The first week of April 2014, my darling husband Jim shared something on Facebook that really peaked my interest. He posted the Bible study, Scripture memory and reading methods of A.W. Pink. After reading it, I was a bit hesitant, but printed it out and desired to do the same.
"In my early years I assiduously followed this threefold course:
"First, I read through the entire Bible three times a year (eight chapters in the Old Testament, and two in the New Testament daily.) I steadily persevered in this for ten years, in order to familiarize myself with its contents, which can only be done by consecutive reading.
"Second, I studied a portion of the Bible each week, concentrating for ten minutes (or more) each day on the same passage, pondering the order of it, the connection between each statement, seeking a definition of the important terms in it, looking up all the marginal references, being on the look-out for its typical significance.
"Third, I meditated on one verse each day; writing it out on a slip of paper in the morning, memorizing it, consulting it at odd moments through the day; pondering separately each word in it, asking God to open for me its spiritual meaning and to write it on my heart. The verse was my food for that day, meditation standing to reading as mastication does to eating.
"The more some such method as the above be followed out, the more shall we be able to say, ‘thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path’ [Ps 119:105].”
~Arthur Pink, Letters of A.W. Pink
I was hesitant because I'm a slow reader and wasn't sure I could actually complete step one daily. I already do steps two and three, so that was no problem. But step one loomed over me. So I decided to test the waters and timed myself during my first initial readings before I committed myself to this seemingly arduous task.
To my surprise, I discovered it only took me anywhere from 30-45 minutes to read 10 chapters of Scripture per day. I was ashamed because as I considered the short time span, instantly my mind went to all the old movies I like to watch (approximately two hours long), the collective time I spend on social media throughout the day, the "breaks" I take and well, other "projects" I take on (that I don't need to) and...you get the picture. I have more than enough time in every day to spend in my Lord's Word.
Well, almost exactly a month later, I must admit, I've not been as diligent as I had hoped. However, I continue to press on, praying and asking God to help me better manage my time and especially my rebellious attitude toward daily Bible reading. I know it may sound a bit strange to hear a women's Bible teacher say she struggles to read the Bible daily, but I do.
"Blessed is the man [person] who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law [instruction] of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night."
~Psalm 1:1-2 (ESV)
As much as I love the Word of God, I have at times, given into my sinful flesh and do not feed off of God's Word as I ought. I know I should, and I always love it when I do (because who doesn't feel better after a good meal...especially from the Lord's table)? But I find myself with the same battle the Apostle Paul writes of in Romans 7:18-24. And like the Apostle, though wrangling with this flesh, I rejoice saying, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" who alone has freed me and given me victory over the desires of this wretched flesh.
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
~Hebrews 4:15-16 (ESV)
So in my time of need, as I am tempted to do something else besides feed from my Lord Jesus, the Word of God, I thank God for His Holy Spirit who reminds me that I can confidently pray, knowing I will receive help and be able stand up from under this temptation (1 Cor 10:13).
With this hope, I press on without guilt of missed chapters or a missed day, but also without glibly thanking God for help, then misapply His grace as an excuse to continue sinning. Instead, the more grace God gives, the more I desire to be obedient to His Word and gather my daily Manna; He so lovingly provided me from Heaven. After all, what other response is there for such glorious grace? That is, if we truly understand God's grace.
God's mercies are new every morning (Lam 3:22-23). And I don't want to miss it because I wasn't disciplined enough the night before to go to bed when I should have; so I could wake up when I needed to; in order to give God the first fruits of my day like He gave me His First Fruit—His One and Only begotten Son.
If any of you are feeling like a marginal Christian like I often do, please read the short biography of A.W. Pink that I've included below. After reading about this giant of a Christian and where he struggled to be obedient to the Lord, I felt like there just might be some hope for me after all. I pray it'll be a source of encouragement for you as well.
Arthur Walkington Pink was born in 1886 in Nottingham, England. Though A.W. Pink was raised in a Christian home, he participated in a pre-New Age religious group of theosophicals until his early 20s. Nonetheless, his father faithfully taught him the Scriptures, and at age 22, A.W. Pink repented of his idolatry and put his full trust in Jesus Christ alone.
Desiring to better understand the Bible, he left England and came to the United States in the early 1900s to attend Moody Bible Institute. He left the institute six weeks later. Pink eventually pastored churches in four different states and also served in Australia for two to three years. In 1934 he returned to England after making the decision to serve the Lord through a writing ministry rather than a pastorate.
A.W. Pink was a deeply intellectual recluse, and could never find a church in which he felt he could both pastor and fellowship. Besides his dear wife Vera (whom he married in 1916), Pink didn't associate well with others. Though an outstanding theologian and exhorter of the Christian faith, he, like the rest of us, had sin issues, and lack of faithful fellowship with other Christians was one of them.
Pink and his wife moved to Scotland in 1940 where he continued his reclusive life and writing ministry until his death in 1952. And like his life, his death was quiet, with only a few aware of his Home going.
"Day by day, dear Lord, of Thee three things I pray: to see Thee more clearly, to love Thee more dearly, to follow Thee more nearly." (Richard of Chichester, 1197-1253)