7 Reasons to Study the Bible with the Covenanters

Posted at Reformation Scotland:

The Second Reformation made a unique contribution to bible study. It produced many simple and practical commentaries on the Bible for everyone. They were brief, plain, practical and above all affordable. They get to the heart of what the Bible means but also to the heart of the reader in a richly devotional way.

David Dickson encouraged other ministers to produce this unique series. These expositions are of great value. They were highly commended by C H Spurgeon in his classic survey, Commenting and Commentaries. Some of them explain difficult books like Job, Ecclesiastes and Revelation. Men such as Alexander Nisbet, James Fergusson and George Hutcheson worked hard in this area over many years. They contributed commentaries that together covered large areas of Scripture. In total 44 of the 66 books of the Bible. Four of these commentaries were never published.

Dickson followed the example of Robert Rollock who expounded the Scriptures from the pulpit and to university students. As a result, he was able to publish nine commentaries during his lifetime. Dickson’s commentaries were likewise drawn from his expositions in the pulpit or for university students. He published commentaries on 23 books of the Bible. This was partly due to the inability of others due to pressures of work, age or infirmity. He hoped to stir up others whom he regarded as “more able” to engage in the same work.

1. They are Practical

The series and each commentary had a highly practical intent. The purpose was “to lay open briefly…the chief doctrines treasured up in the storehouse of holy Scripture”. By this means “the Lord’s people may be solidly informed in the knowledge, and established in the faith of true religion”. It was vital that they could see how truth came directly from “the fountain of the Lord’s own Word”. This would help to combat error which abounds through ignorance of God’s word. It arose naturally from their covenanted reformation.

More than this Dickson desired that “the precious jewel of the Scripture” would be better esteemed. After Christ Himself, it is “the greatest gift…that ever the world saw”. He hoped to be used in stirring up others to “the love of searching the Scriptures”. They also helped to model good Bible study.

The commentaries are full of practical and devotional application. Every verse is applied to the reader. Their plain and brief comments have the benefit of being suggestive. The writer stimulates the reader to further thought and meditation. As Dickson put it: “the smallest grains of sound truth sown by this means among readers, may by God’s blessing get root, watering, and increase in a good and honest heart”.

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