The Power Of The Written Word

June 29, 2013

The Power Of The Written Word

            The written word has made a dramatic change on the history of humanity.  Some historians divide the history of humanity in two parts.  First is man’s history before Gutenberg and the second is his history after Gutenberg.  Gutenberg, you know, was the inventor of the printing press in 1440.  By 1500 there were book stores in all the major cities in Europe.  By that time there were already 8 million copies of books.  Most of the books were Bibles or religious books, but some were novels.  Other inventions that have facilitated the spread of the written word have been the typewriter, the computer, and more recently electronic readers.

Human progress was stagnant during the years of the middle ages.  Most people didn’t know how to read or write.  Learning consisted in little more than learning how to do things with their hands.  Life, for them, was a struggle to get just the basic necessities of life.  They learned how to cultivate a plot of ground and care for a few animals. They made their clothes with leather and put a roof on their house with tree branches.  It was a miserable existence.

Thankfully, the great majority in our day know how to read and write.  They have a basic education.  It is unfortunate, however, that there are so many who don’t take advantage of the written word.  It is an open door that makes it possible for us to increase our knowledge.  Some say, “Ah, but books are expensive and I can’t afford them.” But, are you reading the Bible?  If you don’t have one, some Christians will gladly give you one if you can’t afford to buy one.  If your church has a library, are you taking advantage of it?  Public libraries loan books and it doesn’t cost you anything.  Every young person and adult in a church should be in the process of reading a book in his or her free time.

Some say, “But I don’t have time to read.” The problem with those who say that is that they just don’t give it importance.  They have time to watch television.  They have time for entertainment.  The pioneer missionary Wm. Carey, worked as a shoe cobbler before going to the mission field.  He didn’t have much free time to study so he worked with a book open on his cobbler’s bench and glanced at it from time to time.  If you really want to read, you will find time for it.

Jesus gave us the great commission that we find in Matthew 28:19.  “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Fulfilling that commandment has been greatly facilitated in recent years by means of literature.  Before that, it was mostly done by word of mouth.  Yes, we still need to  make personal contact, but we can also give them literature to read that will explain and confirm the message we want to give them.

Our failure to do what we should is often hindered because we don’t know what we should do. The Apostle Paul wanted Christians to know what they should do and why they should do it.  We can see that in his prayer that is recorded for us in Colossians 1:9-14    “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;   That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;   Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:   Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” There is nothing gained by ignorance.  On the other hand, there is much to be gained by knowledge.  Not all knowledge is profitable.  Apart from having knowledge of a profession that allows us to make a living, we need to know how to make wise decisions in life.  Bible knowledge enables us to make those decisions.

Even though you have never enrolled in college, you can still get a good education.  It is possible by reading.  You won’t get it just by reading novels.  You need to choose with care the content of your reading.  I’m convinced that no one has a good education unless he has a good measure of Bible knowledge.  You can’t get that knowledge just by reading the Bible once.  It needs to be studied and applied.  People with good Bible knowledge tend to make wise decisions in life.  They have discernment and know on which side of issues they should be.  Having a good education is no guarantee that you will find a good job.  Many college graduates today are finding that their degree doesn’t guarantee them a job.  Having a good education opens the door to us to a satisfying and fulfilling life.  That is something that can’t be measured in money.

In our day we have access to a wealth of good books.  I consider my library one of my greatest assets, but it certainly hasn’t been my greatest investment.  Many good books can be purchased for $2.00 or less in second hand stores.  If you have an electronic reader you can get many good books free.  Many can be purchased for less than $10.00.

I commend you, my reader friend, for having read this article.  You need to set a goal of reading, if possible,   one hour each day.  You need to plan your daily schedule.  You may need to sacrifice some things you are doing that are mostly entertainment.

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