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Chew Before You Swallow

   In reading the literature of men, the reader has two tasks. The first task is to discover what the writer is saying. You learned to do this task in elementary reading classes.
   But the second task is even more important. After the reader has decided what the writer is saying, he must decide if the writer’s statements are true. This second task is so important that if the reader refuses to test what he reads, he should never read any literature besides the Bible. A reader who is not critical is opening himself to a host of errors. Every major falsehood can probably be found printed in some book.
   Many men pride themselves in having an open mind. By this they claim to be able to consider any new idea without first rejecting it. They hope they will be able to reject it if it is wrong.
   Such men consider people inferior who have already made up their minds about certain subjects and refuse to entertain any further discussion. But such open-minded people are often in a dangerous position. For if a person opens his mind to anything, he should not be surprised to discover that his mind is harboring a lot of mental garbage and what truth he has is being corrupted.
   But a person with a closed mind is also in danger. Error may be locked on the inside, and truth may be knocking in vain from the outside.
   How then should we read? We must read with a noble mind like the Bereans of Paul’s day (Acts 17:11). All literature must be tested by the yardstick of God’s Word. What measures up is to be accepted and savored; what fails the test is to be rejected without further consideration.
   Further, a noble reader will carefully select what he reads. Some literature is known to be a fountain of bitter water. The wise reader will not even taste such literature. But he will read sweet sources of truth with eagerness.


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