Our Need to Read
In a book entitled “The Wonders of the Word of God,” author Robert Sumner tells the story of a man from Kansas City who had suffered through an explosion. The victim was injured severely. He lost his eyesight as well as both of his hands. His face was disfigured and he was in much pain. Shortly before the explosion, he had become a Christian and he was greatly disappointed that without hands and eyes, he would never be able to read his Bible.
After some time, he heard of a woman who had learned to read Braille with her lips, so this man set himself to the task. He sent off for several books of the Bible in Braille and set himself to the task of learning Braille and reading the Bible with his lips. Unfortunately, he quickly discovered that the nerve endings in his lips were also damaged, and, he could not feel well enough to understand Braille. One day, as he desperately tried to feel the bumps with his lips again, he happened to touch his tongue to the page and realized he could “feel” with his tongue. By the time Sumner met this Kansas City man, he had “read” through the Bible four times… with his tongue! What dedication and focus. He not only learned to read Braille, but he did so with his tongue.
I remember my great, great aunt who taught herself to read as a young woman, only because she wanted to read the Bible. She was not able to go to school as a young girl, because she had to help take care of her younger siblings. When she got married, she desperately wanted to read her Bible so she taught herself to read. She never read other books, but I remember listening to her read her Bible every day.
Back during America’s old days, there are stories told of exceptional students of the Bible. One such student named Alexander Campbell wrote of his winter study habits:
Arrangement for studies for winter of 1810. One hour to read Greek – from 8 to 9 in the morning. One hour to read Latin – from 11 to 12 in the morning. One half hour to [read] Hebrew – between 12 and 1 p.m. Commit ten verses of the Scriptures to memory each day, and read the same in the original languages, with Henry and Scott’s notes and practical observations.
For this exercise we shall allow two hours. These exercises, being intended for every day, will not be dispensed with. Other reading and studies as occasion may serve. These studies in all require four and a half hours. Church history, and divers other studies, are intended to constitute the principal part of my other literary pursuits.
Most of us will not read through the Bible, in the most favorable circumstances, a single time in our whole lives. We have comfortable environments, plenty of light, eyes to read with, easy translations to understand, and about every other accommodation with which to ease our study habits, yet we often fail to even find five minutes a day for reading. We should learn from the diligence and desire of those in the past. We should develop a greater habit in our personal study.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2.15).