Richard Greenham – Reading and Understanding the Scriptures

Introduction

Those things that God has joined together no man may sever asunder. Therefore, preaching and reading of the Holy Scriptures, being of God joined together in the work of our salvation, may not be severed asunder. In all sciences, arts, and trades, teachers and masters are ordinarily required for the sound learning and profiting of them. We must be persuaded much more that it is necessary to have guides to go before us in the way to salvation.

That preaching is the most principal means to create and beget faith and repentance in God’s people must be granted (Deu 18:18; 33:10; Lev 10:11; Mal 2:6-7; 2Ch 36:15; Isa 50:4-5, 7-8; 53:1; 55:10-11; 57:19; 58:1; 61:1, 62:6-7; Mat 13:3; 28:19-20; Eph 4:11-14; Rom 10:14-15; 1Co 1:21; 1Pe 1:23-25). And where this ordinary means of salvation fails, the people for the most part perish (Pro 29:18; Hos 4:6; 2Ch 15:13; Isa 56:9-10; Mat 15:14; Luk 11:52). But it is likewise proved that the reading of the Scriptures publicly in the church of God and privately by ourselves is a special and ordinary means, if not to beget, yet to increase faith in us (Deu 6:6; 11:18; Neh 8:8-9; Psa 1:2; Joh 5:39; Acts 13:15; 15:21; Rom 15:14; 2Pe 1:19). The manifold fruit that comes of the reading of the Scriptures prove the same.

Reading rather establishes than derogates from preaching; for none can be profitable hearers of preaching that have not been trained up in reading the Scriptures or hearing them read. Many inconveniences come from the neglect of reading, as that the people cannot tell when a sentence is alleged out of the canonical Scriptures, when out of the Apocrypha; when out of the Scriptures, when out of other writers; or that they cannot discern when he speaks his own or a sentence of the Scripture.

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