I LOVE books and I love to read but this has not always been the case. As a matter of fact, I hated reading until after I graduated from college and, at that time, I vowed that I would never read another book again. Well, God does work in mysterious ways because reading has now become one of my favorite things to do. There isn’t much that’s more relaxing than sitting in a cozy spot, sipping your favorite drink and reading a good book.
It is fun to get lost in a fiction book that takes you to places you have never been, and tag along on adventures without ever leaving your house (an introvert’s dream).
But more than fiction books, I want to read good Christian books. I love to learn new things about God and my salvation or be reminded of Truth that I already know but have forgotten or neglected. The amazing thing about studying God’s word and reading theologically rich books is that it makes me long for more. The more I study God, the more I want to know him. So the more I read, the more I want to read.
I love this little glimpse into Paul’s personal life when he writes to Timothy and says,
“When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. (2 Tim 4:13)
Here is a man who wrote much of the New Testament under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and yet he asks for someone to bring him his books.
Why We Should Read
Reading is important. This is the primary way we learn about God. God did not inspire a TV series about himself. He gave us a book that is inspired by the Holy Spirit. A book that when read and studied brings about a change that lasts forever.
But we also have men and women whom God has blessed with a deeper understanding of portions of God’s word. Many have written down the things they have learned and we get to benefit from it by reading their words. What I love is that some of these people lived centuries ago, and we get to learn from them still.
What We Should Read
While reading is good for the heart and soul, not all books are created equal. Some go against the teaching of scripture. It may be subtle or it may be very obvious, so always read critically. Only the scriptures are infallible.
Other books may simply be light and fluffy, filled with words but saying nothing. These books may not be bad in their teaching, but they are forgotten the moment you are done and are most likely a waste of your time.
Every book that talks about some aspect of the Christian life should always point you to Jesus and the cross. It doesn’t matter if it is a book on parenting, homemaking, marriage, Bible Study, or prayer. Jesus is our righteousness when we fail and we fail in all areas at some point or another. Because we fail we need a Savior, and Jesus is our salvation.
We also need strength and wisdom to live a solid Christian life in the midst of this dark world and Jesus is our strength and wisdom for all things. The Old Testament points to Jesus, the New Testament reveals Jesus and promises his return and a future glory.
Don’t be afraid to choose books that stretch your mind, even if it means that you only read a couple pages a day. This isn’t a competition about how many books we can read in a year. Instead, we should be more interested in growing in Christ, and reading good books will help us.
How We Should Read
It seems as if a new book is being published almost daily and I wonder if this is causing us to read too much, too fast, so that we can move on to the next one. How many of us have three, four, or five books that we are reading all at the same time?
We would do well to listen to Charles Spurgeon’s advice on reading books.
Master those books you have. Read them thoroughly. Bathe in them until they saturate you. Read and reread them, masticate and digest them. Let them go into your very self. Peruse a good book several times and make notes and analyses of it. A student will find that his mental constitution is more affected by one book thoroughly mastered than by twenty books he has merely skimmed.
One of the most valuable uses of your time is to read. Read your Bible, it is the best book. But you should also read theologically rich Christian books that stretch your mind and cement even more firmly into your heart the greatness of God and the grace of your Salvation.