Oh how far we have fallen. How little we now esteem the reading and memorization of the scriptures. How little we have come to regard the learning of sacred text and mastery of its meaning.
One of Luther’s detractors, German humanist Johann Cochlaeus, wrote:
Luther’s New Testament has been so multiplied by the printers and scattered in such numbers that even tailor sand shoemakers, yes, even women and the simple who had learned to read only the German on ginger cakes, read it with great longing. Many carried it about with them and learned it by heart, so that in a few months they proudly began to argue with priests and monks on the faith and the Gospel. Indeed, even poor women were found who debated with learned doctors. Thus it happened that in such conversations Lutheran laymen could quote more Bible passages from memory than the monks and the priests.
Before this point in history (early 16th century) the common people had no great access to the Bible in their own language. Now they did, and oh how they cherished it as a man lost in the wilderness his whole life stumbles upon a never ending stream of cool refreshing water. Today, the Bible is commonly available and we esteem it to little. How little time we spend reading it not to mention memorizing its contents.
How profane we have become.