Reading is one of the habits that’s very difficult for most of us to get into. I think part of the reason is because we are very much an oral culture. We tend to accumulate our knowledge by the things that our parents said to us, what our teachers have said to us and perhaps even the village storytellers have said to us. We don’t necessarily go to books for a lot of our knowledge and that has been part of our own failure as a Christian church on the African continent. If there is a matter, therefore, that we desperately need to address, it is that of developing a reading culture.
The Bible encourages us to read
Part of that has to do with a reading culture that enables us to be Bible students. Now, it might surprise you, but in fact the Bible itself seeks to encourage us to be Bible readers. let me prove it to you by going to 2 Peter, chapter 1. I won’t read the whole of it. But the apostle Peter rejoices in the fact that the prophetic words have now been inscripturated. So that we now have God’s word in writing.
We may not have genuine prophets receiving God’s word directly to them so that they can utter it before us. But, we have the prophecies in this book
Let the truth dawn on your soul
But secondly, he also urges us to expose ourselves to that which is written until it’s truths dawn on our souls. As though it is the rising of the sun in the morning. Listen to this. 2 Peter, chapter 1, and we begin reading from verse 19. “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention.” Listen to this: “as to a lamp shining in the dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture.” Notice! ‘Prophecy of Scripture.’ “Comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
Let me urge you, especially today when Bibles are available in so many languages, make sure you don’t only own a Bible but that you read it regularly.
The point of Peter there is this: that yes we may not have genuine prophets receiving God’s word directly to them so that they can utter it before us. But, we have the prophecies in this book. And for us to really grow into mature believers we need to expose our souls to what is written here. By reading, and reading, and meditating, and meditating. Until these truths grip us and transform us from the inside out.
We also have the saints
Allow me to also quickly add that we don’t just have the Bible. But across the ages – praise the Lord! We have had Bible scholars, church pastors, who have not only studied the Bible, but they have written books that have grown out of their study of the Bible and their experience in walking with God. Those books are with us. A lot of them across history. Some of them are being written now.
Deliberately give yourself targets… Have a number of titles that you work through and you will see the benefit.
Set yourself targets
I want to urge you to deliberately give yourself targets. This year I want to read 10 books. This year I want to read 20 books. This year I want to read 30 books! Have a number of titles that you work through and you will see the benefit. You will have the ministry of your pastor, yes. Your church leaders, yes. But you will also have the ministry of the saints right across the ages! What a difference it will make to your life. Not only for your own sake, but once you become a truly matured believer, with this kind of knowledge, you will be a bulwark in your own day for the children of God. Lets make sure we are readers. Readers of the Bible and readers of good Christian books. Africa will never be the same again.
Lets make sure we are readers. Readers of the Bible and readers of good Christian books. Africa will never be the same again.