Question 5b – May all men make use of the Holy Scriptures?
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. – Rev 1:3 ESV
Blessed is he that readeth, This book the Revelation, privately, in his closet or family, carefully and diligently, with a desire of understanding it; or publicly in the church of God, and endeavours open and explain it to others; and may allude to the reading of the law and the prophets in the synagogues, which were not barely read, but expounded; see Acts 13:15; and the rather this may be thought to be the sense of the words, since there is a change of number in the next clause,
and they that hear the words of this prophecy; that listen attentively to the reading and exposition of this book, and have ears to hear, so as to understand the prophecies contained in it: for the whole, when delivered to John, was a prophecy of things to come: but some versions read the number alike in both clauses; as either, “blessed is he that readeth, and he that heareth”, as the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions; or “blessed are they that read, and they that hear”, as the Arabic version:
and keep those things which are written therein; the last version adds, “concerning this frail world”; who not only read, and hear, but put in practice what they read and hear; for there are some things in this book which are of a practical nature, especially in the epistles to the seven churches; or the sense is, happy are those persons that observe, and take notice of what is written herein, and meditate upon them, and well weigh them in their minds, and retain them in their memories. Now, though eternal happiness does not depend upon, nor is procured by any of these means, as reading, hearing, and observing; yet there is a real happiness, a true pleasure, that does attend these things, which may stir up to a regard unto them; and for which purpose the following words are added:
for the time is at hand; when thee things should begin to be fulfilled. [Gill]
So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” – Act 8:30 ESV
And Philip ran thither to him, Being very ready to obey the divine order, and hoping he might be an instrument of doing some good, which might issue in the glory of God, and the welfare of men:
and heard him read the prophet Esaias; that is, “the Book of Isaiah the Prophet”; as before; and so the Ethiopic and Arabic versions read here, as there: he read it out, with a clear and distinct voice, so that Philip could hear him; and this he did, partly through reverence to the word of God, and partly to fix his attention to it the more, that he might the better understand and remember it, and also for delight and pleasure: it is very likely, that it was the Book of Isaiah in the Hebrew tongue in which he was reading, and which language he might understand, though he might be at a loss about the sense of the prophet:
and said, understandest thou what thou readest? meaning not the language, but the sense; for overhearing him, he perceived it was a prophecy in Isaiah he was reading; which was not so easy to be understood as laws and precepts are, which command this, and forbid that; whereas prophecies were more abstruse, and regarded things to come. [Gill]
Answer – All men are not only permitted, but commanded and exhorted to read, hear, and understand the holy Scriptures.
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