WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
NOVEMBER 19, 2021
TOPIC: GIVE ATTENTION TO READING
BY T. O. BANSO
“Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13 New King James Version).
Reading is very important to man, especially reading good books. As the saying goes, “The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” When you fail to read, you’re no better than those who can’t read. I’m not talking about reading to pass exams. I’m talking about reading to build your capacity, to upgrade your knowledge, to broaden your horizon.
It’s a tragedy today that many people don’t read. Some have never read a chapter of a book since they graduated from higher institutions! That’s why when you give them a two-page document to read, they consider it too voluminous! They’ll rather listen to music than read edifying books, and most of the music is trash.
I may not have empirical data but why do you think all these youths who produce nonsensical music are rich? Many people, including those who are older than their parents and mothers, are patronizing them, causing other young people like them to see them as role models. What a shame!
There are others, however, who read but they read only unedifying books. These people are even worse than those who don’t read at all. When last did you read a good book whether it’s an e-book or a paper book? When last did you read educative, informational material like articles, posts, etc.?
Daniel 9:2 said, “In the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem” (New King James Version). Daniel understood by reading books. If he hadn’t read the books, he wouldn’t have made the discovery that he made.
The New Living Translation puts Daniel 9:2 thus: “During the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the LORD, as revealed to Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years.” Daniel learnt from reading the word of the Lord – the books. There are treasures hidden in books that you’ll never know until you read them.
You must have heard it said that readers are leaders. That is not quite true. But leaders are readers – I’m talking about effective leaders, not those who’re just leaders by appointment. To be effective in life and leadership, you must equip yourself by reading good books, and the best of them is the Bible. You must learn from others. No one has a monopoly of knowledge.
It wasn’t only Daniel who was a good reader. Jesus was a great reader. He often referred to the Old Testament. He was quite knowledgeable and familiar with the Scriptures, including the Scriptures concerning Him. In Luke 4, after quoting from the book of Isaiah, he said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21 New King James Version). Unfortunately, there are many followers of Jesus today who’re very lazy at reading. They find it difficult to read even a short piece like this.
Paul was, probably, a voracious reader. Maybe that was why God used him to write as many as thirteen books in the Bible. While in prison, he wrote to Timothy, his protégé in the ministry, “Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come — and the books, especially the parchments” (2 Timothy 4:13 New King James Version). Another translation renders “especially the parchments” as “especially the parchment scrolls” (Aramaic Bible in Plain English). John Wesley refers to this as “The books written on parchment” (John Wesley’s Notes on the Old and New Testaments).
Paul also told Timothy, “Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13 New King James Version). The New Living Translation renders it thus: “Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.”
A minister must focus on reading the Scriptures, to and for himself, before reading the Scriptures to the church. You can’t give what you don’t have. Reading the Scriptures to the church without a lifestyle of reading the same is a mere performance. The minister must give attention to reading the Bible personally before reading it to the church.
Every child of God must give attention to reading the Bible and Bible-based books. They must read the Scriptures privately and not just listen to the public reading of Scriptures alone. Give attention to reading. And not just reading but reading good books, especially the Bible. You must study, meditate, and obey it. “ This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8 New King James Version).
The Bible tells us in Acts 19:18-19 how the magicians invested in books, which they surrendered after they were saved and the books were burnt. “And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver” (New King James Version). Look at the value of those books.
In Deuteronomy 17, one of the principles that God gave the Israelites to govern the kings that they would choose later in the Promised Land was that he must keep and read daily a copy of the law He had given the Israelites. In other words, he must give attention to reading.
Deuteronomy 17:18-20 says, “Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel” (New King James Version).
The New Living Translation puts verse 20 this way: “This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way. This will ensure that he and his descendants will reign for many generations in Israel.” Give attention to regular reading of the Scriptures. It will also help you not to turn to be proud and prevent you from disobeying God.
In Acts 8, the Ethiopian eunuch gave attention to reading the Scripture. He was reading the prophet Isaiah but didn’t understand what he was reading. God saw his problem and sent to him Philip the evangelist to help him out. He explained to him what he was reading and eventually he believed and was saved and baptized in water (Acts 8:26-39).
Furthermore, in whatever good enterprise you desire to venture into give attention to reading about it. Don’t dabble into it without acquiring enough information or operating with outdated knowledge. This is the information age and so much knowledge is available to you access and profit from. You shouldn’t be an ignorant investor and burn your fingers because of your laziness to read.
Many people today desire to succeed in a venture but they’ve not taken time to read good literature or material on it. You don’t need to enrol in a school and pay fees before you can acquire some knowledge. Read! Benefit from other people’s wisdom and experience. Give attention to reading. Many professions emphasize continuous reading to update knowledge. They know the danger of obsolete knowledge.
As said by a great believer in reading, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, a Christian and motivational speaker and author, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Develop a good reading habit from today. Those who read unedifying books should stop it. If you’re a good reader, continue reading good books, especially, the Bible.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of laziness that has hindered me from giving my attention to reading the Bible and Bible-based books as much as I should. I shall discipline myself and give attention to reading as from today in Jesus ‘ name. Holy Spirit, give me understanding as I read and help me to apply profitably the knowledge I acquire.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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