Vol.VI No.IV Pg.6
June 1969

Preacher Preparation, 1844

Robert F. Turner

Barton W. Stone, 1772-1844, was a true pioneer in the restoration movement in this country. He broke with the Presbyterians because he could not, in good conscience, accept Calvinistic tenets. In less than one year he had seen the evils of church government that infringed upon congregational independence; and had taken steps to be more like the first century church.

Stones life was spent in preaching and writing back to the Bible principles — urging people to give up denominationalism and to be satisfied with New Testament Christianity. His was a quiet spirit, tender, oft - disturbed, but constantly striving to serve his heavenly master.

We quote from his last article, written to a young would-be preacher, with advice that makes sense today.


1. "Retire to your study in your fathers house, and make that room a proseuche, or place of prayer. Take with you there a large polyglot English Bible, with the Septuagint translation, and Griesbachs Greek Testament, with Dr. Parkhursts and Greenfields Lexicons, and Greenfields Greek Concordance. Read the Old Testament regularly from the beginning, with the Septuagint before you, by which you will be better able to understand the writer. Should you find any thing dark or unintelligible, note it down on a small blank book, and take it to your near neighbor, Elder T.M.A., who will gladly assist you to the right understanding of the passage. When you read the New Testament, have Greisbachs Greek Testament open before you. Should difficulties occur, examine the translation by Parkhursts or Greenfields Lexicon, and more especially by the Greek Concordance. This is the safest and most certain method of finding the true meaning of the words. Take short notes of all the important things you may find in your reading. Forget not to mingle prayer to your God for direction into all truth, and that the wisdom from above may be afforded you.

2. In the intervals of your Bible studies, read church history: Moshiem I recommend you to read first; then DAubigne on the Reformation; then Dr. Neander on the first three centuries. Take short notes of all important facts. Forget not meditation and prayer — pray always — pray without ceasing — Keep yourself in the love of God. Vain will be your studied without these.

3. When you have read your Bible through carefully, not hurriedly, turn back and read it again, with the commentary of Henry. and others, lately collated for the Baptist Society. Have by you also Dr. McKnight on the Epistles; and consult these commentaries on all difficult passages. I do not recommend a general reading of them; as this would consume much time to little profit. Commentators generally labor to make the Scriptures bend to their peculiar systems, and to speak the language of Ashdod, or some other barbarous dialect. Hence the danger of becoming too conversant with them. Yet continue in prayer. (To be concluded in our next issue)