The Poverty of Those Who Don’t Read

January 22, 2014

The Poverty of Those Who Don’t Read

            Unfortunate are those who never learned to read.  Those who know how to read, but don’t are equally unfortunate.  Revelation 1:3 says, “Blessed is he that readeth.”

If someone were to ask you, “What book are you reading?” Would you have to say, “I’m not reading a book?”  I hope you are at least reading the Bible, but apart from that, are you reading a book?

Unfortunately, the custom of reading is diminishing. The sale of books, magazines and newspapers is decreasing.  Some newspapers that some years ago were printed in hundreds of thousands of copies have now gone out of circulation.

The dark ages was a time in the world’s history when only a few knew how to read. Perhaps part of the reason for that was because there wasn’t much available to read.  There was very little scientific advancement in the dark ages.  People learned to plant   seeds and cultivate plants to keep from starving.  They put up a simple shack to have a roof over their heads.  They cooked over an open fire.  Everything began to change after 1440 with the invention of the printing press.  The age of enlightenment began.  The printed word began to appear in pamphlets, magazines and books.  People started learning to read so they could read them.  This gave rise to the opening of schools and colleges, and a great advance in knowledge.  We are still enjoying the results of the age of enlightenment.

There is much reason to think that we are starting on the downward slope that will take us back to the dark ages. Young people are graduating from high school with little ability or desire to read. The public library is now a place to go to use the computers, not to read the books and magazines.

Could it be that this decline began when the television became a part of every household?  It is much easier to be informed about what is happening in the world by watching the television.  Instead of reading novels, people now watch them on the television or on their DVD player.

It’s not likely that people will start throwing out their televisions.  We could live without them, but If we have one it needs to be kept  in its proper place.  We are being informed by means of the television, but we aren’t being educated.  Much more knowledge can be obtained by reading.  Many are sacrificing knowledge for entertainment.  Many aren’t even being rightly informed by means of the television.  Often the news is presented from a distorted point of view.  Much of the television entertainment is corrupting the minds of the viewers.

Books can also corrupt our minds if we aren’t careful in their selection.  If you start to read a book and see that it condones immorality, you should be quick to discard it.  Often the titles of  books, or the pictures on the front cover, are enough to tell you that it won’t be wholesome reading.

Some don’t read because they find it difficult.  Unfortunately, many of our public schools are doing a poor job of teaching children how to read.  Many times that is also the fault of  parents who haven’t taught their children to respect authority.

Most people have learned the basics of reading.  Many find it hard to read because they haven’t been taught to sound out words phonetically.  If that is your problem, you could buy a book on phonics for between $10.00 – 20.00.  Perhaps you could ask a friend to teach you phonics. Facility in reading comes through practice.  The more you read, the easier it is.  The more vocabulary you learn, the more understanding you will have of what you read.  If you don’t have much vocabulary, don’t start by reading a technical book.  Read something simple.  In the early days of our country, the Bible was often the first book children learned to read.  That would be a good place for you to start also.

Some read because they like to read.  Some read because they want to increase their knowledge.  Reading opens up new avenues of understanding.  Reading isn’t boring if we have a desire to learn.  As I write this, I’m flying across the Atlantic Ocean in the Spirit of St. Louis with Charles Lindberg.  Not really, but it’s as if I were by reading his autobiography.

Some ask if it is alright to read novels.  It depends on their content.  Some have immoral content.  Reading novels may help increase your vocabulary, but apart from that, it’s mostly entertaining.  There are historical novels that are both entertaining and educational.

We have at our disposal an enormous selection of good books.  Second hand stores always have used books for sale at a cheap price.  If you buy a book and decide it isn’t worth reading, you haven’t lost much.  Take advantage of your public library.  By means of the internet we have access to thousands of books.  A good source is Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.  A convenient way of getting books, and disposing of those you no longer want, is paperbackswap.com.  You can get books free, but if someone wants a book you have listed that you no longer want, you pay the postage to send it to them.

You can order, download, and read electronic books on your computer. Electronic book readers are the modern way to read.      It is more convenient to have an electronic reader.  The two most common are the Kindle reader from Amazon.com and the Nook reader from barnesandnoble.com.  Electronic books can be purchased for a fraction of what the hardbacks or paperbacks cost.  There are many that are free from amazon.com and Gutenberg.org.

When you go to a Christian book store, don’t expect that just any book will be of sound doctrine.  It is good to know something about the authors and the publishers.

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for being negligent in reading.  In Matthew 12:3 he said to them, “Have ye not read what David did…?”  Again in Matthew 19:4 he said to them “Have ye not read…?” In Luke 6:3 he was even more direct with them.  He said, “Have ye not read so much as this, what David did…?”  I believe God expects us to be reading.  We have a wide selection of good Christian books at our disposal that will help you grow in your Christian life.  Some are biographies of great Christians.  Some deal with Christian doctrine.  Many offer help in dealing with problems we often face.

Books were not readily available when the Bible was written.  The Apostle Paul exhorted young Timothy to “give attendance to reading” (I Timothy 4:13).  If there had been books available, no doubt we would find more exhortation in the Bible about reading.

Don’t miss the blessing that is available to you through reading.  Books should be among your possessions.  When the Apostle Paul knew that Timothy was coming, he gave him the request found in II Timothy 4:13.  “The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.” Books were important to Paul.  They should be to you also.

Our e-mail address is: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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