The Godly Man’s Picture: Your Thoughts (Open Thread)

Wow–March has absolutely flown by!  Yet it is never too late to give away some books!  I must say, the books Banner of Truth is giving away this month are quite good, so be sure to take a moment to comment with your thoughts on The Godly Man’s Picture.  Remember, the goal behind the 2008 Puritan Reading Challenge is not merely to complete the readings but also seek to apply what we have learned to our lives.  The Puritans were very experiential with doctrinal truths, finding them useful in everyday life.

So with that said, how has The Godly Man’s Picture impacted your life or helped you in your relationship with God?

Please take a moment to share with others your observations, experiences, benefits, or uses this book as been for you over the past month.

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22 Comments on “The Godly Man’s Picture: Your Thoughts (Open Thread)”


  1. Hi Tim!

    Unfortunately this month I did not make it past chpt.2 of The Godly Man’s Picture. I have learned that there are season’s in one’s life where the picture (or book) remains unfinished.

    I hope to stay abreast in April with The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment!


  2. Hi Timmy,

    As has been the case from January, the Puritan Reading Challenge is blessing and encouraging me in my walk with God in an incomparable way. I’ve set aside writing regular blog posts on the books so that I can concentrate on their application and challenge to my own heart personally.

    It is hard to summarise the effect Watson has had (and will have in the future), but here’s a sample:

    1. Watson has thrilled and broken my heart personally: it is a profound experience to be ministered to by one like Watson who applies God’s Word so closely and compellingly. In many ways Watson has left me no quarter – probing the depth (or more truthfully, the shallowness) of true godliness in my heart. I have found the sections on the personal life, and how truth learned must be truth lived, to be tremendously challenging.

    2. His words have informed my Bible reading. I have a copy of the ESV Journaling Bible, and I’m including some of Watson’s pithy encapsulations of truth in the margin for reference in the days to come.

    3. The book has enthused my preaching: the lessons Watson has brought out with reference to godliness, to joy in the glory of God, and particularly to addressing truth at the level of the hearer have given me a sense of liberty in terms of how I address my hearers. Along with Sibbes and Flavel, Watson proves the power of an appropriate and contemporary illustration to make Christ’s truth known.

    4. ‘The Godly Man’s Picture’ has been preparing my heart for missionary service in Peru. This is related to the point above. Because Watson is so plain in style and pertinent in illustration it is showing to me how important keen observation will be in a croos cultural setting, to make God’s truth known relevantly and practically.

    Thank you again for the inspiration to follow this challenge this year – it is blessing me beyond measure.

    Yours in Christ,
    Andrew

  3. Jerry Says:

    As I stated in my wrap-up on my blog, the biggest impact was the fact that I was driven to prayer on just about every page.

    I am certainly glad that Watson concluded the book as he did, reminding us that while we may only be “bruised reeds” or “smoking flax” (a reminder of January’s reading) that we are still Christs’ possession so long as the beginnings of grace are stirring in us.

    Personally, I feel that the greatest benefit that I will receive from this work will come in a subsequent reading, noting the progress made in the areas of deficiency that I have noted in myself during my first reading.


  4. In “The Godly Man’s Picture” Watson hit on hard on and fully on so many things for example – loving the brethern – the Godly man does love others and especially they of the household of faith. They have one head they should have one heart. They have the same Spirit – how can they not love one another. They have the same enemies. Won’t their enemies unite together like two wolves fighting over a bone to join together in pursuit of the hare? So brothers should remain fast with one another against such a common enemy. Watson went on and on with the most quotable of quotes as he hammered on this grace that is in the heart of the Godly Man.

    Thanks for the challenge Timmy, this has been very good for me and may even prove to be contagious – as I read out loud from Watson’s book to a friend he readily determined that he must have a copy of that book for himself.

    sda

  5. ytaylor Says:

    Watson (a man of sheer brilliance) writes The Godly Man’s Picture which exemplifies the life a true believer. Now that should encourage (and did) but I will confess that while I was in AZ reading this book began to make me very sad… due to the fact that so much of my life wasn’t painting this picture. So this book was very encouraging, yet it had a real sting to it!

