Bring It Home (February)

Are You Reading?

In the January/February issue of Christianity Today, the editors and writers gave out their 2022 book awards. Essentially, they choose different categories and then pick the books they think were the best in those categories. Some of these categories include biblical studies, Christian living and discipleship, fiction, marriage and family, politics and public life, and others. I’ve used their list to add to my already rather large list of books I want to read.
Every year, I try to put together a list of 20 or more books that I'd like to read. I started doing this about 2 or 3 years ago. I'll create the list in January, and inevitably by February, at the latest, I'm already off track because I've found or been recommended other books to read. I think this year's list is about 50 books because of all the books I had on the list from previous years.

Why am I mentioning all this? As a pastor, it is very important that I take time to read, not just the Bible, but a wide variety of other books. I try to make sure I have about an hour each day to read. Now, I understand that not everyone has the privilege of being able to dedicate an hour each day to reading, but, pastors are not the only ones who should read a wide variety of books.

Proverbs talks a lot about gaining wisdom. Proverbs 1:7 tells us the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, and Proverbs 18:15 tells us that an intelligent heart will seek out knowledge, as does Proverbs 15:14. The book of Proverbs is essentially a father passing on his wisdom to his son. As we read it, we see the importance of wisdom in the life of a follower of Jesus.

As Christians, the main way we gain wisdom is to read the Bible. Nothing should ever take away from you or your student's time reading the Bible. However, we should also seek wisdom from those who are wiser than us. I often tell the students that smart people don't know all the answers, but they know where to look. Where do we seek answers? We seek them through reading the Bible, and other published materials.

Now, yes, a lot of what is written in the world goes against what we believe from the Bible. Yet reading opposing views or thoughts helps us to better understand what we believe, and why we believe it. Also, in reading opposing views, it helps us to better learn how to share the Gospel with those who hold those views.

Reading opens up whole new opportunities for us to learn and grow. As followers of Jesus, we should not only be reading the Bible, but we should be reading theology books, political books, classic literature, modern fiction, and so much more. We can learn so much more about who God created us to be, and the world around us. God does not want us to be uninformed about the world around us. We are called to be in the world, not of it. Part of being in the world means we should know what is going on and what the world thinks.

My challenge for you this month and for this year is to take time to read and read widely. Read your Bible, and read other books. I know many do not like to read, but the ability to read is such a wonderful gift from God that can draw us closer to Him. Model this for your student, and they will hopefully gain a love for reading and being informed as well. Encourage them to read as it will draw them closer to God.

As you go throughout this year and your life, should someone ask you what are you reading, you should be ready with an answer. Currently, I'm reading two books, "Dangerous Calling" by Paul David Tripp and "Holier Than Thou" by Jackie Hill Perry. So, what are you reading?

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