Look Unto Realms Above
A principle that is important to the teaching process is stated clearly by John Milton Gregory in his book, The Seven Laws of Teaching. Gregory says: “Since attention follows interest, it is folly to attempt to gain attention without first stimulating interest.”
Remembering my high school days in study hall, I must agree with Gregory. I can recall ‘reading’ page after page in a book and being unable to remember a single idea from the book because my mind was on a basketball game to be played that night. The book didn’t occupy my attention because I, at the time, wasn’t interested in IT.
This gets to the heart of the problem of brethren who don’t study the word of God publicly or privately. They simply aren’t interested. They are more interested in reading “Good Housekeeping,” “Newsweek,” “Reader’s Digest,” or “True Story” than in reading the Bible. They are more interested in seeing what’s on TV than seeing what God has said. They are more interested in spending time with a hobby than in spending time with God.
The apostle Paul commended the Bereans for their nobility in studying the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11). He told the Ephesians that they could understand the scriptures if they would read. He then exhorted them to be not foolish but understand God's will (Ephesians 3:4; 5:17).
It’s not likely, though, that we’ll stimulate brethren to study God’s word until we interest them in going to heaven. It may be that brethren in this country have it so good on earth that they don't think any more about going to heaven than I did about the book I was supposedly reading in study hall. That being true, it’s no wonder the Bible doesn’t occupy their attention. Brethren, we’ve simply got to wake to the fact that — 70 years and it’s all over here. Then what? Until we set our hope on Christ and our affection on things above (1 John 3:3; Colossians 3:1-4), the BOOK describing those things cannot possibly hold our attention.