In Western culture we almost take the ability to read for granted! It is unimaginable failing to educate people to a basic level where they can read and write, among many other skills. The ability to read is such a basic requirement for making your way through life.
The fact you understand what I am talking about in this blog means that you can read! Well, being honest, it means that you can translate the squiggles and strokes on the page or screen into words. If I am incapable of writing well or of expressing my ideas then you may read the words but have no idea what I'm trying to say. So reading with understanding is vital.
Last night I was giving a talk on the first eleven verses of the Book of Revelation. I came across three words that seem vital when trying to complete the communicator loop. When a writer wants to make sure the reader understands what they are saying he or she has to communicate effectively. The words I came across are 'read,' hear,' and 'keep.' To read means literally to know again, to distinguish between or to recognise. In other words reading isn't just about looking at the words but understanding and retaining what they mean at a deeper level. To hear, again has a deeper meaning than just hearing sounds but to listen, to understand, to attend. The last word, keep, has the idea of watching, guarding from, keeping your eye on and preserving the information.
These ideas can be applied to any genre of reading material but they do have special significance in the context in which they were written. The Bible, which I refer to as God's word, brings a message to humanity that is of immense significance and demands reading, hearing and keeping in the truest sense of the words.
Let me quote a couple of bible verses to that show the significance of hearing God's word and the mortal danger of ignoring it:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
One of the dangers of technological advancement (there are many advantages) is that people are lured away from reading. Gene Edward Veigh in his excellent book 'Reading between the lines' says 'The habit of reading is absolutely critical today, particularly for Christians. As television turns our society into an increasingly image-dominated dominated culture, Christians must continue to be people of the Word. When we read, we cultivate a sustained attention span, an active imagination a capacity for logical analysis and critical thinking, and a rich inner life. Each of these qualities, which have proven themselves essential to a free people, is under assault in our TV-dominated culture. Christians, to maintain their Word-centered perspective in an image-driven driven world, must become readers".
Can I appeal to you to read widely and in particular the 'Word of God'. It will be your salvation as far your mind and life on this earth is concerned and, I pray, it will be the means of your eternal well being and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
For more information and further explanations of the message of the bible via videos, blogs and podcasts please visit www.seekthetruth.org.uk