President John Quincy Adams: Believer in God and a Student of the Bible (Part 2)

John Quincy Adams, our 6th President, wrote some letters to his children regarding his habit of reading of the Bible. These were published first in 1848 in New York in a book of 128 pages. Here are just two paragraphs from his letters:

“So great is my veneration for the Bible, and so strong my belief, that when duly read and meditated on, it is of all books in the world, that which contributes most to make men good, wise and happy—that the earlier my children begin to read it, the more steadily they pursue the practice of reading it throughout their lives, the more lively and confident will be my hopes that they will prove useful citizens to their country, respectable members of society, and a real blessing to their parents.

“I advise you, my son, in whatever you read, and most of all in reading the Bible, to remember that it is for the purpose of making you wiser and more virtuous. I have myself, for many years, made it a practice to read through the Bible once every year. I have always endeavored to read it with the same spirit and temper of mind which I now recommend to you: that is, with the intention and desire that it may contributed to my advancement in wisdom and virtue. My custom is to read four or five chapters every morning, immediately after rising from my bed. It employs about an hour of my time and seems to me the most suitable manner of beginning the day. But as other cares, duties and occupations engage the remainder of it, I have perhaps never a sufficient portion of my time in meditation upon which I have read. Every time I read the Book through, I understand some passage which I never understood before, and which I should have done, at a former reading, had it been effected with a sufficient degree of attention.”

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