January 21, 2009

A Year With The Institutes - 1.8.1-4

Continuing with my reading of the Institutes, this section from today's reading focused for me the beauty of the Bible:
Now this power which is peculiar to Scripture is clear from the fact that of human writings, however artfully polished, there is none capable of affecting us at all comparably. Read Demosthenes or Cicero; read Plato, Aristotle, and others of that tribe. They will, I admit, allure you, delight you, move you, enrapture you in wonderful measure. But betake yourself from them to this sacred reading. Then, in spite of yourself, so deeply will it affect you, so penetrate your heart, so fix itself in your very marrow, that, compared with its deep impression, such vigor as the orators and philosophers have will nearly vanish. Consequently, it is easy to see that the Sacred Scriptures, which so far surpass all gifts and graces of human endeavor, breathe something divine.

The Institutes of The Christian Religion Book One, Chapter 8.1

I have read through the Bible several times, and I never tire of it. Never will. I cannot say that for any other book I have read, no matter how much I enjoy them. Take The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. I have read it, since college, maybe 5 or 6 times, usually with a several year period between readings. I could not finish it, then start it all over reading it again right away. And I love LOTR.

Put the Bible away for several years and not read it? Are you kidding? As soon as I finish it, I am looking at how I want to read through it again. Only the divine word of God could move me so. No other book could make me eager to come to school, attend a lecture, waiting to mine the next nugget out of an infinite store of wisdom.

If you are not reading the Bible everyday, start. If you have not read entirely through it, either cover to cover or with a plan that hops around but schedules out the entire book, do it. Just Google "Bible reading plans" and see what you get to work from.

You may not agree with Calvin on everything, you may not agree with him on anything. But at the very least, you will have to admit that he got this one right.

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