“Many read, but few are readers,” a knowing Russian penned and also said the good reader identifies not with the characters but with the mind that conceived them. A U.S. university professor said the good reader ignores himself and keeps his attention fixed on the text and does not add or take away from the context.
John Ruskin wrote, “Be sure that you go to the author to get at his meaning, not to find yours.”
And from Mccosh, “The book to read is not the one which thinks for you, but the one which makes you think. No book in the world equals the Bible for that.”
Paul told Timothy (2 Tim 3:16) that all scripture is God-breathed. God wants us to be good readers of His word; to know His thoughts and identify with Him, to ignore ourselves.
Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, said, “The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one Shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end and much study wearies the body (Eccl 12:11.”)
Other wise men agreed:
Socrates, “A multitude of books distracts the mind.”
Martin Luther, “The multitude of books is a great evil.”
Mao Zedong, “To read too many books is harmful.”
John Wesley, “Beware you be not swallowed up in books! An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge.”
In addition to being good readers, God would have us be selective readers. One book is all we need. In the Bible, Jesus lives from cover to cover. His is the never-ending story. The truly good reader learns and loves His Word.
In the words of E. M. Forster, “What is so wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote, and brings to birth in us also the creative impulse…we reach what seems to be our spiritual home, and remember that it was not the speaker who was in the beginning but the Word.”
John began his gospel, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1),” and ended it, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written (John 21:25.”)
At the very heart of the Bible are the Psalms and we are told to not just read them, but to sing them and to write the words on our hearts.
“If a book comes from the heart it will contrive to reach other hearts,” Thomas Carlyle.
In Revelation John writes that Jesus said, “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near (1:3.)”
There are many living today who are spiritually blind and illiterate. God wants us, the good readers, to share His word through our lives, so that they may see Jesus too. If they can’t--or won’t--read the book, we can act it out for them.
“Americans will listen, but they do not care to read…Americans know that books contain a person, and they want the person, not the book,” Anthony Burgess.
“The age of the book is almost gone,” George Steiner.
“The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story,” Ursula K. LeGuin.
How can we accomplish this? Acts 2! “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. When they heard the sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language (NIV 2:4,6.)”
Henry Miller said, “Until it is kindled by a spirit as flamingly alive as the one which gave it birth a book is dead to us.”
“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark,” from Victor Hugo.
If we allow the Holy Spirit to come upon us, He can show us how to share God’s word with others in a way they can see and understand. We can become God’s sign, His reading rainbow.
Author’s note: All scripture from NIV
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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