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Discussion Forum : General Topics : JOHN BUNYAN'S COMPUTER

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There is no copyright on this - Krispy

Pastor Buddy Smith, Grace Baptist Church,
Malanda, Queensland, Australia

John Bunyan's name is familiar to most Christians. (Pilgrim's Progress) Some months ago I came across one of his short books, 'The Acceptable Sacrifice'. It was originally a sermon based on Psalm 51:17, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise". It was his last book.

My heart was deeply moved by this book. Not only is the content impressive, weighty and convincing, but Bunyan's grasp and use of Scripture is amazing. The book is absolutely compelling simply because of his knowledge of the Word of God. This was no contemporary sermon consisting of a joke, three points and a poem. This is a cobalt bomb in hardcover and the reader stands at ground zero.

My heart began shouting questions, "How did he write such a sermon? Where did he get such substance, such wisdom, such power? What did he use for study aids to be able to compile such a masterpiece?" In the midst of these questions I realized Bunyan had almost none of the resources we use everyday. Strong's Concordance was 200 years in the future, Cruden's a hundred. Thayer's, Gesenius, and Robertson were all unknown. Bunyan's biographers mention Luther's commentary on Galatians, Foxes Book of Martyrs, and an anonymous concordance. We suppose that Bunyan, the prolific writer, would be a voracious reader. But there is the one resource book, his chief study aid he mentions again and again. Hear him: "As I was sitting by the fire...suddenly...this word sounded in my heart, 'I must go to Jesus'. I said, 'Wife, is there ever such a scripture, I must go to Jesus?' Thus unexpectedly questioned, she cannot tell".

"Therefore," says Bunyan, "I sat musing to see if I could remember such a place. I had not sat above two or three minutes but it came bolting in upon me, 'You are come to Mt Zion...and to Jesus the Mediator of the New Testament" - Heb. 12:22-24". This, then, was Bunyan's chief resource, his chief study aid, the Holy Scriptures themselves, taught him by the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.

He thoroughly knew the Scriptures. He memorised long passages. He meditated much upon the Word. He looked and longed and lingered until the Holy Spirit brought to mind the needed truth for each crisis. He knew by daily experience the truth of John 14:26, "But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost...He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance..."

Bunyan used this resource when discouraged. He used it when he prepared sermons. He used it when he stood before magistrates, accused of preaching without a license. He used it when in jail where he began writing Pilgrim's Progress. He used it when he preached from his cell window. He used it when he pointed the lost to Christ. This is Bunyan's secret: the Spirit and the Word - the sufficiency of Scripture! The Comforter, who is our tutor, was Bunyan's best study aid. His utter dependence upon the Word of God and its Author is what gave his life and literature their impact.

What a contrast he makes with the modern minister! Somewhere between the TV sports show, the trip to the airport, and the golf game, he must prepare his message. No problem! Just light up the new IBM (Inspired Business Machines?), and open the Super Sermon Maker Program. Memorisation, meditation and midnights are displaced by gigabytes, nanoseconds and mousy sermons. No blood, no sweat, no tears, no Bible, no prayer, no blessing, no people, too bad, so sad! ("No message tonight, folks. The computer is down.") Study aids? Sure, but used sparingly, remembering that no man's thoughts, programs, floppies, or CD ROMS can ever compare with the Word and the Spirit.

Bunyan's computer is still available, but it's expensive. It will cost the user time. Time in the Word. Time learning to humble our hearts before Him. Time in prayer, seeking the will of God for the sermons we must preach. Time waiting on God for truth. Time to grow godly character.

Is the price too high? Not if your sermons can still be a blessing after 300 years.

 2005/3/15 8:51

Joined: 2003/11/3
Posts: 61
south carolina



marvin geddings

 2005/3/15 9:50Profile


yea, owch.

This thread only drew one comment. Wow.


 2005/3/15 13:48

Joined: 2004/8/1
Posts: 218
Fresno CA



KrispyKrittr wrote:

Bunyan's computer is still available, but it's expensive. It will cost the user time. Time in the Word. Time learning to humble our hearts before Him. Time in prayer, seeking the will of God for the sermons we must preach. Time waiting on God for truth. Time to grow godly character.

Is the price too high?

I do not see this as a cost, but one of the highest privileges God has given man, (given) me.

Spending time in God's word, digging to find precious gold.

How much more precious is the gold that is personaly worked out of the ground than the gold you can buy at the store?


Adam Fell

 2005/3/15 15:54Profile


I do not see this as a cost, but one of the highest privileges God has given man, me.

Spending time in God's word, digging to find precious gold.

How much more precious is the gold that is personaly worked out of the ground than the gold you can buy at the store?

I agree ... amen.


 2005/3/15 16:26

Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


Technology has made life different, but not always better. For instance, once the automobile was invented we moved 30-60 miles from our work. Once the telephone was invented, we stopped talking to our neighbors.
And now, with the invention of the computer, it becomes easy to think there is no "need" to memorize scripture.

