Enjoying the Journey
My daughter Lauren has recently developed a new fascination with reading. Over the last few days she has devoured several books, putting us all to shame. I grew up with a special love of books. I travel with several at all times. In our day of e-books this has become much easier, but there is still something special about holding a book in one hand and a pen in the other!
Today I read a chapter by Clovis Chappell on The Preacher and His Books and was reminded of the Apostle Paul’s love for reading up to the very end of his life (2 Timothy 4;13). In truth, when we cease reading we begin to die. Books feed a man’s soul. Starve it and it begins to decay.
I have written in a previous article on how to develop good reading habits. (Click here to read more.) One of the secrets to effective reading is to read a variety of books. Some, I must confess, are easier to read than others. But all meet specific needs in important areas of our life. Permit me to offer a few suggestions…
- Read the Bible for your inner man.
In the words of Paul, “especially the parchments.” There is no substitute for the reading of the Word of God! No devotional book can take its place. This Book must be given daily attention. Do not neglect God’s Book. (Click here for further help on daily devotional reading.)
- Read biography for inspiration.
I am always in the middle of some biography. Biographies provide valuable lessons and examples from the lives of others. A good biography will stir your heart to become more of what God has called you to be.
- Read theology for integrity.
Theology makes us whole. It fills in the cracks and crevices in our hearts and minds. “The knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
One Sunday afternoon many years ago, I went into my pastor’s office before the evening meeting. He was reading from a systematic theology book. I asked if it was related to his sermon that night. His response was one I will not forget: “No, I try to read regularly some theology just to keep my own mind sharp.”
Theological reading is some of the hardest there is…and some of the most profitable. Choose carefully and read thoughtfully. Seek to understand more about the great truths of Scripture.
- Read devotionally for influence.
Find authors that influence you in a daily walk with the Lord. Some devotional reading done on a regular basis will help to keep your heart warm. Books on prayer, worship, and consecration to Christ will keep your eyes on spiritual realities.
- Read sermons for instruction.
Preachers need preaching too! As a minister I have found it very helpful to read the sermons of others on a regular basis – not to get sermons, but to get something for my own heart. Read Bible messages as you would listen to them: with a hunger to hear from God.
- Read periodicals for information.
This can be overdone. Yet some regular reading of newspapers and good magazines can provide helpful information for life and ministry. Do not allow this to become the “main course” of your reading. Instead, allow it to season the other reading that you do. Current events, science, history, and a host of other things will serve to make you a well rounded person.
- Read fiction for your imagination.
I give this last because it is not my favorite. Most people read 90% fiction and 10% nonfiction. It would perhaps be more profitable if this was reversed. However, in recent years I have seen the benefit of reading some fiction. Begin with the classics. Fiction helps to stir one’s imagination and aids in thinking.
My daughter’s new hunger for reading has reminded me that at every stage in life reading is a key to growth. The Apostle Paul knew this. Appetites develop over time. Begin the discipline of regular reading and soon you will love it too.
For a starter list of 10 good books to read click here.