In case you are not yet persuaded that this book is worthwhile, here is yet another quote from Wayland. Keep in mind all the quotes I have mentioned have come from only one letter in the book! This quote beautifully captures a point I have tried to make that our people should be able to learn to read their bibles from the way they see us handle the text. No wonder than that so many today handle the Scriptures so poorly.
“But all this benefit is lost when a text is taken merely as a matter of form, simply as a motto, with which the ensuing discourse has no connection; or when some isolated phrase is taken as a text, and a large part of a discourse is employed in showing that an inference may be drawn from it which every one sees to be entirely alien from the obvious scope of the passage. Is it any wonder that men come to consider the Bible unlike any other book, a book of riddles, in which every sentence may be made to mean whatever the preacher pleases, and which no one but the preacher is able to explain? Is it any wonder that Christians lose all confidence in their power to explain for themselves a book which is susceptible of so great a variety of almost opposite interpretations?
And here it may not be inappropriate to ask, Why is it that expository preaching has so entirely died out among us? When ministers had comparatively little theological education, such preaching was very common. It was entirely destitute of theological learning, but it was simple and devout, and in most cases threw some light upon the subject, and, at any rate, generally induced the hearers to examine it for themselves. Now, when eight or ten years are spent in the study of language, and in preparation for the ministry, we very rarely hear anything of the kind. Can it be that after all this study men are unwilling to trust themselves to explain and enforce a paragraph of the word of God?”