A Pastor For All Times

Charles Spurgeon was a nineteenth-century English Baptist Preacher who obtained the nickname Prince of Preachers due to his many powerful sermons, devotions, poetic writings, books, hymns and much more. He was the founder of an orphanage for boys and Spurgeon’s Bible College although he had never attended any type of formal theological school.[1]Nevertheless, he had a profound impact on Christian leaders of his day and even in modern times, seasoned pastors and those in training can learn valuable information from his teachings. Charles Spurgeon gave insightful counsel to those he taught about reading the Bible and the importance it was to their ministries as well as their personal life. Here are some of the things that he said.

1.) A pastor must read the Bible a lot if they are to be successful in teaching, preaching and witnessing to others.[2] Some people had the idea that if a pastor read the Bible too much that their sermons would be old and dead. Charles Spurgeon, however, told his students and listening audience that the more the pastor read the Bible, the fresher the word that he would have for his congregation.[3] Joshua told Israel to meditate on the Word day and night so they will have success and so should any pastor who leads God’s flock in order to have a successful harvest of souls. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8).[4]

2.) One can only reveal the truth of God if he has read it for himself.[5] If someone fails to study the truth for himself then that person has neglected having the Holy Spirit to direct him in truth.[6] “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” (Ephesians 1:7).[7]

3.) A leader must read the Bible to train up spiritually intelligent Christians.[8] By teaching solid doctrine through the reading of the Holy Scriptures can a pastor expound and comment in order to promote righteous conviction rather than appealing only to emotions.[9] “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 6:16-17).[10]

4.) If the minister does not read the Bible often enough, he will have no power, and neither will those he teach and lead.[11] “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).[12] Many pastors quit the ministry in defeat because they have failed to used their sword to fight the enemy and have lacked in understanding as to what their sword can actually do.

5.) Reading God’s word can compensate where a person is deficient in education.[13] Spurgeon felt that even though someone may not have a liberal education, if they practiced reading the word of God that understanding would come and the Holy Spirit would help them in their shortcomings in teaching so that they would be fit for service.[14] “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15).[15]

6.) Read the Word by relying on the Holy Spirit and not through private interpretation or in arrogance of accomplishing something.[16] The Holy Spirit gives wisdom into the matters of God. Therefore, once cannot expect to fully understand God’s word on their own and through natural eyes, but to have the Spirit being the One to give insight that would not ordinarily be obtained. ““To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast? For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:9-10).[17]

Charles Spurgeon had a lot to say about reading the Bible and understanding what was read in order to be well-informed to teach others. However, one of his main goals was to teach his students that without studying and understanding the Word of God, their ministries would not be successful, and many souls would not have what they need from them as leaders in order to make transformation in their individual lives. This is why it is so important to still use tips such as Charles Spurgeon had given in the 19th century because they are still useful and relevant in today’s time. We are living in the last days and it is vital that pastors have a intimate knowledge of the Word of God to help the body of Christ to grow and become harvesters for the great harvest is coming. “Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37-38).[18]

[1] W. Y Fullerton, Thomas Spurgeon: A Biography (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1919), 137-143.

[2] Charles H. Spurgeon, "How To Read The Bible" (lecture, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, September 5, 1912).

[3] Ibid.

[4] Josh. 1:8 (English Standard Version).

[5] Spurgeon, "Read the Bible.”

[6] Ibid.

[7] Eph. 1:7 (New International Version).

[8] Spurgeon, "Read the Bible.”

[9] Ibid.

[10] 2 Tim. 3:16-17 (English Standard Version).

[11] Spurgeon, "Read the Bible.”

[12] Eph. 6:17 (New International Version).

[13] Spurgeon, "Read the Bible.”

[14] Ibid.

[15] 2 Tim. 3:14-15 (English Standard Version).

[16] Spurgeon, "Read the Bible.”

[17] Isa. 28:9-10 (English Standard Version).

[18] Matt. 9:37-38 (New International Version).

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