" For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen. " –Romans 11:36 (ESV)

Why should Christians read good books?

Our church believes that the bible is “the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience” (2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith).  However, we also believe that it is a beneficial practise for Christians to read good books alongside of the bible.  In fact, we find that the apostle Paul himself asked his friend Timothy to bring him this type of reading material when he was in prison (2 Timothy 4:13).  Why should Christians read good books?

One reason for reading serious Christian literature would be to develop self-discipline.  Perhaps it is this reason why so many Christians fail to practise this skill; we simply do not enjoy the discipline of reading.  We live in an age of sound bites and eye-catching video presentations.  Via these mediums, information comes in quickly and easily.  In comparison, reading a book seems tame and laborious.  Listening to a sermon online is better than reading we think.  However, it is through reading that a person gains the skill of concentrated thinking.  The author’s argument must be followed carefully in order to see if it holds true.  In addition, we must remember the conclusions of the earlier chapters when we arrive at the later chapters.  What did Paul command the saints in Rome?  Did he not say in Romans 12:2, “be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”?  Reading good books sharpens our minds to do exactly that.

Secondly, reading helps develop Christian graces.  We are all familiar with Paul’s list of the fruit of the Spirit.  Here we find patience and faithfulness.  Reading aids in the growth of both of these godly markers.  A good book builds on its main theme and looks at an issue from many different angles before reaching a final conclusion.  The reader must exercise patience in order to benefit fully from such an approach.  Those who cannot take the time to read what has been written by another will not take the time to listen to what is spoken by another.  Also, a serious book may contain fairly heavy argumentation to prove its points.  Often the temptation to give up before finishing or to skip over the harder sections of the book will strike the reader.  However, faithfulness is developed in a Christian when they continue forward knowing that the preciousness of truth cannot be obtained or appreciated without a mental battle.

Furthermore, reading helps the Christian think clearly and precisely.  We are commanded to hold on to truth and reject error.  Sometimes it is not easy to tell the difference!  However, for one who reads serious books carefully, the holes in a flimsy argument are quickly exposed.  A reading Christian, constantly feeding on the best theological and practical literature will not often be taken in by false teachers who claim to have discovered truth that everyone else has missed.  These believers will know what a wealth of truth God has revealed to approved ministers of God over the centuries because they will have spent time speaking with these authors through their books.

Are you looking for a good place to start reading?  Please feel free to look through the brief reading list on our church website or come and talk to our pastor about a book that would fit you and your particular situation.  If the apostle Paul, who wrote over half of the books in the New Testament needed to read then so do we!

“When you come, bring the cloak…also the books” 2 Timothy 4:13.