The hopeful irony is that it was the technology of the printing press that enabled Bunyan to own a bible and to publish the worlds' first novel. (PP)

Interesting sermon Krispy.


Mike Compton

 2005/3/15 23:51Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Light under a basket


Where to put this?

Decided on here just to keep this up in part and to also answer the comment(s) first from Krispy about the slow response and too long winded, one of these days...

There is sooo much here that things can get buried or overlooked. That's why I do hope everyone continues to mine what is already available before starting perhaps another heading, not to dissuade that at all, but there is just nuggets waiting to be discovered and turned over, gems and diamonds, just to dig them up rub off the 'dirt', hold them up to the light and see the different reflections.

It has come up here in times past but is it just me or does it not seem at times an interest that thoughts carry across different posts and threads here and can't help but wonder if the meaning behind "[i]where two or three are gathered[/i]" doesn't apply and [i]if[/i] that certain Someone might not be arresting our attention towards certain things at certain times. Will leave that to all of our impressions.

But wanted to interject something snatched from another thread from MrBillPro:

[i]I sincerely appreciate your thoughts, I am number one totally here to learn, not one knows it all except God and I can see how we all can have our own interpretation of the word because I feel it's ministers to all differently, and if this is true that then leads to differences in opinions only and Wow that could lead to all out war if we let it thank God we don't here. I guess understanding God's word is a life-long task and we are all on a journey in our understanding. From what I have read God's word is there to train us to distinguish good from evil but we should know our limits, and while not pretending to know everything, we should nonetheless live up to the truth that we have attained and err on the side of caution about what we are not sure of, guess I should follow that.[/i]

"[b]I am number one totally here to learn[/b]"

Amen, always and primary, sorry I am searching for an escape valve for what is building up within. All these "greats" that we glean from, through the messages, through their words, through our experiences and sharing of thought here. All of it I dare say is only in the sense of [i]1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
1Co 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.[/i]

Actually was thinking more along a thought in Hebrews, which my 'computer' is not finding right now.... ;-)

But it's not the men per se that are being exalted in any way, but the life of the Holy Spirit in them that we are after and hopefully that coupled with what causes us to study out as good Bereans continues to become our lot as we grow and share these things amongst ourselves unto the glory of God, us just His peculiar people and that later part I believe we have down pat. :-)

So before going back into the cave for more reflection couldn't hold back on this, as it seemed to apply to all these things and it is out of order from another thread and...such a knucklehead, here:

[b]The Way of Hearing the Eternal Word[/b]

[i]If a man love Me, he will keep My words. (John 14:23)

[i]When now man . . . cometh to the third degree of perfection, in which he heareth, in a silent, secret speaking, the everlasting Word which God the Father speaketh in the ground of souls . . .[/i]

We all know how certain verses jump out of a page of the Bible and grip us, full of infinite sweetness and inspiration; at other times they do not. That is what people mean when they say God gave them a message—by the way, do not say that unless God does, we use phrases much too glibly. God may give you the kind of message He gave Isaiah, a blistering, burning message of the altar of God. To be able to hear “the silent, secret speaking” of the Father’s voice in the words of the Bible is the essential groundwork of the soul of every saint.

“The words that I have spoken unto you are spirit, and are life” (John 6:63 rv). God makes His own word re-speak in us by His Spirit. He safeguarded that; He uses the words His Son used, and the words those used who He determined should write them (see 2 Peter 1:21). The great insubordination of to-day is, “Who are the apostles? God spake through them, why can’t He speak through me?” He will not unless we let the Spirit of God interpret to us what those men said, then He will talk through us, but in no other way. When once a man has learned to hear with the inner ear the word of God he “discardeth his self-hood,” and the natural delight in God’s word is lost in the realisation that it is God Who is speaking. Do you want to know how self-hood works out?—“I have such a fine message, it will do for such and such an audience”; “I have got a wonderful exposition of this text.” Well, burn it and never think any more about it. Give the best you have every time and everywhere. Learn to get into the quiet place where you can hear God’s voice speak through the words of the Bible, and never be afraid that you will run dry, He will simply pour the word until you have no room to contain it. It won’t be a question of hunting for messages or texts, but of opening the mouth wide and He fills it.

The outcome of Mark 12:29-31 is God four times over—God the King of my heart, God the King of my soul, God the King of my mind, God the King of my strength; nothing other than God; and the working out of it is that we show the same love to our fellow-men as God has shown us. That is the external aspect of this internal relationship, the sovereign preference of my person for God. The love of the heart for Jesus, the life laid down for Jesus, the mind thinking only for Jesus, the strength given over to Jesus, the will working only the will of God, and the ear of the personality hearing only what God has to say.

Chambers, O.

It's just hard to keep these things to yourself sometimes...

Mike Balog

 2005/3/16 10:37Profile

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