How the ‘Free Bible Companion’ came into existence as recorded in Robert Robert’s autobiography entitled “My Days and My Ways.”
The Conception of the ‘Bible Companion.’
My immersion into Christ had taken place in 1853, when I was 14 years old. I was examined by brethren A. Black and J. Mowatt, and immersed by the former in the River Dee, about a mile outside the town. A fisherman’s hut afforded undressing convenience. It was a beautiful summer’s Sunday morning. There was a crowd of Sunday strollers on the bank, who gave a loud laugh when the act of baptism was performed. Another was immersed at the same time— I think a farm-hand, by the name of Lawson. I am also under the impression that the same morning, my grandmother and uncle (Reid) were immersed. If not then, it was not long before or after. Next Sunday morning, we were very affectionately received at the breaking of bread. It was a very gratifying occasion, as I suppose it is to every one who is received among the brethren for the first time. We received the right hand of fellowship by being made to stand at the door of exit as the meeting dispersed,—each one shaking us by the hand as they passed out. I was a diligent attender at all the meetings afterwards.
It was about this time I commenced the systematic reading of the Scriptures, which is now so general a practice, with the aid of The Bible Companion. I found I must read, first for information, and then for daily sustenance in the things of the Spirit. Reading led to marking special passages with ink—arising from the need for ready quotation in conversation with those who opposed the truth. I think I first got the idea of marking from Mrs. Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, over whose case (Uncle Tom’s) I cried bitterly at the idea of his exclusion from the kingdom.
My Bible reading was at first discursive. Then I began to see the need for system. I adopted a system of my own. I divided the Old Testament into four parts, and the New Testament into three parts. During my breakfast hour, I read a chapter from each of the New Testament parts; and during my dinner hour, a chapter from each of the Old Testament parts—seven in all. I continued this for eight months, gradually finding it too much for continuance. I then reduced the whole to four parts, taking two and two, breakfast and dinner. This I persevered with for some years, and finally came down to three at one sitting—which I have continued ever since. At the commencement of my Bible readings, I trusted to memory for the next chapters to be read. But after several years’ experience, I found it convenient to have a written guide. So I made a calendar of the entire readings for the year, in a penny pass book, which greatly facilitated the process.
Friends got to know of this, and first one and then another asked me to provide them with a copy. I did this with much pleasure, until I had written 18 copies. Then I came across a printed little work of the same character, which suggested the idea of having my guide printed. This was done, under the name of The Bible Companion, which, with some modification, has continued in use ever since. Many, many thousands have been printed and circulated—(I know not how many), and to this day there is no pamphlet in connection with the truth in such steady demand. This result is gratifying, as it means that the enlightened reading of the Scriptures is a growing custom, which cannot fail to be a blessing to all who practise it.
Free Bible Companion
The Bible companion: also known as, Daily Readings, Bible Planner.
TABLES for the systematic daily reading of the Holy Scriptures:
A Plan which, from the experience of our Society during the past one hundred and fifty years, has been found to be the easiest, the most Interesting, and by far the most profitable method of reading the Bible. By this plan, which gives the reader a daily bird’s eye view of “the whole counsel of God,” one starts from three points and travels through the entire Scriptures without a break in the course of twelve months, taking two portions from the Old Testament and one from the New every day—a method of reading by which the Bible largely becomes its own interpreter in that related passages from all parts of the Sacred Volume (which explain each other) are naturally brought together from day to day in the three readings.
WHY READING THE BIBLE IS ESSENTIAL
“Salvation depends upon the assimilation of the mind to the divine ideas, principles and affections, exhibited in the Scriptures. This process commences with a belief of the gospel but is by no means completed thereby it takes a life-time for its scope and untiring diligence for its accomplishment. The mind is naturally alien from God and all His ideas (Rom. 8:7; I Cor. 2:14) and cannot be brought at once to the Divine Likeness. This is a work of slow development, and can only be achieved by the industrious application of the individual to the means that God has given for the purpose, namely, the expression of His mind in the Scriptures of truth. Spiritual-mindedness, or a state of mind in accordance with the mind of the Spirit as displayed in these writings, can only grow within a man by daily intercourse with that mind, there unfolded. Away from this, the mind will revert to its original emptiness. The infallible advice then to every man and woman anxious about their salvation is—Read the Scriptures Daily. It is only in proportion as this is done, that success may be looked for. The man who sows sparingly in this respect will only reap sparingly. Much spiritual fruit is only to be realised in connection with the fructifying influences of the Spirit in the word . . . .
By a strict adherence to this plan from year to year, the reader will reap much profit and find himself or herself gradually losing the insipidity of the natural mind and taking on the warm and exalted tone of the Spirit’s teaching, which qualifies for the inheritance of the Saints in light.”
Robert Roberts. ( 1839 – 1898 )