“Study of the Bible must be the consuming passion of a believer’s life,” James Montgomery Boice exhorted worshipers in one of his fourteen sermons through Psalm 119. His congregation at Tenth Presbyterian Church, which sat under his thirty years of expositional preaching, would attest that such was the consuming passion of his life. He preached systematically through twenty-seven books and extensively through another five
There is a plaque at Tenth Church commemorating Boice’s life and ministry. It presents the passage considered the theme of his life work, Romans 11:33–36, which extols the glory of God. That is an accurate summary of his aim in ministry, to which he pointed those under his teaching ministry—to give all glory to God. But if that was his aim, the means by which he most believed in achieving that aim was to know and to obey God’s Word.
I have two purposes in compiling this yearlong devotional from Boice’s sermons and writings. I hope this collection will keep his legacy alive for a new generation of Christians. Most of these devotions are culled from his published sermons. They give but a taste of his fuller exposition of the texts. A number of selections come from unpublished material. All but one of the Revelation devotions come from the last series of sermons he was preaching when he died. A few come from messages given in his early life before coming to Tenth, so that the body of work covers his full span of ministry
The second purpose is the one that James Boice himself would have had for such a work, which is to aid readers in studying the most important book—the Bible. As helpful as the words of the expositor may be, he would have had you value much more highly the Word of God. With that in mind, each reading not only includes a Scripture text, but cites the fuller Bible reading that should go along with the devotion. Take time with each devotion to open your Bible.
An added feature of the devotional is a topical index. Boice was an expository preacher who preached through whole books of the Bible. As every preacher who follows that system knows, it led him to cover a wide variety of topics. Note also a Scripture index, which lists primary Scripture references and others included in the devotions.
Though the devotional is laid out in order of the books of the Bible, you need not read them in succession. there are fifty-two psalms included, so you might read one each Sunday. Using the topical index, you could arrange a reading schedule that takes you through events of the church year.
A word about the title, Come to the Waters. It comes not from a devotion but a hymn written by Boice in partnership with Dr. Paul Jones, Tenth’s Music Director. (The hymn and its music are included following the December 31 reading.) The “waters” are the waters of life, the gospel of Jesus Christ. As you will see time and again in the devotions, it is knowing Jesus Christ that matters above all else. Yes, we are to live with the aim of glorifying God, but that cannot be done without being cleansed by the blood of Christ and then living in Christ. Yes, the means to glorify God is to know and to obey his Word, but we will not understand the Word of God if we do not see that it is leading us to the “waters” of the gospel—to the person and work of Jesus Christ. these devotions are not intended simply to make you a better person. They are to lead you again and again to your only hope—Jesus Christ—for glorifying God.
I wish to thank Linda Boice for granting permission and providing support for the first edition, as well as the second. Terri Taylor came up with the devotional’s title. Jessie Taylor compiled the topical and Scripture indexes, and Sarah Brubaker supplied the bibliography and references. My wife, Ginger, was my most fervent encourager. This second edition of Come to the Waters is made possible by P&R Publishing, which is giving new life to other Boice titles as well, and I am thankful for Amanda Martin’s work in overseeing the final product. In particular, I must thank Robert Brady, executive director of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, for his tireless efforts in making this rebirth take place. Without his behind-the-scenes work, we would still be scavenging the Internet and used bookstores to send a copy.
Content taken from Come to the Waters by James Montgomery Boice ISBN 978-1-62995-336-6 . Introduction by Marion D Clark editor. Used with permission from P&R Publishing, Phillipsburg, NJ, www.prpbooks.com