What Kind of a Problem Is It?
I think most people are familiar with the idea that some students were thought to be a little slow or somewhat unable to learn, but their real trouble was that they couldn’t see the board. Once they got a new pair of glasses or contacts, their “learning trouble” vanished. This situation reminds us that it is important to diagnose a problem correctly. There is certainly no need for a student to be sent off for private tutoring when his problems could be easily fixed with an eye exam.
Similarly, some people struggle with the idea that they are unspiritual and backslidden because they can’t get much out of their day-to-day Bible reading. While it is true that a person who is given to open sin and rebellion may have a difficulty focusing on the words of the Bible as he reads it, it is also true that many people don’t get much out of their Bible reading because they are having a reading block. In most cases, this is a technical problem that can be fixed fairly easily with the right instruction.
The National Adult Literacy Survey indicates that about one out of four of all American adults struggle with reading. To be sure, these people can pronounce words. It doesn’t mean that they don’t even know the alphabet. But when it comes to understanding what they are reading, they really struggle. When you reflect on the fact that 25% of Americans struggle with this, you will understand that millions of Americans are in this category; and some of these millions are Christian people who are struggling with Bible reading.
In too many schools, the students are taught phonics; and they are taught to read sentences with smoothness. In many cases, students are able to read and pronounce fairly well by the end of third grade. Dr. Jeanne Chall of Harvard University said that children should learn to read in first, second, and third grades; and she said that children should be taught to read to learn in fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. Just like there are specific things a beginning reader needs to learn (like the alphabet and reading smoothly), there are certain things that readers need to learn in order to understand what they are reading.
In the tenth chapter of my book, Is It Fake, or Is It Real? I discuss “power reading.” This is one basic approach to reading that enables readers to understand what they are reading. This can be a helpful resource for those who want to learn to read better and for teachers who are trying to help students read better.
It is a common trick of the devil to make people believe that they can’t understand the Bible because they are unspiritual, and this leads to hopelessness. In many cases, when someone is shown some of the basics of reading comprehension, his reading problems disappear; and he begins to understand what the Bible is saying. Like the student whose learning problems disappear once he gets classes, many people begin to truly get something out of the Bible once they master the basics of reading comprehension.
Life is full of activities, and the typical churchgoing family has much to do. But in the hustle and bustle of it all, don’t forget to read!