“Knowing Scripture” was the first book that introduced me to the concept of hermeneutics back in the early 1990’s, and also introduced me to its author R. C. Sproul. I’ve always admired Sproul’s ability to teach difficult concepts so they are easy to grasp, and always benefited from his knowledge of philosophy and church history. “The Holiness of God” had a tremendous impact on my Christian faith as a young man, and will never forget how he taught ancient Hebrew emphasized words by repeating them. His illustration referenced Genesis 10:14 which states, “the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fell into pit pits.” Commenting on this verse Sproul wrote in his book on page 37,”
“…there are pits and there are pits. Some pits are pitier than other pits. These pits, the pit pits – were the pittiest pits of all. It is one thing to fall into a pit, but if you fall into a pit pit, you are in deep trouble.”
Sproul was setting up the significance of the seraphim calling out the repetition, “Holy, holy, holy” in Isaiah 6:3 to communicate the greatness of God.
In 2008, I was fortunate to have attended the Together for the Gospel Conference where Sproul gave one of his most powerful sermons “The Curse Motif of the Atonement” which I have returned to at least 3 times over the years.
One unique characteristic I appreciated in R. C. was his interest in the arts. He taught a series on the arts titled “Recovering the Beauty of the Arts” where he considers how art, music, imagery, literature, drama, cinematography, and architecture can be used by artists to the glory of God. He not only taught about the arts, he was a skilled practitioner. Sproul authored numerous children’s books and wrote theologically rich lyrics for worship music. One of my favorite songs is “Worthy is the Lamb” from the album “Glory to the Holy One,” composed by Jeff Lippincort.
Sproul also gave a rousing defense for artists to portray the humanity of Christ in images and drama and was the only one I ever heard make an appeal to Calvin and Luther for the use of images. R.C.’s argument is fascinating and can be found in the first Q&A session of the Ligonier 2014 National Conference “Overcoming the World.”
R. C. will be greatly missed. By God’s grace, R. C.’s ministry is well-preserved for future generations where he will continue to teach the Scripture and lead people to the Savior.