Books abound in the preacher’s life. At times I feel they overtake me. They are on my desk, on my shelves, on my nightstand, on my electronic devices, in my briefcase, in my car, in the floor, at the house, at the church, at the office…everywhere I see them, I read them, and I pour them into my life. Some of them inspire me, others offend me. Some solidify my convictions, others rebuke them. Some are creative, while others are contentious. I love books; most preachers do.
It was Mark Twain who said, “A man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over those who can’t read them.” I believe that is an accurate assessment. Someone who doesn’t like to read really is no better off than a person who cannot read at all. Be careful however what you read. Make sure everything is read, measured, and processed through the truth of God’s Word.
“Christian leaders should learn to read with discernment drawn from our deepest convictions” said Albert Mohler, “test everything you read by viewing it through the lens of biblical truth and your convictions.” We should never read anything more than the Word of God. The Bible is the well from which we draw our knowledge and wisdom. A preacher who keeps his nose in it, will govern his heart by it, and guard his mind through it.
Grow your library with good books and God’s Word, and God will be sure to grow you. Here are a few suggestions when it comes to reading books.
1. Don’t just buy books, read them
2. Underline important phrases, statements, and truths; then go back and record them somewhere for easy access
3. Line up every thought with biblical truth
4. Read old, tried, and proven books: I like to read a classical book at all times
5. Search the thrift stores. I find half of my books at a fraction of the price. Oftentimes these books are brand new, or barely used. You can purchase a $20-25 book for $2 at the GoodWill.
6. Turn off the TV and read before going to bed. This not only calms and settles you from the day, but it rids your mind of the trash, turmoil, and trouble of the daily news.
7. Read multiple books at a time. I like to have 2-3 books going at once. I try to read a chapter or two in one book in the morning, one at lunch, and one at night.
8. Don’t Waste your time on a book if it is not worth reading. I have read through a book before just to say that I did it, but in reality it was a time-killer. I got nothing out of it, and should have laid it down.
9. Recycle your books. If you have not read a book, and you intend not to read that book, give it to someone else.
10. Read the Bible more than any other book. No other book or author should occupy our time more than the Word of God.