Reading the Holy Scripture
TRUTH, not eloquence, is to be sought in reading the Holy Scriptures; & every part must be read in the spirit in which it was written. For in the Scriptures we ought to seek profit rather than polished diction.
Likewise we ought to read simple & devout books as willingly as learned & profound ones. We ought not to be swayed by the authority of the writer, whether he be a great literary light or an insignificant person, but by the love of simple truth. We ought not to ask who is speaking, but mark what is said. Men pass away, but the truth of the Lord remains forever. God speaks to us in many ways without regard for person.
Our curiosity often impedes our reading of the Scriptures, when we wish to understand & mull over what we ought simply to read & pass by.
If you would profit from it, therefore, read with humility, simplicity, & faith, & never seek a reputation for being learned. Seek willingly & listen attentively to the words of the saints; do not be displeased with the sayings of the ancients, for they were not made without a purpose.
I read these words from Thomas a' Kempis in his well-known book, The Imitation of Christ. This book was always one I knew that I should read, but never got around to it until this weekend. This small, brief book is jam-packed with truth & poignant thought. These words above jumped off the page to me. Often do I bypass an author I have not heard of for one whose reputation precedes him. I also have been known to look over small devotional books for those whose weight is more than just the words. One instance of this was when my parents gave me a little book called The Red Sea Rules. It is a little, gift-type looking book. I wrote it off & let it sit for months. One afternoon, I had some time & read it in an afternoon. I found it quite helpful with what I was going through at the time. From then on, I decided that quality of the book should not be determined from its size.
Another point a' Kempis makes is that we should not seek to come across as learned. This is something I struggle with on a regular basis. I often think I have worth in what I know & how much I have learned. This is erroneous on two accounts. First, I have worth because of who made me & who loves me. Second, my worth would be so low, because there will always be someone who knows vastly more than I do.
In the copy of the book I read, Steven James (author of Story) says this about it - "Nibble at it. Take time to reflect on it...Savor Thomas' words. As you do, you'll sense the depth of his spiritual understanding." I look forward to gleaning more & more insight from Thomas a' Kempis as I mull over his words in the upcoming days, months & years.
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