When was the last time you read a book? Was it for class? How long did you spend reading? Did you finish the book? I believe that it is suffice to say that reading is not as appreciated as it use to be. The factors that contributed to this dilemma can range from home training to cultural context. However, whatever the cause, it seems to be gaining popularity as a practice. If you want to be a ‘party-pooper’ gather the masses for a reading experience (smile). It is time to consider what we have been doing with this wonderful thing call reading and see if we can re-introduce it back into our lives.
As with most things in this world, people are looking for incentives. Four questions comes to mind when dealing with this:
- Is there a profit to be made?
- How much will the profit be?
- What is the sacrifice that is needed?
- Is it worth the sacrifice?
These questions are usually evaluated quickly without the realization that the conclusions maybe erroneous due to missing considerations. If you really want to find the correct answer to something, you will leave no stone unturned (to the best of your ability). The conclusions that we reach will not only affect us, those that are around, but also those that depend on us—both present and future. The discipline that reading brings to the mind is a necessity for the growth and development of society. It is also important for the spiritual development of a disciple of Christ.
In John 8.31, Jesus states what might be seen as a summary of what it means to be His disciple. This small verse can be broken down into three sections:
|Description (perhaps there is a better terminology)||“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed in Him”|
|If Statement-“A”||“If you continue in my word”|
|Then Statement-“B”||“Then you are truly disciples of Mine”|
The ‘if-then’ declaration—known as the ‘conditional statement’—makes it possible to understand that in order for “B” to be true, the requirements stated in “A” must be met. In other words, it is impossible to remain a disciple of Christ without continuing in His word. The word that is translated continue [Gr. mei,nhte from me,nw] means to “remain, stay” (Gingrich, Greek NT Lexicon). The words of Christ are words that His disciples can’t do without. The understanding that Jesus brings to our minds is that His words are those with which his disciples ‘live’ by. They dwell according to the counsels found within because they themselves are connected with the One. The words of Jesus to the disciple must be as sweet as the saying; “There is no place like Home.”
It is difficult to continue in a word that we don’t know. It will result in our doom if we submit to the present culture’s departure from reading. We need to know so that we can be sure that we are continuing. In order to know, we need to read. Hearing someone else read the scriptures to us can only go so far. Time need to be spent in reading, meditating, prayer, and applying. Is being a disciple enough of an incentive?