The Importance of the Written Word

The written word is a very important part of God's plan. When God gave the ten commandments to Israel He wrote them on stones. The ministry of Christ was based on the written word: "And he said unto them. These are my words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses, and the prophets, and the Psalms concerning me" (Luke 24:44). To this we add: "And he said unto them, Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer, and rise again from the dead, the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem" (Luke 24:46,47).

Again, we appeal to scripture for the place of the written word in the plan of God. We are believers because of the written word. "Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and believing ye may have life in his name" (John 20:30,31). So we have the message of Jesus and we are to teach it to every creature (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15,16). God taught by oral teaching and by writing. If we follow the divine example we shall do likewise.

Paul wrote to Timothy, and hence to us: "Till I come give heed to reading, to exhortation, to teaching" (I Timothy 4:16). Then Paul advises: "Take heed to thyself, and to thy teaching, continue in these things; for in doing this thou shalt save both thyself and them that hear thee" (I Timothy 4:16).

In connection with our printed teaching program we could well heed the admonition: "And the things which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also" (I Timothy 2:2). Let me give you an example of what we do in India with the printed word. I have recently written two tracts, one is written on the Holy Spirit and one is called The Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken. These will go out to thousands of people in four languages. They are in exact conformity with the reading and hearing of God's word that I have done for more than 70 years. I am doing by means of the printed page what I was told to do in II Timothy 2:2.

How true it is, what Jesus says in Luke 16:8: "...for the sons of this world are wiser in their own generation than the sons of light." Look at what the Jehovah Witnesses have done, to say nothing of the Communists, the Adventists, the Liberals, etc. We cannot name a sect or a political philosophy that has not thrived on the printed page. I know the devil is happy when we do not read good literature. When we do not put out millions of tracts and Bible Correspondence courses. When we do not print good books to answer the errors of this world. Truth is stronger than error, but if we do not use it, it is not strong.

The greatest preacher of all time, except the divine Son of God, was a great reader. Paul was awaiting death. He was in a cold dark cell, but listen to his instructions to Timothy: "...bring when thou comest the books, especially the parchments" (II Timothy 4:13). Did not Paul say that we were to be imitators of him?

J.C. Bailey, 1985, Bengough, Saskatchewan

Published in The Old Paths Archive