In this series of lectures I propose to deal only with the first and fundamental matters, as my purpose is preëminently that of helping those who are beginning the Christian life in the study and teaching of the English Bible.
Among English-speaking people there are two classes likely to read the Bible; first, those who are Christian believers, and secondly, those who, as honest enquirers, are desirous of knowing exactly what is taught in the Scriptures.
There is a distinct difference between these classes in the mood of approach, and consequently in the mode thereof. The first almost necessarily comes to the study of the Bible with a prejudice in its favor, expecting to find therein teaching which will guide in life and service; while the second approaches the study with a perfectly open mind as to what the Scriptures teach, but in many cases with a prejudice against the attitude of the first, not being prepared to admit upon the basis of the conviction of others, that the Bible is the Word of God, that it is a Divine Library, or that the writings are in any special sense inspired. Such a reader does not believe these things because he honestly cannot, and is not prepared to make his judgment blind. There are many senses in which such an attitude is the most easy to deal with, for it is the true condition for receiving teaching.
These classes are, however, unified, by their common desire to study the Scriptures; and they are both asking for help as to the best method of doing so.