Why is reading so important today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
For thousands of years, people who could read were at a minimum. Today, we so take it for granted that a common objection against the Gospels is “Why didn’t anyone write this down earlier?” The idea is that obviously, you write the message down because everyone can read and that’s the fastest and best way to communicate. Back then, it wasn’t.
Today, you would be surprised to meet someone in the West who can’t read. Our phones with simple instructions for games even depends on it. We have road signs that depend on it. Go to a restaurant and you have a menu and they don’t normally have pictures in them of everything. You are expected to read.
Today, too many people don’t. I still remember visiting an old college professor who during the summer break asked a student what he was reading to be told, “Nothing.” I wish I was surprised by that story, but I’m not. Too many people today don’t really study at all.
About a year or so ago, I remember being in a check-out line at the grocery store and somehow the topic turned to the book I was reading and some reference was made to Daniel in the Lion’s Den. The kid at the register had no idea what I was talking about. Even if you don’t believe the Bible to be true, to be a functioning member in Western society, you at least need a basic knowledge of the Bible and the stories therein.
Those who don’t read are those who are not going to be learning in their positions. Yes. You can go on YouTube and watch videos and get good content sometimes and you can go to podcasts and get some good content, but most of the time, the real in-depth material doesn’t come out except in books. Most scholars aren’t dishing out their works entirely for free.
At this, I would also like to say that I suspect most of my audience is Christian and you’re saying, “I do read. I read my Bible everyday.” That’s wonderful. I’m not opposed to that a bit. However, you need to be reading more than the Bible. If you’re in ministry, definitely.
It has been said that a man of the book will be a man of many books. I thoroughly agree with this. This isn’t just reading books about the Bible. This is learning about the world we live in.
Every minister should seek to be as educated as possible. Some might say the apostles never went to a Seminary, but let’s consider that. These guys had about three years training directly under Jesus. I think any Christian I know who has seminary training, including myself, would trade their training for that.
A Christian should also be learning about the world besides Scripture. They should learn science, history, economics, math, philosophy, etc. It is all God’s truth and it is all worth knowing. C.S. Lewis said years ago one of the greatest blessings in the world would be that if someone wanted to learn about an academic topic, the best works were always by Christians.
If you’re a scientist, be the best one you can be for Jesus. If you’re a doctor, be the best one you can be for Jesus. Same for economist, fashion designer, journalist, waiter, etc. As long as the job is a moral job, do the best you can at it as if working for Jesus.
Read. If you don’t have much money, go to the library and read books for free. Drive a lot? Get audiobooks at the library. Read while traveling. I’m reading Jordan Peterson’s Twelve Rules For Life while driving now.
Don’t be hesitant to read fiction either. You can learn good material from fiction and be entertained at the same time. C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien both wrote fiction that sticks with us today. I’m reading through the Regan Reilly mystery series now by Carol Higgins Clark.
Bottom line is read. It will not hurt your reputation when people can tell that you know what you’re talking about because you read. You will also be better able to interact with the world around you. That will greatly help your impact for Christ.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)