This book is edited for believers who love the holy Word. It is suitable for individual or group Bible study. Any brother or sister who loves the Lord, wants to know the crucial and basic truths in the Bible, and wants to receive spiritual help can understand this book’s teachings by looking up the verses in the order listed in each lesson. If this book is used for Bible study meetings, one person with the gift of the Holy Spirit and who understands the teachings in this book should be in charge, according to the Lord’s leading. He must spend time striving in prayer so that the Holy Spirit would open the minds of the readers to understand the teachings.
The purpose of this book is not to receive man’s opinion but to receive God’s teaching. Therefore, other than the titles and outlines, very few words of man are added. When there are some words, they are only conclusions which issue from the reading of the related Bible verses. Every title is followed by many verses which prove or explain the title and outline. Most importantly, the readers must look up and read each verse and pray to the Lord to reveal the true meaning of the verses. Only then will they be able to understand them.
The teachings in this book progress from simple to profound. At the beginning, verses are used to answer the excuses for not receiving Christ as one’s Savior. Then gradually, the lessons go deeper until Lesson 26, which explains the beginning and end of full salvation. The first few lessons deal with the general way to be saved. Being saved is the starting point of the Christian life. Therefore, if one is not clear about this foundation, it is hard to expect him to go much further.
This book emphasizes both spiritual life and spiritual knowledge because a perfected Christian should not lack either of these. Even a study for knowledge should be related very much to spiritual life. Therefore, we hope the readers will pay close attention to this emphasis on both.
The first part of this book, as mentioned previously, mainly concerns the preaching of salvation. Therefore, it is quite suitable to read this part with unbelievers. It is not necessary to argue with them about difficult questions in the Bible. Simply follow the lesson outline and read each verse listed in the lesson to them, or let them find and read the verses for themselves. Let the Word of God do its own work. God has already delighted in using this method to save many sinners on various occasions. God may do this again on many other occasions. Therefore, you need to be faithful.
This book is also very suitable for group Bible study. If a joint Bible study is held once a week, twenty-six lessons can extend for half a year. For a one month conference, excluding the Lord’s Days, there are enough lessons for each day. If the conference lasts only two weeks, then two lessons each day may be studied. This book is flexible and can be divided according to the length of time available.
The original writing of this book (except Lessons 11 and 18 which the Lord was pleased to have me write) came from famous books written by servants who were greatly used by the Lord in Europe and America. Some were translated directly from original texts, and some were edited by me, containing one-third to one-half of the original text. My helpers in translation include: Faithful Luk, Wai-San Wang, Peter Chang, and Wu-Chou Hsu. May the Lord bless their work that it may not be in vain.
I hope and desire that many brothers and sisters, who love the Lord, will set up group Bible studies and, for the sake of the Lord, use this book as lesson notes to bring many sinners to the Lord and build up the saints to grow in life. My work on editing this book is finished. I do not know how much more work I can do for the Lord on this earth. But I long for that glorious day to come quickly so that the world may see the King of Peace reign. I know I am useless, but I commit this little book into the hand of the loving Lord. If He will bless and cause people to be saved and built up, then all the glory goes to Him. I now humbly pray before the Lord that He may work in the heart of every reader.
January 11, 1927
At night in Nanking, China
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 02: The Word of the Cross, Chapter 10, by Watchman Nee)