[forthright] "Have You Never Read?"

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 6 Mar 2009 07:15:50 -0800 (PST)
Forthright Magazine 
Straight to the Cross

A story of friends. A study of salvation. 'Discovering
the Kingdom of God,' by Tim Hall.


"Have You Never Read?" 
 by Tim Hall

March 5 was World Book Day, celebrated in various
places with librarians' enthusiastic support. To draw
attention to the esteem people generally give to
reading, a poll was conducted on the web site that
promoted the day. Over 1,300 people participated in the

The questions were simple: People were asked if they
had ever lied about reading a book and, if so, which
book? Two-thirds of the respondents admitted that they
had at some point not been honest in their claim of
having read a certain book. The books about which
people most often lied were George Orwell's "1984"
(42%), Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace" (31%), James
Joyce's "Ulysses" (25%), and the Bible (24%). The books
most people said they enjoyed reading were the Harry
Potter series by J.K. Rowling (61%).

What do we make of these findings? There are many who
attempt to make themselves look more impressive by
lying about their reading habits. Somewhere along the
way, however, the truth will likely come out. The
dishonesty of the pretenders is often unveiled.

Jesus encountered those who claimed to be "experts" in
the law of Moses. They challenged Jesus' popularity by
trying to make him look blasphemous, or by flaunting
their own supposed superiority in education. These
enemies of the Lord never succeeded in their quests.

On one occasion Jesus struck at the root of their
problem: "Have you never read?" (Matthew 21:42, NKJV).
He then quoted from one of the Psalms to show the
accuracy of his teaching and the fallacy of their own.
Did Jesus mean to imply that they had never actually
read from that psalm? More likely he was charging them
with failing to consider the entirety of God's word.

Reading the revealed word of God is one of our most
basic tasks. There are those who claim to read it
regularly, but their errors and oversights reveal that
they're not at all familiar with God's word. Others
read it but allow preconceived ideas to overshadow the
truth that is actually taught.

The Christians of Berea set the standard: "These were
more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that
they received the word with all readiness, and searched
the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things
were so" (Acts 17:11). In each of us are shortcomings
of understanding of God's will, or erroneous views of
certain aspects of that will. The only way to be
complete ("perfect," KJV) is to come regularly to the
scriptures God has given us (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

One day the Lord may ask us a simple question: "Have
you never read what was written?" Let us be diligent so
that we will not be ashamed at the honest answer we'll
have to give (2 Timothy 2:15).

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