A Shakespeare Could Not Read? 

By: Zach Collins

The Holy Spirit recorded, in Judges 2:8-10, “Now Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died when he was one hundred and ten years old. And they buried him within the border of his inheritance at Timnath Heres, in the mountains of Ephraim, on the north side of Mount Gaash. When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.” 

This passage is often quoted or read from the pulpit but let us pause and contemplate this declaration. Let me, first, establish some perspective. In this verse, we are speaking of the same generation that had been led into the promised land by the hand of God. This is the same generation of Israelites that made the declaration, at the end of Joshua’s life, that they will serve God and God alone! Now, what does it mean that the next generation, after Joshua and the elders, “did not know the Lord?” There is a difference between knowing who the Lord is and knowing the Lord. The saving acts of the Lord were not central or precious to this generation. Now, let us ask this question. Are we the generation that does not know the Lord? Are we the generation that knows about the Lord but does not hold the mighty works of Jesus as central or precious in our lives? We must be concerned for ourselves, honestly evaluating whether we know the Lord or if we only know about the Lord.

William Shakespeare is regarded as one of, if not, the greatest writers in the English language. Though 400 years have passed since his death, every student of literature will study the life and works of William Shakespeare. But, the other day, I discovered something that changed the way I viewed Shakespeare and his writings. When his daughter, Judith, was married, she signed her marriage license with a mark or an “X.” This was the signature of the illiterate.

How is it possible for the greatest writer in the English language to allow his daughter to be illiterate? With the talent he possessed, he not only had the opportunity but also the capability to teach his children how to read and write. One of the greatest writers of the English language has ever known raised children who could not read or write. 

As unimaginable of a fact that is, how is it possible that Christian parents could raise children who are spiritually and biblically illiterate? There is truth to be found in the words of Solomon, in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” While it is true that we cannot guarantee that our children will be faithful all the days of their lives, we can ensure they know how to come home if they ever leave home. Though a child may depart from the truth one day, let us ensure that our children always know the way home. 

Our great ministry is our family. Let us never fail in raising our children in the admonition of the Lord, to not only know about the Lord but also to share a relationship with Him.  

October 13th, 2023