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--Martin Luther

Thursday, 22 November 2012

On Reading: Christian Literature

You could possibly re-title this post “Christian books: a plea for help”. While the first few entries in this series involved me saying a lot, here I would love to listen to you, because, friends, I stink at reading Christian books. I'm talking books about theology, about living the Christian life, books that encourage you to grow in your faith. Yes, I stink at reading these books.

Firstly, though, let's get clear that the most important Christian book to be read is the Bible. Christians ought not to read a lot of John Piper or Tim Keller or Max Lucado, but neglect the Bible. Knowing the Bible is what helps us know God, and also to discern whether a Christian writer is worth reading in the first place. Personally, I'm not big on reading daily devotionals or going through study books; instead, I try to read the Bible every day, and I know that's more important than reading classics of Christian theology.

If one is reading the Bible, however, there is real merit in also reading across the broad spectrum of Christian literature. My problem is that I am great at starting these kinds of books, and lousy at finishing them. I've got C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Randy Alcorn sitting in my to-read pile, and while I've opened all of these works, I have yet to get through any. Sometimes I think it will help to read a one or two of chaptersof such works a week, while keeping another book on the go for when I want to read to relax, but it still doesn't happen.

So readers, help me to read better! What Christian books do you recommend? What has changed your life? How do you get through heavy books and balance the need for something with more of a story? Are you judging me right now? :-)

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