At the early age of 15 or 16, Robert Roberts became aware of the importance and need for regular, systematic reading of the Scriptures. As a consequence he formulated what we know today as The Bible Reader’s Companion or simply The Bible Companion. The preface which follows was written to bring to the attention of his readers the vital importance of daily Bible reading in order to feed the mind with the thinking of the Spirit.

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; 1 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 which God has given for the purpose; viz, 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 fructification is only to be realised in connection with fructifying influences of the Spirit in the Word.

 To enable Bible readers conveniently to carry out the suggestion of the fore-going remarks, the following tables are placed in their hands, under the guidance of which, their daily reading will be methodical and edifying. An indiscriminate and haphazard reading of the Bible is unprofitable, and soon ceases to be interesting; straight forward reading from Genesis is also objectionable. A little read every day from various parts of the Word has been found experimentally to be practicable, attractive, and profitable. The following tables are arranged on this plan, giving the reader three portions in a day which it will take only a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes to read, and enable him in the course of a year to get through the whole Bible – traversing the New Testament twice, and the Old Testament once, in the course of twelve months. 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 teaching which qualifies for the inheritance of the Saints in light.

The daily reading chart is familiar to us all and has played an important role in educating the Christadelphian Brotherhood in the doctrines and practice of the Word of God. Others also have perceived the value of this guide and have followed it. In fact I have an acquaintance, an ardent member of the Anglican Church, who not only follows The Companion but has had it published and has made stocks available to Christian book shops. There is a lesson here for us. How dutiful are we in doing the readings? Do we pick up the daily newspaper or other magazines when the daily readings have not yet been done?

The Bible Companion provides us with a discipline which we are wise to take upon ourselves. We know that we shall not be saved by such “works” or even upon how much knowledge of Scripture we might amass, but in an age which seeks to take control of our minds we need to have an effective counterbalance so that the “minding of the Spirit” (Rom 8:6 margin) might prevail in our lives. For this reason the wisdom and foresight of Brother Roberts was and is invaluable. How much poorer a community we would be without this daily intercourse with the things of the Spirit. And what a wonderful and binding thought it is to know that our brethren and sisters, world-wide, are reading the same Scriptures as we are each day.

Let us redouble our efforts and give the daily readings and prayer the first place in our lives and in the lives of our families. Let us read a portion from the daily readings when we come together at all times.

Among the Philippine ecclesias there is the following pithy exhortation in many of the homes and halls, “Today is a good day to start reading the Bible everyday”. How relevant is this advice today among our ecclesias?