Dwight Moody (1837-1899) was an evangelist, publisher, educator, writer, church founder, and a number of other things. He founded the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Moody Press, and the Northfield and Mount Hermon schools in Massachusetts. He became an evangelist when he visited Britain in 1872, and his meetings were often attended by thousands of people. One notable event at the Royal Botanic Gardens drew a crowd of between 15,000 and 30,000 people.
Moody wrote about prayer, the 10 commandments and other Bible topics. His sermons were collected and published. And he wrote a book entitled How to Study the Bible, recently updated and republished by Aneko Press.
It says some for the man’s simple and basic approach to Bible study that what he recommends is as current today as it was more than a century ago.
He begins the book with several chapters that essentially answer the question “Why?” – why study the Bible at all? His answers are straightforward: there is no true life without the Bible; the word of Word – all of it – is true; the Old Testament is important and shouldn’t be neglected in favor of only the New Testament; God’s word is accurate and endures.
Moody suggests a wide array of ways to study the Bible, starting with the “scopes” approach – the telescope approach for understanding big themes and the big picture and the microscope approach for studying words, characters, places, and events. He discusses ways to remember what’s read and studied; studying types, characters, and names; and doing individual word studies. And he also recommends never buying a Bible you’re not willing to mark up and make notes in, and even had suggestions for underlining and marking.
And then he explains how all of this study is useless unless it’s applied and used to further God’s kingdom. He completes his book with a summary of suggestions, 15 short statements that cover the book’s theme and reach. (He even includes his recommendations for how many services a church should conduct each Sunday – two on Sunday morning (one for worship and one for teaching) and one on Sunday night for preaching the gospel.
“The more you love the Scriptures,” Moody writes, “the stronger your faith will be. There is little backsliding when people love the Scriptures.”
How to Study the Bible is a book chock full of good advice and helpful suggestions.
Related: Christianity Today’s article on Moody.
Top photograph by Ben White via Unsplash. Used with permission.