Wisdom in 20 minutes a month?

A recent statistic revealed that a subscriber to the Wall Street Journal spends 20 hours a month reading the printed newspaper, but only 20 minutes a month at WSJ.com (Advertising Age magazine). Why? Because most people only skim online articles. If that is true about the Wall Street Journal, then how much more is it true of studying the Bible?

We are sometimes asked why we publish printed So What? Leader Guides and student Bible studies instead of offering it all online. When people ask that question, they are subtly suggesting that we are clinging to outdated technology.

But we have our reasons. To paraphrase Proverbs 1, we write, design, print, and mail curriculum so that:

  • Students can attain wisdom and discipline;
  • Leaders and students will understand words of insight;
  • Christians of this generation might acquire a disciplined and prudent life;
  • We will learn to do what is right and just and fair.

Regardless of what we can provide online, we know—from dozens of studies and our own experience—that most people only skim online material. And leaders are tempted to not go to all the trouble of downloading, printing, and collating their own study material or the Bible study for every student. They rationalize that teenagers don’t like student handouts. But …

Nobody becomes wise in 20 minutes a month.

Christians must cultivate wisdom. And we’ve never minded being out of step—at least not when it’s for a God-glorifying reason. For example:

  • We cling to an antiquated notion of marriage, actually believing that the commitment between a man and a woman is a picture of Christ’s relationship to his Church. It is, at best, a quaint concept to the culture around us.
  • We value human life at every stage, even as the more “enlightened” around us turn a callused eye to the infirm and unborn.
  • Our views on sex, creation, evolution, lending, borrowing, and giving—they’re all out of sync with the world’s more progressive views. Yet we hold them, visibly and tenaciously, in obedience to God and for his glory.

With our ink-and-paper pages, we hope to stimulate critical thinking, to help students organize sound arguments on timely issues, and to point them back to a 3,000-page Book and to Christ, our ultimate wisdom.

We do it on paper because, though you can do great things on Twitter, gaining wisdom isn’t one of them.

—adapted from From the Editor by Richard Doster, By Faith magazine, Summer 2009


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