20 Reasons to Read (Good Christian Books)January 8, 2007
“So what did you do over the holidays?” In any honest answer, I always have to include “reading.” Yes – like many pastoral colleagues – I am somewhat obsessed with books.
My Christmas holidays confirmed it. Looking forward to a book free zone for a few weeks, I still managed to turn the pages. In the end, I concluded Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome by R Kent Hughes and ploughed my way through three other books (Daniel Doriani: Putting the Truth to Work; Gaius Davis: Stress; Karl Graustein: Growing up Christian).
And I’m still hungry for more. I’ve just started Anchor Man by Steve Farrar, whilst John Owen’s Overcoming Sin and Temptation and Andreas Kostenberger’s God, Marriage and Family sit on my shelf like two pieces of choice steak.
What is wrong with me? Why is it that I find books so helpful? The fact is that many Christians (including some pastors) don’t seem to. At the very least, they need some convincing.
So I’ve drawn up a list. As I’ve pondered it, here’s some of the reasons why I read books and why I think you should too.
A couple of qualifications before I get started. Firstly, I remain convinced that reading Scripture is primary. Let me also add that I’m mainly talking about Christian books and most certainly good Christian books. Tell me what you think…
20 Reasons to Read (Good Christian Books)…
1. You will grow in your knowledge of God, yourself and the world around you
2. You will gain a better understanding of the bible, the book of books
3. You will broaden your English vocabluary, helping you to express similar truths to your congregation in fresh ways
4. You will have an improved imagination and actively engage your mind in a way that probably won’t occur when watching TV
5. You will be able to sit at the feet of some of the great Christian teachers and minds over the centuries (even if you have few ‘living’ teachers to assist you)
6. You will be forced to cease from incessant activity and think
7. You will receive a historical perspective on current problems and spot present day blindspots
8. You will have some of your questions answered and confront other questions you hadn’t even thought of
9. You will be able to practically apply Paul’s command to think upon “wholesome” things
10. You will develop a sense of how arguments are constructed and be able to weigh both strong and weak arguments
11. You will enjoy spiritual input during the week, not just on a Sunday (if not a pastor)
12. You will (if a pastor) be able to enage with other issues beyond this week’s text, thus broadening your perspective.
13. You will be able to mull over a subject. You will be able to put the book down to think, chew over a sentance or re-read a paragraph. You will be able to exploring an issue at length, rather than brush over a topic too quickly
14. You will be better prepared for the task of evangelism, after reading clear presentations of the gospel by great communicators
15. You will be better prepared for the task of discipleship, having a good way to open up discussion about Christian life issues (what are you reading?)
16. You will be made aware of how Christians interpret and apply Scripture differently in various cultural contexts
17. You will gain information for your ignorance, inspiration for your weariness, and insight for complex problems
18. You will be better equipped to lead in your church, marriage and family
19. You will be stimulated, as in a good conversation, to new lines of thinking
20. You will be drawn to worship God, especially when the book centres on God not man
So…what are you reading?
(Note: article has been amended from 21 reasons to 20, since several kind readers have pointed out a duplicate reason)