That They May Hear Ministries
preaching the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ from our front door to the ends of the earth
Withfield himself said this:
I began to fast twice a week for thirty-six hours together, prayed many times a
day and received the sacrament every Lord’s Day. I fasted myself almost to
death all the forty days of Lent, during which I made it a point of duty never
to go less than three times a day to public worship, besides seven times a day
to my private prayers. Yet I knew no more that I was to be born a new creature
in Christ Jesus than if I had never been born at all.
It wasn’t until Whitefield received The Life of God in the Soul of Man by Henry Scougal that he would be set free from the religious works of the flesh and finally see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). He was shocked by what he read about salvation.
God showed me that I must be born again, or be damned! I learned that a man may go to church, say his
prayers, receive the sacrament, and yet not be a Christian. How did my heart rise and shudder, like a
poor man that is afraid to look into his account-books, lest he should find himself bankrupt.
“Shall I burn this book? Shall I throw it down? Or shall I search it?” I did search it; and, holding the book in
my hand, thus addressed the God of heaven and earth: “Lord, if I am not a Christian, or if I am not a
real one, for Jesus Christ’s sake, show me what Christianity is that I may not be damned at last!”
God soon showed me, for in reading a few lines further, that, “true religion is a union of the soul with God,
and Christ formed within us,” a ray of Divine light was instantaneously darted in upon my soul, and from
that moment, but not till then, did I know that I must become a new creature.
God soon showed Whitefield, through this Christian book, what true Christianity is. After striving to earn salvation through a rigorous self-righteousness system, he had finally come to the end of himself where God was pleased, by His abundant mercy, to cause George Whitefield to be born again.
Reading books on theology, Christian living, church history, or biographies (my favorite) should, of course, be secondary to reading the Bible. However, we can profit from them, as Whitefield did. Christian books are a major part of our lives and can benefit us in various ways.
1. By challenging us to test our interpretations of certain passages in the Bible that can be clouded by
traditions and denominational pressures. Then we can better understand the authors’ original intent,
“rightly dividing the word of truth” (2Timothy 2:15). Who knows, some may find, as Whitefield did, that
one “must become a new creature.”
2. By exhorting us to "contend earnestly for the faith" (Jude 3). In an age of apathy, tolerance, bad
theology, and pragmatic practices, we are urged to defend truth and sound doctrine. Reading books
on church history, for example, can have a compelling effect.
3. By encouraging us through the authors’ heart-felt testimonies as they face sickness, disease, and death.
Their stories remind us of God’s faithfulness to finally bring us home to glory and His eternal promises
that there will be no more tears, death, sorrow, crying, or pain “for the former things have passed
away” (Revelation 21:4).
4. By reminding us “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37) as we face
tribulations, distresses, and persecutions for His name.
5. By removing our blind spots, especially in our views about evangelism and missions. Reading about
Christians who have sacrificed, suffered, and died for the gospel reminds us of the cost of following
Christ (Luke 9:23-26; 14:25-33), the joy of spreading the good news locally and abroad (Matthew 28:18-20;
Romans 10:14-17), and the dangers and temptations of an easy-going comfortable life void of risks and
dangers (Mark 8:35; John 12:25).
6. By strengthening our love “for the Word and the God of the Bible.”
If you are looking for a book to read, please check a short list of books I’ve provided here. These have been instrumental in my life. And don’t forget, as a component of this ministry, we enjoy providing Bibles and books free of charge for your spiritual growth.
“Well, It Is Just So”
In our fast-paced twenty-first century, sitting down to read and meditate on the Bible or other Christ-centered literature is challenging to say the least. Nevertheless, those who love Jesus find time to give themselves to reading about Him. And why is this?
"Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!"
Give Yourself to Reading
by Chuck Hayes
“Out of love for the Word of God often flows a love for literature that strengthens our love for the Word and the God of the Bible.”
I’ve heard this statement and I agree. Christians love to read. First, the Bible. And second, Christ-centered books. Books that drive us back to the Scriptures, deepening our love and understanding of God.
Reading the Scriptures: A Supernatural Desire
Before God saved me, the only “literature” I read was the sports page. Afterward, I remember sitting at my desk where I worked and longing to read the only Bible I had-The Good News Bible lying on the counter behind me. (I still remember those stick figures.) Why? God had done a supernatural work in my life changing even my desire to read. Truly, this was what Peter meant when he wrote, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1Peter 2:2-3). Indeed, I had tasted the Lord’s grace!
Now when I’m preaching, teaching, and evangelizing others, I ask them if they spend time reading the Scriptures (giving evidence of salvation). Inevitably, I hear the same kinds of answers: “Well, not as much as I should!” or “I don’t like to read!” On the one hand, few people read as much as they should. We work and deal with daily responsibilities that consume our time. However, if we have been born again (John 3:3, 7; 1Peter 1:23), like newborn babies we delight in and long for the Word of God. J.C. Ryle in his book Holiness offers some helpful commentary.
If we love a person, we like to read about him. What intense pleasure a letter from an absent husband gives to
a wife, or a letter from an absent son to his mother. Others may see little worth notice in the letter. They can
scarcely take the trouble to read it through. But those who love the writer see something in the letter which
no one else can. They carry it about with them as a treasure. They read it again and again. Well, it is just so
between the true Christian and Christ! The true Christian delights to read the Scriptures, because they tell him
about his beloved Savior. It is no wearisome task with him to read them. He rarely needs reminding to take his
Bible with him when he goes on a journey. He cannot be happy without it. And why is all this? It is because the
Scriptures testify of Him whom his soul loves, even Christ.
Do you delight in reading the Scriptures-or is it a wearisome task? Do you see Jesus, whom your soul loves, in the Scriptures-or are you like those who cannot take the time or trouble to read it through? If the first, then you have experienced a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit awakening you to the beauty and glory of Jesus Christ-and you yearn to read about Him again and again. If the latter, then let me lovingly plead with you to examine your relationship with Jesus Christ (2Corinthians 13:5) because “the true Christian delights to read the Scriptures.”
The Benefit of Reading Christian Books
Before the unparalleled revival of the eighteenth century, George Whitefield, John and Charles Wesley, and others were members of The Holy Club, a rigid Pharisee-like group that sought spiritual awakening through strict self-discipline. Arnold Dallimore, in his biography George Whitefield, sheds more light on their practices.
Its members practiced early rising and lengthy devotions, and strove for a self-discipline which left no moment
wasted throughout the day. At nightfall they wrote a diary which enabled them to scrutinize their actions and
condemn themselves for any fault. They partook of the Eucharist every Sunday, fasted each Wednesday and
Friday, and hallowed Saturday as the Sabbath of Preparation for the Lord’s Day... This programme of endeavour,
aided by these works of charity, they believed, somehow ministered towards the salvation of their souls.