I do love to read and recently figured out a myriad of reasons why I must own a Kindle. The only problem is the ease of purchasing books. I find myself just clicking away on the Amazon site. I want that one, and that one and that one! A few seconds later the text magically appears on my machine. And since the charge goes onto my American Express card, those minimal charges don’t even appear for weeks. It is just too easy…I am going to be forced to exercise some self-control!
As I was considering how wonderful this set up is, I got to thinking about the joy and importance of reading. And those thoughts caused me to consider the reading habits of the rest of our country. Did you know that the average newspaper is written at a 6th to 8th grade level? And the easier the read, the more papers are sold. Or as one writer put it, “…the dumber the writing, the higher the readership.”
Romance novels are usually at a 5th grade reading level. Popular novels like those from Grisham, Clancy, King and Cussler are all at about a 7th grade level. Magazines like “TV Guide” and the “Reader’s Digest” are at the 9th grade level.
And according to one website (www.hamradio-online.com), the “White House writes its press releases at the same level as the Nickelodeon children’s TV network.”
When you consider that 42 million adult Americans can not read at all and another 8 million are considered functionally illiterate, we have a problem. We spend over $10 billion every year on literacy education and still 20 % of high school seniors struggle to read at all.
With that as the back drop, consider Paul’s personal words to his young protégé, Timothy. In II Timothy 2:15, he says “Study (anther translation says “Do your best”) to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of God.”
The original Greek word for “study” means to make every effort, to be eager, to be diligent. Paul impresses on this inexperienced pastor the real need to study God’s Word. And of course, that process begins with reading. It is reading with the intention to apply it to one’s life.
This week, you and I ought to clean off our glasses, prop up our Bibles and do some serious reading. Regardless of our reading level, God’s Spirit will take the words off the page and teach us, rebuke us, encourage us and sustain us in our daily living.
Go ahead, read God’s Word FOR LIFE!