2 Timothy 4:2
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”
The message “Read, Mark, Learn and Inwardly Digest” was cast in iron above the door of the public library in Stalybridge – the town in England where I grew up. In fact, the phrase comes from a prayer, written by Thomas Cranmer, and later included in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.
Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them…
I remember the phrase being quoted at a university Christian Union meeting by a student a couple of years older than I. He was leading a study group on why we should read Christian books. He had asked us what the purpose of Christian books was. Eventually, we came to the conclusion, at his guidance, that Christian literature was actually frozen preaching! As such, it has the same purpose as preaching.
“Preach the word,” the apostle Paul exhorted Timothy. “Be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon – the great 19th Century preacher – was a prolific writer of books, but he also had his sermons printed and published in several volumes. His 20th Century equivalent was probably Martyn Lloyd-Jones, whose sermons were frequently published, especially those on Ephesians and Romans.
In my own much lesser extent, I am committed to the printed word. I want to see more good books about creation and apologetics in order that Christians might be more ready, in season and out of season.