When We Can’t Read

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This is not about “won’t read,” but about “can’t read.”

Today, AFP reported the following from the Middle East:

“Nearly one in three people in the Arab world is illiterate, including nearly half of all women in the region, the Tunis-based Arab League Educational Cultural and Scientific Organisation said Monday.”

It is impossible to state how distressing this report is. Why? Because it highlights the real problem with the Arab world – ignorance. Moreover, without the ability to read, one cannot actually sit down with the Scripture and see what it states for themselves. They cannot honestly compare texts such as the Koran and the Bible and see the inconsistencies between the two. Though the Muslim claims that they must believe the Bible, and that they accept the Bible, there are glaring inconsistencies between the two. Only when one can read, can actual comparison be made, and the Scriptural command to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (I Thessalonians 5:21) be followed.

Instead, those who cannot read are left at the mercy of those who would “teach” them. One of the most precious things the LORD God has given us is the ability to read and understand what we read. He did this for us because our LORD is a LORD of words and desires to communicate the truth to us through His written word. But without the ability to read, this becomes impossible. One is trapped in a prison of ignorance, unable to learn the truth for themselves and become free.

The LORD God has much to say in His word about the fact that He desires that we know for sure who He is and what He has done for us. So much so, that he insured the following passages were carefully set in His word:

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:8-11)

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:31-36)

I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (John 12:46-48)

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. (Psalm 138:2)

Why does the LORD state these things in His word? Because he wants us to know Him and what He requires of us. Moreover, He wants us to be able to determine the truth for ourselves. The LORD is ever desirous that we are able to read His word, then ask Him for understanding. He will honor the one who asks truly wanting to know and understand.

It is no accident that there is such a parallel between the word of God (the Scripture) and the Word of God (the Lord Jesus Christ). Though the Lord Jesus Christ does not walk among men today, we have His word whereby we can assuredly know Him and all He has done. After all, the LORD God moved Jeremiah to write the following passage to give us the assurance that we can personally know Him through His word:

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

But how can you if you can’t read?

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