I thought that these quotes from the Desiring God blog about the vital importance of the written word were absolutely fantastic. Please read and enjoy, PS.
When we think of missions, most of us typically have in mind the classic missionary crossing cultures for the sake of the Gospel. This is a vital part of God’s plan as we consider the more recent emphasis on From Everywhere, To Everywhere. But, many are not aware of the vital role that literature and the written word have played in spreading Truth to the nations.
To grow in our understanding of the power of the written word in the cause of missions, here are seven important quotations.
1. The Spreading Capacity of Books
If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation. If truth be not diffused, error will be; if God and His Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy; if the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will.
2. The Essentiality of Books
C.H. Spurgeon on 2 Timothy 4:13—
Paul is inspired yet he wants books: he has been preaching nearly thirty years, yet he wants books: he has a wider experience than most people, yet he wants books: he has been caught up into heaven and heard things which it is unlawful to utter yet he wants books: he has written the major part of the New Testament, yet he wants books.
3. The Continuity of Books
There are two things in the entire history of missions that have been absolutely central. One, obviously, is the Bible itself. The other is the printed page. There is absolutely nothing else, in terms of mission methodology that outranks the importance of the printed page. Meetings come and go and personalities appear and are gone. But, the printed page continues to speak.
4. The Versatility of Books
Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe—
…printed books are more portable than pulpits, more numerous than priests, and the messages they contain are more easily internalized (169).
5. The Penetration of Books
The printed page is a missionary that can go anywhere and do so at minimum cost. It enters closed lands and reaches all strata of society. It does not grow weary. It needs no furlough. It lives longer than any missionary. It never gets ill. It penetrates through the mind to the heart and conscience. It has and is producing results everywhere. It has often lain dormant yet retained its life and bloomed years later.
6. The Transcendence of Books
Those of us who have been true readers all our life seldom fully realize the enormous extension of our being, which we owe to authors. We realize it best when we talk with an unliterary friend. He may be full of goodness and good sense but he inhabits a tiny world. In it, we should be suffocated. The man who is contented to be only himself, and therefore less a self, is in prison. My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through those of others. Reality, even seen through the eyes of many, is not enough. I will see what others have invented….
In reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.
7. The Sanctifying Power of Books
[I do not] want to leave the impression that reading many books is important. Reading great books and reading them well is what is important. Meditative reading, reading which stops and ponders, reading which sees deep into reality – that is the kind of reading which profits. That kind of reading should never end for you. Growth and stimulation and transformation will never end for you. You will be in the company of the greatest minds and hearts for the rest of your life, and you will become their peers if you read for understanding and for life.