Receiving vs. Reproducing


I first want to preface, if you are not a book reader, I highly recommend becoming one. It is really important to learn things, and one of the best ways to learn is by reading. I know some of you may disagree, and say, “well I learn better by experience”. So do I, but the magnitude of what there is to learn cannot always be by experience, it must also be by study.

I recently read the book Radical by David Platt. This is a great book that I strongly believe every Christian in America should read. There are probably 100 things I would like to quote from this book, but I am only going to quote one random thing, to make my blog point :)

Excerpt from Radical, page 101-102:

“I often ask members of our church if they are receivers or reproducers of God’s Word. Let me illustrate the difference.

Imagine being in Sudan. You walk into a thatched hut with a small group of Sudanese church leaders, and you sit them down to teach God’s Word. As soon as you start, you lose eye contact with all of them. No one is looking at you, and you hardly see their eyes the rest of the time. The reason is because they’re writing down every word you say. They come up to you afterword and say, “Teacher, we are going to take everything we have learned from God’s Word, translate it into our languages, and teach it in our tribes.” They were not listening to receive, but listening to reproduce.

Now journey with me to a contemporary worship service in the United States. Some people have their Bibles open, while others don’t have a Bible with them. A few people are taking notes, but for the most part they are passively sitting in the audience. While some are probably disengaged, others are intently focused on what the preacher is saying, listening to God’s Word to hear how it applies to their lives. But the reality is, few are listening to reproduce.

We are, by nature, receivers. Even if we have a desire to learn God’s Word, we still listen from a default self-centered mind-set that is always asking, What can I get out of this? But as we have seen, this is unbiblical Christianity. What if we changed the question whenever we gathered to learn God’s Word? What if we began to think, How can I listen to his Word so that I am equipped to teach this Word to others? 

This changes everything. All of a sudden the pen and the paper come out. Note taking is not the measure of how committed we are to making disciples, but if we are hearing God’s Word taught in order to teach others, then we want to get it down as best we can. When we realize we have the responsibility to teach the Word, it changes everything about how we hear the Word.”

Conviction. I have rarely listened to a sermon with that intent. Normally I come at it with a “what can I learn about God and how can I apply it to my life” mindset. I personally need to change the way I read the Word and listen to sermons. I need to go into these things not only with the mindset to apply it to my life, but with gaining tools so I can confidently teach any and every part of the Bible to others.

It is vital to read, learn, and learn well enough to teach, so that others may come to know the Truth.