Joshua Apparicio (Shirmin Apparicio photo)

To the Youth Readers:

Summer is almost over, believe it or not, and the fall will be here before you know it. Whether you are returning to school in August or September, now would be a great time to start reading a book, and I believe the Bible is a wise choice. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” – Proverbs 1:7.

I remember my mom reading to me daily when I was younger. I couldn’t wait to read on my own. As I grew older, I realized how much I enjoyed reading, which I started at the age of two.

If you have started reading a book, good for you. If you’ve almost completed reading the book you started, congratulations to you. Those of you who haven’t started reading, can I challenge you to start reading the Bible? This is the most amazing book you’ll ever read.

I just wanted to read what my mom read to me. I started reading Psalm 23 – “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Over the years as far as I can remember, Psalm 23 has always given me the comfort I needed. Later on as I started dealing with trials and tribulations, I began relying on Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

The reason I’m sharing this special verse with you all during the summer is so that I can encourage you and let you know that it’s okay to read, especially if that book of choice happens to be the Bible.

I know that during the summer, as teenagers, we always say we’re bored and there’s nothing to do. Sometimes, if we get too bored, we’re inclined to get involved in negative activities, and ultimately become the targets of negative influences. I would like to encourage you all to make a different choice so you can get a different result, a good result.

The Bible clearly gives us instructions, which we can benefit from if only we’ll be obedient to the word of God. I do understand that reading any book is not always what we want to do when we have free time; but more often than not, it certainly is a better choice than being on the streets. An idle mind is an undisciplined mind.

Though I am only 13-years-old, reading the word of God helped me through difficult times. Whatever I needed was in the word of God and at my fingertips. As it says in Hosea 4:6, “My people perish for the lack of knowledge.”

To my peers/young readers, we do not have to be told to read the Bible or wait until Sunday to pick up the Bible. Reading the word of God during the week helped me with my schoolwork and anything I needed help with including making the right decisions.

My peers, please don’t be too alarmed or puzzled that I am suggesting that you read the word of God, the Bible. Believe me when I say it’s not a boring book at all.

I am no longer embarrassed to speak of or share what I’ve learned while reading the word of God. Looking back at some of the unpleasant times when I was bullied, harassed, made fun of, and called the worst names imaginable, it really just makes me more appreciative of what the Bible has done for me. I didn’t quite understand what was happening, all I know is that every time I asked God for help, he sent His chosen vessel to help me and show me how much He loved me.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him (God) and He shall direct your Path.” Proverbs 3:5-6.

If you were given the opportunity to read a love story, a drama, romance, or a non-fiction book, which would you choose? I’d choose the Bible, because it contains love stories, drama, romance and non-fiction, and you can apply the content to your lives.

Lastly, I hope my words of encouragement have invigorated you, the readers, to persevere through all tribulations and adversity while applying the word of God to your everyday lives.


Joshua Apparicio, a member of Morningside Church of Christ in Inglewood, is a 13-year-old honor roll student with a GPA of 4.0. He is also the president of the Be Strong Student State Representative Program.