Biblical Truth and Careful Thinking; God Cares About What We Read
I was recently elected as a County Commissioner (a.k.a. County Supervisor) in South Central Oregon, and in the process, had become interested in the ideas that forged our Nation’s Constitutional Republic. Although most of us are familiar with the names of our founders – Jefferson, Adams, Washington, etc., and even know a few important dates – have you ever read any of their original writings?
I hadn’t either, until I decided to investigate, and I was amazed and fascinated by what I found. Biblical truth tied with careful thinking dominates the pages of these older books. The technological limitations of the day (the feather quill, ink-pot and blotter) forced these writers to craft their arguments far in advance of taking their seat at the writing stand. This seeming hardship actually created a bounty of well-reasoned writing.
Today, we perhaps rely too much on our technologies. Our reliance has led to complacency and laziness because we have allowed technology to invade our humanness and our thought-life is suffering. Sometimes I fear that we don’t think through our beliefs carefully enough, or work out our worldviews with solid logic and reasoning, and we are thus unprepared for the attacks of modernism and post-modernism on our faith and life.
Therefore, my goal is to mine these older books to help bring Biblical reality and careful thinking back into our hectic lives. God’s truth is all around us and it is evident in literature from every age. For example, here is a piece of advice from Benjamin Franklin, written in 1733:
“Reading makes a full man – meditation a profound man – discourse a clear man.” 
Consider for a moment, how closely Franklin’s advice follows Biblical principles – read, meditate, discuss, share and live out. For example:
“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8)
“You must love the Lord your God with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength. These words I am commanding you today must be kept in mind, and you must teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)
Certainly, our Lord cares about what we read. Otherwise, why read the Bible and not Hustler magazine? This website is called “Trochia” ( trociav) and most of you are familiar with its definition. It is the New Testament Greek word for a path, like the track of a wheel, or figuratively, a course of conduct. Our conduct will be influenced by our thought-life and our thought-life by what we ingest in various forms of media, such as good books (or, not-so-good magazines).
The Old Testament Hebrew equivalent to “trochia” is “derek” ( Krd ) meaning way, behavior, journey, conduct, deeds, direction, routes, lifestyle and destiny. It is used in Deut. 6:7: “as you walk along the road.” This is the essence of our journey. Our calling is to think and live beyond the mundane. It is a moral, decision-making journey and there are God-given principles we should be following.
God has called each of us into unique positions, both as individuals and as members of the church. “Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him.” (I Cor 7:17)
Whether you are a programmer, plumber or paralegal, each of us is in a unique situation with uncommon relationships and exclusive conversations. This is Martin Luther’s powerful concept of vocation, but it is not the mundane world of work. Instead, it is a calling to relationships.
Consider your relationships – family, friends, co-workers, service providers, kids in the neighborhood. No other person will encounter the myriad of unique individuals that you will. This is your “calling.” It is God requesting your life’s commitment.
This “calling” brings me back to my fascination with old books, and with improving our thought-life through meditation, reading and discourse. Only through careful thought can we truly impact those relationships, for as 1 Peter 3:15 says: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Let’s take the time to read and think carefully about what we’ve read. Ask questions of yourself and wonder. Wonder out loud – discuss your ideas with others.
Over the next several weeks, I will continue thinking about authors, books, and how beautifully matched we are to the calling that God has given us. I’m suggesting God’s glory is all around us and that we will discover it more readily if we listen to old Ben Franklin, who, in turn, was listening to God’s counsel, “Reading makes a full man – meditation a profound man – discourse a clear man.”
 Benjamin Franklin, Apostle of Thrift and Frugality, copyright 1933. It is a reprint of Poor Richard – An Almanack – For the Year of Christ 1733.