Monday, July 25, 2011

Let Him That is Taught...

Sometimes, when you read the Bible, you miss some things, but then they come back as shining jewels when you look at the passage later. My pastor pointed out a verse on Sunday that I hadn’t paid much attention to before. It isn’t that I haven’t read it, I just hadn’t noticed it. The verse is Galatians 6:6. In the KJV it reads, “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.” In the printed KJ21 that I took to church with me it reads, “Let him that is taught in the Word minister unto him that teacheth, in all good things.” The KJ21 version available on Bible Gateway reads, “Let him that is taught in the Word share with him that teacheth, in all good things.” (Don’t ask me why Bible Gateway’s copy of the KJ21 doesn’t match the printed version.) But whether you translate the word as communicate, share, or minister, the original word conveys the idea of someone coming along side and assisting another person. In other words, the people who are taught are to assist financially, those who teach. But I don’t think it should be limited to financial support.

In context, a church ought to pay her pastor and maybe even her Sunday school teachers. I’ve actually never met a Sunday school teacher who wanted to be paid, but the principle is the same. It is good for us to take one the burdens of those who are teaching the Word so that they have more time to study. Their efforts are worth it. And if you are one of those people, don’t feel bad when people do things to help you in some way; your efforts are worth it.

But I also thought about authors. The effort authors put into writing a book is worth out support. These days, it seems like everyone wants things as cheaply as they can get them. A co-worker told me about a book he was reading on Kindle. For some reason, the sample he downloaded went to something like chapter 27 out of the 36 chapters in the book. He then told me of another place he’d seen the book, so a person could actually read the whole book without paying anything. And then there are libraries. I think libraries are mostly a good thing, but we’ve gotten away from the idea of people sharing books to the idea that libraries are just a place where you can read a book without having to pay for it. We’ve even got people who go around saying, “information wants to be free.” By that, they mean that we shouldn’t have to pay for things like books and music, so the people who sell books should looks for other ways to make money from the information they produce.

“Let him that is taught in the Word minister unto him that teacheth, in all good things.” Maybe information does want to be free. Maybe, there is so much information available that on an open market it trends toward zero. Maybe, but that doesn’t relieve us of our responsibility. I don’t mean to say that everyone who writes a book should make enough from it to live off of, but what I do mean to say is that whenever we find an author who is able to teach us something of value, we should support that author. Maybe it is financially. Maybe it is by promoting that person’s book. Maybe it is something else. At the very least, we should be happy to pay the purchase price of the book. But the value we receive from it may be much greater.