    Secondly, I was very encouraged by the Evangelical Weeper (pg.55) and in many ways it was the section our Lord used to grip my heart in connection with this book. Specifically, the point about weeping due to the “sins he commits are in one sense worse than sins of other men.” It was a ‘no brainier’ that one should weep for their sins, the sins around them, and to be more holy (aka less sinful). However, to think that my sins (sins of a justified person) bring further and greater dishonor to my Lord was a real blow to me. Not that this was a new thought, but this is what the Lord used to bring me to my knees.

    Thirdly, there were some great chapters (short and tucked in the back, 9-11) that were very good and thoroughly enjoyed them as well. It was for the most part a fast and easy read and I was grateful due to a very full schedule. God Bless you, and look forward to The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment.

    Yogi

  6. Gino Curcuruto Says:

    This was the first work of Watson’s that I have read. I was really struck by his ability to create beautiful and vivid illustrations and his knack for driving home a point through word play. One interesting paradox occurred to me while reading this work… the breadth and scope of this book was wide yet Watson seemed to have a gift for communicating a concept with few words. For example, in speaking of the lost: “In other words, they shall have a life that always dies and a death that always lives.” (p 196) Or, writing about evangelism: “Though God is the fountain of grace, yet the saints are pipes to transmit living streams to others.” (p 184) I found these (and many other brief statements) provoking. Those are just a couple of thoughts I had.

    I was challenged, convicted and rebuked by page after page. The most compelling example for me occurred while reading Watson’s discourse on humility (particularly pp 82-84). I actually read this and began, in my own pride, thinking of how good it would be to share this with a couple of younger men I minister to. The irony and blindness would be humorous if I wasn’t so sinful. Fortunately, God, in His mercy, didn’t leave me unaware of this. As I read through page 84, I had to re-read this line: “It is better to lack anything rather than humility.” The awkwardness of that sentence caused me to read it again. Then it hit me. “God, through Watson, is speaking to you Gino!” I was able to continue reading this book with the fresh reminder to apply everything to me before I think of anyone else. This has been a rich blessing.

    Grace and peace,
    Gino

  7. Brennen Says:

    What a great book. I mean, I’m not sure I can put into words how great this book is. So thorough. Piercing. Clearly, the Puritans were a special group inspired of the Lord. I am impressed, blessed, inspired and encoruaged. I can hardly wait to finish the remaining 9 books.

    I would say that I was feeling quite heavy as the chapters clicked along, because I’m so obviously not where I wish I was in my walk w/ the Lord. I realized the Bible truth that Watson was conveying about what a godly life will look like.

    So, when I got to chapter 11, my heart filled with joy and thanks to God!

    This will be a great book to use in a small-group study someday.


  8. As I was reading The Godly Man’s Picture I wondered how many today would find this very “legalistic.” By this I mean many today simply say we are to do as the spirit leads and to list things that make up a believer would be wrong. But the issue is that scripture is full of illustrations and instructions about what a believer looks like and what he does not look like. To simply say one is to do as God leads is ignoring that God leads through His word and it is in knowing His word that we can discern our hearts.

    That all said I was greatly convicted by this book as Watson’s consistent use of scripture truly did delve into what a God calls a godly person to look like. I think that Watson did a good job of not simply listing things but giving more insight into what he meant as well as often showing how we fall short but still need to aim for the picture God has set before us. This picture of falling short helps avoid depression over ones lack of perfection but keeps the believer on the path to perfection, by the power of God

    One quote that I think would be avoided in most Church circles today was: “If you wish to be truly thankful, get a heart deeply humbled with the sense of your own vileness.” The key being that thankfulness comes not from knowing how wonderful I am and how vile others may be but rather how wicked I am. One thing I truly appreciate about the Puritans is their deep understanding of the human condition and the great depths that Christ has brought us from and thus the great thankfulness we should have.

    This was yet another great book and I look forward to the next one.

  9. Persis Says:

    It seems like the age we are living in has lost the sense of the importance of godliness and the vileness of sin. This book is a good bracing antidote for that. Watson hit home on so many specific issues. His use of “Let us test ourselves by these characteristics” and “How may we know that we are …” forces the reader and forced me to take a good hard look at my life before the Lord. On the one hand I enjoyed Watson’s pithy style of writing and on the other hand, I feel extremely convicted by my own lack of godliness.

