoll and Grudem

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Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 8 August 2008 at 08:07

Questions for reading

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Martin Downes gleans some questions from Richard Baxter to ask oneself while reading:

1. Could I spend this time no better?

2. Are there better books/blogs that would edify me more?

3. Are the lovers of such a book/blog as this the greatest lovers of the Book of God and of a holy life?

4. Does this book/blog increase my love to the Word of God, kill my sin, and prepare me for the life to come?

[From the Banner of Truth Magazine, July 1958]

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 18 July 2008 at 10:18

Causes of declension in religion and means of revival #3 Making the religion of others rather than the Word of God our standard

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I previously posted section 1 and section 2 of Andrew Fuller’s circular letter identifying reasons for spiritual dullness and coolness, and suggesting some remedies.  This third section considers something of the power – for good or ill – of example, and the dangers of taking the example of others as our standard for godliness, rather than measuring ourselves by God’s golden ruler.

Another cause of declension, we apprehend, is making the religion of others our standard, instead of the Word of God.  The Word of God is the only safe rule we have to go by, either in judging what is real religion, or what exertion and services for God are incumbent upon us.  As it is unsafe to conclude ourselves real Christians because we may have such feelings as we have heard spoken of by some whom we account good men, so it is unjust to conclude that we have religion enough because we may suppose ourselves to be equal to the generality of those that now bear that character.  What if they be good men?  They are not our standard.  And what if their conversation in general be such as gives them a reputation in the religious world?  Christ did not say “Learn of them,” but, “Learn of me.”  Or if in a measure we are allowed to follow them “who through faith and patience inherit the promises,” still it is with this restriction, as far as they are followers of Christ.

Alas, how much is the professing part of mankind governed by evil example!  If the question turns upon religious diligence, as “How often shall I attend at the house of God – once or twice on the Lord’s day?” or “How frequently shall I give my company at church meetings, opportunities for prayer, and such like?” is not the answer commonly governed by what others do in these cases, rather than by what is right in itself?  So, if it turns on liberality, the question is not, “What am I able to spare in this case, consistent with all other obligations?” but, “What does Mr. Such a one give?  I shall do the same as he does.”  Something of this kind may not be wrong, as a degree of proportion among friends is desirable; but if carried to too great lengths, we must beware lest our attention to precedent should so far exclude principle in the affair as to render even what we do unacceptable in the sight of God.  So if the question turns on any particular piece of conduct, whether it be defensible or not, instead of searching the Bible, and praying to be led in the narrow way of truth and righteousness, how common is it to hear such language as this: “Such and such good men do so; surely, therefore, there can be no great harm in it!”  In short, great numbers appear to be quite satisfied if they are about as strict and as holy as other people with whom they are concerned.

Many ill effects appear evidently to arise from this quarter.  Hence it is that, for the want of bringing our religion and religious life to the test of God’s holy Word, we are in general so wretchedly deficient in a sense of our vast and constant defects, have no spirit to press forward, but go on and on, without repentance for them, or so much as a thought of doing otherwise.  Hence also there is so much vanity and spiritual pride among us.  While we content ourselves with barely keeping pace with one another, we may all become wretched idlers, and loose walkers; and yet, as one is about as good as another, each may think highly of himself; whereas, bring him and his companions with him to the glass of God’s holy Word, and if they have any sensibility left, they must see their odious picture, abhor themselves, and feel their former conduct as but too much resembling that of a company of evil conspirators who keep each other in countenance.

Finally, to this it may be ascribed in part that so many are constantly waxing worse and worse, more and more loose and careless in their spirit and conduct.  For those who are contented not to do better than other people, generally allow themselves to do a little worse.  An imitator is scarcely ever known to equal an original in the good, but generally exceeds him in the bad; not only in imitating his feelings, but adding others to their number.  If we would resemble any great and good man, we must do as he does, and that is, keep our eye upon the mark, and follow Christ as our model.  It is by this means that he has attained to be what he is.  Here we shall be in no danger of learning anything amiss; and truly we have failings now of our own, in not conforming to the model, without deriving any more from the imperfections of the model itself.

(work through the whole letter: section 1, section 2, section 3, section 4, section 5)

Written by Jeremy Walker

Wednesday 25 June 2008 at 09:47

Posted in General

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