Posted by: Billy Marsh | July 30, 2009

Quotes On Christ and Scripture (IV)

Holiness ~ J. C. RyleBoth for the purpose of my research and out of personal interest, I try to take note of the places in my readings that speak towards the relationship of Christology to hermeneutics. The path I’m headed on for my dissertation topic is in the direction of the role of Christ in theological method and interpretation. This is the fourth post in this series (you can search for the others in my sidebar by the same title), and the quotes come from a rich source, namely, J. C. Ryle’s classic work, Holiness.

Towards the end of his book, he includes a chapter called “Christ is All.” He takes this phrase from Colossians 3:11. From thereon, he uses it as a framework for viewing the Bible’s message as a whole as well as what should be the center of the Christian life. He posits, “These three words are the essence and substance of Christianity (301).” He ends his book on holiness for this very reason. If you get Christ wrong, you get everything wrong. He says that “Christ is the mainspring both of doctrinal and practical Christianity (301).” “He that follows after holiness,” Ryle claims, “will make no progress unless he gives Christ His rightful place (301).”  So as you can see, Ryle sees Christ as the pivotal point of all Christian faith and practice. But what you soon find out from reading further on in this chapter is that he comes to this conclusion because of his Christ-centered hermeneutic. There is much more to this chapter than what I’m sampling, but his words on Christ and the Bible are just as devotional as they are scholarly. Though this isn’t an academic book per se, I believe that it would be hard to say it any better than he does.

“In every part of both Testaments Christ is to be found–dimly and indistinctly at the beginning, more clearly and plainly in the middle, fully and completely at the end–but really and substantially everywhere (303).”

“Christ’s sacrifice and death for sinners, and Christ’s kingdom and future glory, are the light we must bring to bear on any book of Scripture we read. Christ’s cross and Christ’s crown are the clue we must hold fast, if we would find our way through Scripture difficulties. Christ is the only key that will unlock many of the dark places of the Word (303).”

“It is Christ, I need hardly say, of whom the whole New Testament is full. The Gospels are Christ living, speaking and moving among men. The Acts are Christ preached, published and proclaimed. The Epistles are Christ written of, explained and exalted. But all through, from first to last, there is one name above every other, and that is the name of Christ (305).”

Upon challenging the reader to ask himself “what the Bible is to him,” Ryle charges:

Is it a Bible in which Christ is all? If not, I tell you plainly, you have hitherto used your Bible to very little purpose. You are like a man who studies the solar system, and leaves out in his studies the sun, which is the centre of all. It is no wonder if you find your Bible a dull book (305)!

  • Check out Faithfulness and Holiness: The Witness of J. C. Ryle by J. I. Packer. This is a nice hardcover edition that is two volumes in one. The first part consists of Packer’s reflections on Ryle’s life and faith as well as Ryle’s influence on his own life. The second part contains the complete work of Ryle’s Holiness. That’s a good buy.
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Responses

  1. These are great.

    I particularly like this one: “You are like a man who studies the solar system, and leaves out in his studies the sun, which is the centre of all.”

    That’ll preach.

  2. Thanks for the Ryle nuggets from Holiness.

    I love this one:

    “It is Christ, I need hardly say, of whom the whole New Testament is full. The Gospels are Christ living, speaking and moving among men. The Acts are Christ preached, published and proclaimed. The Epistles are Christ written of, explained and exalted. But all through, from first to last, there is one name above every other, and that is the name of Christ (305).”

    Ryle has such a way of heating the nail on the head with such piercing clarity.

    Fantastic post! Keep ’em up!


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