(From the Preface)
"Publication of this work has not yet progressed beyond the first installment of 32 pages plus the preceding introduction etc. The other installments will follow, God willing, regularly."
Two more installments were published. Besides them Schilder completed 12 more meditations for the fourth installment which, however, never was published. He also left a few other meditations (April 16-18) which were likely to have been included as well.
When reading these 109 beautiful and penetrating meditations one may well be wondering, "Why was this work not completed?" Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that these soul-searching meditations needed to be read three or four times before the full meaning dawned on the reader. Certainly, there are enough thoughts to captivate the attention when read the first time, but the reader will likely want to read them shortly after again. Thousands of readers of De Reformatie very much appreciated Schilder’s writings about matters concerning church and world, but some will have found his meditations (regularly printed in De Reformatie) too difficult and perhaps too long. They may not have realized that Schilder in Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh had disciplined himself very much to keep the meditations brief and to the point. And though they may still have been somewhat longer than often found in daily devotionals most readers will not have been bothered by the length because of the rich contents. In his introduction Schilder wrote:
"It is common among us to question whether a book of daily readings, also when it introduces itself as a book of daily readings on the Bible, would perhaps suppress the reading of the Bible itself. Now he who writes such a book with the intention to help bring the Bible closer into our lives will only rejoice at this question and the desire to maintain the prominent place of the Bible. It also gives him a sense of peace that such people, when they consider this matter so seriously, realize the legitimate place of the Bible in their lives. For he knows that the suppressing of people’s Bible reading is only left to the practice of the readers themselves. For he who loves the Bible with a strong and sincere love will not allow anything to take the place of Holy Scripture. On the other hand, he who allows a book of daily readings to replace the Bible will without doubt not yet have given the Bible its honourable place in his life. For this reason the author of this book is not concerned that it will suppress the Bible for any of its readers. The power of Holy Scripture is too great for that. He will only be delighted if every day, this work gives something so that the Bible is once again impressed upon the reader’s understanding and conscience.
"To stimulate this impression he did not add a schedule of regular Bible readings for his readers. The daily opening of Holy Scripture in the homes remains a matter of the families, where particular circumstances may dictate a plan of action.
"The author has only indicated for each day a particular portion of Scripture as introduction and further explanation of the meditation. Each daily reading is concluded by one or more lines printed in italics, to consider as the leading thought or conclusion of the meditation."
At the time of writing this preface, which sadly is also a time of apostasy in the churches that have been so greatly blessed by the works of Schilder in the past and which also will be judged by God in accordance to those blessings (the publication of these meditations at this time is mainly due to this apostasy!), the translator is not completely sure yet which meditations of Schilder will be used for the rest of the year (so far he has translated Jan. 1 - March 6 and aims to complete 366 meditations by about Dec. 1, 2012). It will likely be a series of summaries of many of the hundreds of other meditations the Lord allowed Schilder to leave for posterity. He regrets the fact that the beautiful line of the author in the first 106 meditations from Jan. 1 - April 15 will be broken (of which the readers should not skip any but rather read on subsequent days and disregard a strict adherence to the calender).
It is important to note that Schilder used the Dutch Staten Bijbel. While using it he did not hesitate to correct the translation when needed, though the Staten Bijbel may well be, even today, the most accurate Bible translation in any western language, especially when used with the very important annotations (including alternate translations, explanations, and references) written by the translators themselves. A very accurate translation of the annotations and Dutch text is in the process of being published as The Dort Study Bible. As far as it is possible it will be wise to use the Dort Study Bible to read the Scripture passages mentioned with each meditation. At this moment only Genesis to Job is available from Inheritance Publications at the Dort Study Bible page.
A good example for following this advise would be Job 19:5-15, to be read with the meditation of Jan. 6. The title of the meditation is "No Repressing." Job 19:5 in the Dort Study Bible includes the phrase "and press my reproach against me" while the NKJV has "and plead my disgrace against me". The keyword connection is lost and so is part of Schilder’s rich thought process.
The Psalms chosen for each day were selected by the translator from the 1984 edition of the Book of Praise (Anglo Genevan Psalter) which can be ordered from Inheritance Publications.
Schilder ended his introduction with these words:
"And may this book now find its way and assist those who love the Bible to find the rest which follows the labour of the soul, as often as one can honestly say:
Now the year
Will no longer pass in fear.
But cause this changeless strife,
To see a blueprint of eternal life.
Until I in world without end
[Free translation of:
Nu zal my ‘t jaar zoo schichtig niet meer vlien:
Maar dit onwisselbaar een schets doen zien
Van d’Eeuwigheid, tot ik in ‘t zonder end
— Roelof A. Janssen