The Power of Print

Vantage Point

There’s something alluring about seeing your words in print. Nigh intoxicating. It’s the feeling of knowing people won’t simply forget your words but that somehow they will last. Maybe they won’t be carved on stone tablets, but they’ll resonate longer than just the vibrations of your throat.

Printed word is powerful. No matter what we think about the quality of a newspaper or magazine, the second our name gets mentioned, we cut out the article and save it. Many children have a picture of themselves when they were once featured in the local paper. The same article, no matter how tattered and yellowed, will show up at their graduation or framed on the wall at home, showing family and friends that the newspaper once considered them important. A woman recently asked me to search the Banner’s archives for every article her father ever wrote, because her copies were lost in a fire and she wanted to have them at hand.

Publications are mirrors, reflections of our lives. Having recently discovered magazines from my grandmother’s closet, I was entertained to see ads for 1940s “modern fix-alls” and the “latest fashions.” I also found a large article on what seemed a topic of heated debate: mixed-gender education! What was scandalous and unheard of has now become normal and natural. The magazine represented a slice of history unlikely to make it into history books, a reflection of my grandmother’s life.

God’s printed Word freed people to read for themselves what Jesus did in entirety. They could read the content of verses and discover nuances in phrasing, rather than trust a spiritual leader to remember a passage correctly or not try to influence God’s Word with his own political agenda.

Recently, while gathered for a relaxing evening, some friends and I started talking about some of the difficulties we’d been experiencing during our semester in Spain. One girl had just lost her grandfather and had spent spring break attending the funeral back home. As we shared our struggles, we turned to favorite Scripture passages for comfort—ones we’d memorized and heard preached throughout our lives.

But when we read them aloud to each other from The Message, a paraphrase of Scripture by Eugene Peterson, the unfamiliar words jumped off the page with new meaning. Like summer’s warmth in the middle of winter, the unexpectedness surprised me. The writer’s words echoed in my heart, fulfilling their true intention.

We were privileged to not only each have our own Bible, but to be able to read it freely and in several languages. We compared differences and similarities in passages’ tone and texture, finding the true color of the emotion written.

Through these written words we found encouragement and discovered more in-depth the true meaning of God’s love for us.

Now that’s powerful.  

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