    A few quotes among many that stood out:

    “If you wish to be thankful, get a heart deeply humbled with the sense of your own vileness.” (pg 138)

    “Examine what sin runs most in your mind, what sin is first in your thoughts and greets you in the morning – that is the predominant sin.” (pg 148)

    “You who have only the least dram of godliness in sincerity, let me give you rich consolation: Jesus Christ will not discourage the weakest grace but will cherish and preserve it to eternity.” (pg 221)

  10. Will Bausch Says:

    Wow! I’ve never written “This is very convicting” and “True!” in the margins of a book so many times. Perhaps this is why I still have about 40 pages to go.

    Anyway, this quote from page 153 really struck me, as my wife and I are pursuing the call to become missionaries:

    “How soon an hour of trial may come. A man who has hurt his shoulder cannot carry a heavy burden, and a man who has any guilt in his conscience cannot carry the cross of Christ. Will he who cannot deny his lust for Christ deny his life for Christ?” (p. 153)
    I know that there is still much sanctification left to experience, but my lack of concern for true godliness, and my failure to keep short accounts with God, may result in much strife on the mission field. I pray that this would not be the case!

    I love Watson’s constant reminders in each practical area of the historical reason why we should desire such godliness: the person and work of Jesus Christ! This allows me, as a man who sees himself fall far short of any standard of Godliness, to have hope. I know I have a Savior who has bought me eternal life, unconditionally. This love inspires me to seek Godliness, not from obligation, but from love. Thank you, Lord, for your grace.

    Will Bausch

  11. Dave H. Says:

    The Godly Man’s Pictures was a great (and often humbling) read this month. I just finished it and decided to pull out a few quotes that convicted me the most:

    1) “It is better to have God approve than the world applaud” (pg. 97).

    2) “We shall never go to heaven when we die unless we are in heaven while we live” (pg. 107).

    3) “It is one thing to love our mercies; it is another thing to love the Lord. Many love their deliverances but not their deliverer. God is to be loved more than his mercies” (pg. 132).

    4) “If you wish to be thankful, get a heart deeply humbled with the sense of your own vileness” (pg. 138).

    5) “How many [ministers] have sown pillows under their people (Ezek 13:18), making them sleep so securely that they never woke till they were in hell!” (pg. 155).

    6) And my personal favorite regarding a Godly man who walks with God and having a visible piety: “Walking is a visible posture. Grace must be conspicuous to onlookers. He who reveals something of God in his behavior walks with God. He shines forth in biblical conduct” (pg. 175).

    Thanks again Timmy for choosing this book. I look forward to next month’s book. Take care.

  12. D.L. Kane Says:

    WOW! Doesn’t this all just scream “God’s TRUTH is eternal!” I am so blessed by the comments and testimonies that I can hardly contain myself. You are all such a blessing to me. Praise the Lord for the internet. For years (since finding my first copy of a Banner of Truth publication in an old book store in 1995) I have hungered to share this kind of fellowship and have yet to find any interest among the “locals”. “Come on, you just gotta read this. Have you read it? What did you think? Did it bless you?” .. “Well, actually, I haven’t yet read it; but, I will” A month later….”Have you read it? “No; but I will” and on it goes.

    I thank the Lord for all of you, for Timmy and (yes) for the internet! April is sure to bring great discussion…I confess…I read ahead and look forward to contributing to and benefiting from all of the wonderful interaction.

    In Christ and For His Sake,
    D.L. Kane


  13. I read all month long, but was not able to finish the book by today! I think that sometimes the Godly Man’s Picture requires that you set down your own pleasure to make sure you fulfill your required duties. This month that included dealing with sick kids, three huge mid-terms and two 10 page papers! I look forward to finishing the book in the coming week and plowing headlong into Contentment.

  14. Phil Baiden Says:

    I read these books on the tram on the way to my church each day. Sometimes I only get one sentence in before staring out of the window and thinking of how this effects me.
    Watson’s way with words is remarkable, his illustrations are so natural and, as a result, really hit home.
    I was struck by his attack on “nominal Christians”. I’m currently on placement at a church that can trace its heritage back to the Great Ejection of 1662 and to see Watson’s faith in the face of such persecution is humbling; especially in comparison with the church in its current state.
    As with “The Reformed Pastor”, which I read last year and changed my life, this book has shown me the type of man that God has called me to be and how short I fall from that standard. Thank God for his grace in Jesus Christ.
    Thanks for the whole reading programme, Timmy. This book and The Bruised Reed will be regular re-reads for me now.

