|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Writing and Reading”
Our Bible verse for today: “After this letter has been read at your gathering, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea.” Colossians 4:16 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “The printing press changed everything”
History is a little fuzzy regarding who actually invented the first printing press. We do know that the Chinese had a very crude form of a press in the late 800s A.D. which used wooden blocks and produced only a single copy at a time. In the 1300s the Koreans had a more advanced version of the press which involved moveable type and which was a little faster than the Chinese printing press.
But it was in 1436 that a German goldsmith by the name of Johannes Gutenberg invented a mechanical movable printing press that was efficient, dependable, and fast, and which launched humanity into the era of mass media. Prior to this, printed literature was produced painstakingly slowly and at great expense. But now it could be copied quickly, in quantity, and inexpensively. Soon broadsheets, newspapers, pamphlets, books, and especially Bibles were being mass produced and widely disseminated.
As a result, from that point forward, the literacy rate in Europe more than doubled every 100 years. Now that printed material was so widely available, everyone wanted to know how to read. And read they did! Especially the Bible. The advent of the printing press, and the corresponding widespread availability of the Bible in the language the people actually spoke, helped to spur the Protestant Reformation.
So, what a tragic turn of events that today the trend is in the opposite direction. As we’ve already learned this month, fewer and fewer people do very much serious reading anymore – not even reading of the Bible. Instead, there’s a sad regression taking place. Digital technology has clearly brought with it a corresponding trend towards short superficial reading rather than the deep reading (which used to be so common), like that which spurred both the cultural renaissance and the scientific revolution of the1600-1700s. This regression cannot bode well for civilization.
The answer, of course, is for each of us to read more, and to encourage others to read – especially the Bible. If we can’t get Christians to read other types of literature frequently and deeply, let’s at least work to get them to read the Bible that way.
Tomorrow I’ll share with you a story associated with the history of the printing press and the Bible that is both sad and ironic, but which also offers us some hope.
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