Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Usefulness of Commentaries

I'm starting to read through Spurgeon's The Treasury of David, which is a commentary on the psalms. I had enjoyed reading about psalm 91, so I figured I might as well read the rest of the two-book set, or at least some of it. The timing was right, as I was about to start reading through the psalms as I make my way through the Bible.

Psalm 1
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Here's a quote I liked from the book, about Psalm 1 verse 3 (italicized above):
'We often, like Jehoshaphat, make ships to go to Tarshish for gold, but they are broken at Ezion-geber; but even here there is a true prospering, for it is often for the soul's health that we should be poor, bereaved, and persecuted. Our worst things are often our best things.'

Lovely, is it not? How often we forget this, or at least if we know it in our heads can't quite seem to accept it and trust it in our hearts. We are indeed blessed if we know the Lord, even in the hardest situations! May I remember this in my hardest hours.


I'm the kind of girl who has always devoured fiction. Christian novels, mostly--historical, romance, mystery, suspense. And I still enjoy them. But I am more and more seeing the loveliness and usefulness of commentaries and nonfiction Christian books. I thought as I was reading in Spurgeon's book, This is more helpful to me than a hundred Grace Livingston Hill novels. Much more. Spurgeon even assembled quotes from other writers on the psalms, which add to the depth. I know I will still struggle with my "easy-reading" and "like-to-be-entertained" mindset, but I am grateful for even these small steps--small seeds that I believe God has planted in my heart.

Of course, the best Book of all is the Bible, yet these books help me to understand the Bible. Should I then neglect reading the Bible? Of course not. I know I should spend more time in the Word, as well, and it is my prayer that it will become more my "meditation day and night."

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