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How to Study the Bible for the Greatest Profit

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It seems like an easy question to answer: “How should one go about studying the Bible?” Torrey offers a trove of insightful and practical advice for studying God’s word in easy and unadorned language. As he writes in the Introduction: “Nothing is more important for our own mental, moral, and spiritual development, or for our increase in usefulness, than Bible study.”

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“III.—The third work is to prepare an introduction to the book. Write down at the top of separate sheets of paper or cards the following questions: (1) Who wrote this book? (2) To whom did he write? (3) Where did he write it? (4) When did he write it? (5) What was the occasion of his writing? (6) What was the purpose for which he wrote? (7) What were the circumstances of the author when he wrote? (8) What were the circumstances of those to whom he wrote? (9) What glimpses does the book give into the life and character of the author? (10) What are the leading ideas of the book? (11) What is the central truth of the book? (12) What are the characteristics of the book?” (Pages 17–18)

“I.—The first work to do, is to select the book to study.” (Page 14)

“IV.—The fourth work is to divide the book into its proper sections.” (Page 20)

“a. The first step is to get the exact meaning of the words used.” (Page 22)

“It consists in merely reading the book through without stopping and then reading it through again, and then again, say a dozen times in all, at a single sitting.” (Page 16)

  • Title: How to Study the Bible for the Greatest Profit
  • Author: R. A. Torrey
  • Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company
  • Publication Date: 1896
  • Pages: 121
R. A. Torrey

Reuben Archer Torrey (1856–1928) was an American evangelist, pastor, educator, and writer. Torrey studied at Yale University, Yale Divinity School, Leipzig University, Erlangen University and received a doctorate degree from Wheaton College.

Soon after becoming a congregational minister, Torrey joined Dwight L. Moody in his evangelistic work in Chicago. Torrey became the superintendent of the Bible Institute of the Chicago Evangelization Society (now Moody Bible Institute).

He later became pastor of the Chicago Avenue Church (now the Moody Church). Torrey later served as a chaplain with the YMCA and dean of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (now Biola University).

Torrey authored over 40 books in his lifetime. The classic four-volume set The Fundamentals includes over 90 articles by leading Christian scholars. The R. A. Torrey Collection features 15 titles of biblical doctrine and teaching from Torrey.


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