For the first half of my ministry I did not know my English Bible as I should.
    The effect was seen both in my spiritual life and in the character of my preaching.
    My heart was greatly burdened in prayer about this for more than a year, when God answered me through a layman I met at a Christian convention. I so much coveted his peace and joy in Christ, I asked him how he had obtained the blessing.
    He told me it came to him by reading the Epistle to the Ephesians.
    I asked him how he had read it.
    “I was going to spend the Sabbath with my family in the country,” he said, “and I carried with me a pocket copy of the epistle. In the afternoon I lay down under a tree and read it through at a single reading. My interest being awakened, I read it through again in the same way, and again, and again, as many as 12 or 15 times. When I arose, I was not only in possession of Ephesians, but Ephesians was in possession of me.”
    At once I began to apply this simple principle to the whole Bible, beginning at Genesis. I did not read merely the Bible in course, but kept at each book until it was mastered before I began work in the next.
    I cannot tell the effect upon me: strengthening my faith in the infallibility of the Bible, enlarging my mental vision, deepening my spiritual life, and lightening the burdens of my ministry.
    At this time, some young theological students under my care began experimenting in this method of Bible study with similar blessed results. Then I was led of God to introduce it in several Bible institutes and training schools. Finally the popular evening Bible classes came into being, numbering in several cases as many as a thousand members each. The method has become known as the “synthetic study” of the Bible, which means the study of the Bible as a whole, and each book of the Bible as a whole, and as seen in its relation to the other books.
    Begin to study the Bible where God began to write it, at Genesis. The rules of procedure are as follows:
    1. Read the book.
    2. Read it continuously, that is, without observing its divisions into chapters and verses.
    3. Read it repeatedly, until you have the consciousness of its possession in outline.
    4. Read it independently, that is, without the aid at first of any commentary or other Bible help.
    5. Read it prayerfully, in reliance upon the Holy Spirit who inspired it to enlighten it to your understanding.
    The observance of these simple rules has never failed to produce the desired blessing.

James M. Gray (1851-1935)

This page Copyright © 2000 Peter Wade. The Bible text in this publication, except where otherwise indicated, is from the King James Version. This article appears on the site:

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