  15. Mike Leake Says:

    My thought on Watson’s The Godly Man’s Picture is this….what the heck happened to March? How is it April? Why am I only on Chapter 4? I will continue blogging through this book in April alongside Burroughs’ Rare Jewel.

    What I have read so far is pretty good. I do have one question though, to see if anyone else seems to be experiencing this: Does it seem that sometimes Watson “pitches matters too high” as Sibbes said?

  16. Will bausch Says:

    Somebody help me. I thought “Precious Remedies” was next. Was the order changed?


  17. Will,

    We had to make a schedule change due to Brooks being back-ordered. Sorry that you have not received word. Here’s the post with all the details:

    http://timmybrister.com/2008/03/19/important-prc-announcement-april-schedule-change/

  18. Mike Hall Says:

    This book has opened my eyes to so many things its hard to narrow it down. I will mention two quotes that have stuck with me:

    pg. 34 “As the Lord makes use of all the seasons of the year, frost and heat, to produce the harves, so all prosperous and adverse providences are for the promoting of the work of holiness in the soul.”

    If you have ever felt like that what you were doing is insignificant or that you were just wasting time then Rev. Watson kindly puts that notion to rest. There is no such thing as a wasted season of life if what we are doing is for the lord no matter how insignificant.

    pg.37 “Let us, then, as we would show ourselves to be godly, keep close to the rule of worship, and in the things of Jehovah go no further than we can say, “It is written”.

    I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but if what Rev. Watson says is true then there is a lot of activity branded as “in the name of the Lord” or in the spirit of worship” that in no way honors the Lord or His Word.

  19. nauvoobaptist Says:

    As I read this book I found myself asking “Is this me?” “Am I the picture of a Godly man?” As I got deeper into the text I stopped asking that question and started to investigate my live in terms of the subtitle of the book. Do I really reflect God’s handiwork in all I say and do? Is God able to make the pencil-sketch He desires or am I smudging out the lines?

    This book has encouraged me to continue to look and see God’s intended drawing of my life and not my own desires to paint it in the fashion that I choose.

    Conviction is a terrible thing for a Christian to waste with excuses.

  20. Chris Says:

    First, I found this work incredibly overwhelming. It was easy to read, but one month is not enough time for the penetrating truths that Watson shares to sink deep into my life.

    Second, here are some quotes that God is still pressing upon me:

    “A humble saint likes the condition which God see best for him. A proud man complains that he has no more; a humble man wonders that he has so much.” p. 81

    “Do we fear the loss of the Word preached more than the loss of peace and trade?…Do we listen to it as to a matter of life and death? This is a good sign that we love the Word.” p. 65-66

    “Though sin is in him, he is troubled at it and would gladly get rid of it. There is as much difference between sin in the wicked and the godly as between poison being in a serpent and in a man. Poison in the serpent is in its natural place and is delightful, but poison in a man’s body is offensive and he uses antidotes to expel it.” p. 146

    Finally, I am greatly challenged by his words to ministers:
    “Sloth is as inexcusable in a minister as sleeping in a sentry.”
    “How many have sown pillows under their people making them sleep so securely that they never woke till they were in hell!”
    “The life of a minister should be a walking Bible…they who live in contradiction to what they preach disgrace this excellent calling.”
    “It is the minister’s duty to sometimes reproove. He who can speak smooth words in teh pulpit, but does not know how to reprove, is like a sword with a find hilt without an edge.”

  21. Kenan Says:

    I love reading Thomas Watson, and this month’s rereading of The Godly Man’s Picture Drawn with a Scripture pencil was a blessing. Watson is always rich in theology and Scripture, nourishing to the soul, and replete with practical wisdom. His book has humbled me and convicted me. I look at myself and my own picture seems to be drawn with a kindergartener’s crayon instead of a pencil in the steady hand of a skilled artist. Yet at the same time I was strengthened and encouraged in my faith in Christ, and I know that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.


  22. This book has just plain kicked my behind all over the place. Coming right on the heels of Sibbes and Flavel, Watson could not have been more timely. The section on how a godly man is patient is what really smacked me down the most! I have been going through a trying time in life, being a new dad and quite possibly about to hit a transition stage in life situation and ministry, and the first two books coupled with Watson’s exhortation to be patient was exactly what I needed.


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