July 21, 2021
For years I taught shorthand students to write as fast as a person talks—60, 90, 120 or even more words per minute. With handwriting, we write only 30-some words per minute. I trained students to "take dictation" from executives.
Schools no longer offer shorthand, so I asked a friend what executives do without that support. She said they write their own letters and give them to assistants to "clean up."
Anyway, to the untrained eye, the shorthand scribbles on a page don't make sense. And sometimes they don't make sense to the writer either. You must be able to read what you write so that you can "transcribe," type onto paper, what you've written. If you can't read your writing, taking shorthand notes is useless.
That reminds me that reading the Bible is also useless unless we do what it says. What good is it to read about prayer, if we fail to pray? What good is it to read about honesty if we fail to report all our income at tax time? What good is it to read about generosity if we fail to graciously give to others what we can? We need to read it and heed it.
"All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV).
Notice "all scripture" is profitable. That includes both Old and New Testaments. We learn much about the character of God in both parts of scripture. And we also learn the consequences of staying true to God's principles from biblical saints.
Some like Daniel have stood strong. Even when forbidden to pray to anyone other than King Darius, Daniel continued to pray to God—by his window. Because he refused to honor the edict of the king, he was thrown into the lion's den. However, Daniel trusted God, and God rescued Daniel.
Others like Ananias and Sapphari have gone astray. They claimed to give the apostles all the money for the sale of a field when in truth they held back some for themselves. The couple died because of their lie.
At times we may identify with the prophet Jonah who ran from God. Then scripture rebukes us and, like Jonah, helps us get back on track.
I like the way THE MESSAGE puts 2 Timothy 3:16: "The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God . . . . It straightens us out and helps us do what is right."
The Old Testament points to a Messiah, and the New Testament identifies that Messiah as Jesus. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount teaches us how to live in harmony with others. Read it and heed it.
Now just as I said shorthand students had to be able to translate their notes, we must be able to understand scripture. So listen to sermons. Attend Bible studies. Talk to a Christian friend. Consult helps such as Bible dictionaries. Sure, it's sometimes challenging, but God offers ways, especially in our age of online resources, for us to find insight on challenging passages.
I once mentioned to a grandson that I had taught shorthand and was surprised when he asked, "Nana, what is shorthand?" As I listen to game shows that include Bible questions, I realize some people could ask "what is scripture?" May it not be us. May we read it and heed it.