My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I cannot rave enough about this book. While the target audience is those who don’t read much, or perhaps those who would like to read more but don’t, there is still much to be gained from this book by an avid reader. It reaffirms much of what the avid reader already knows – the benefits of reading, finding time for reading, reading for edification.
First, the book emphasizes the importance of Scripture and reading the Bible should be our top priority. Then the argument is given for how reading both Christian and secular books can be beneficial. Several benefits are given for reading not just Christian books. The author takes us through the importance of first having a Biblical worldview that we use while reading to be discerning of truth and error.
Other portions of the book go through steps for how to prioritize what to read. The author shares his own list of the type of books that he has on his reading list. He also gives tips and tricks for better reading non-fiction and getting the most out of it. There is also a chapter on the benefits of reading fiction and what can be gained from literature.
Excuses for being to busy to read are examined in another chapter. There are ways to squeeze time out for reading. Ultimately though, the author says that we make time for what is important to us, and we must make reading a priority in our lives.
Reading this on my Kindle, I ended up clipping multiple quotes from this book as it really resonated with me as a reader. Highly recommended, particularly for those who want to read more, but struggle with what to read and how to find the time.
*A Review copy of this e-book was provided to me by the publisher through netgalley in exchange for my review.
“Books can help us live more wisely, they may even help us grow spiritually, but only the God-inspired word is eternal.”
“Man-made literature may be empowered by the Holy Spirit to embody biblical truth, but it’s not breathed out by God. Man-made literature may contain truth, goodness, and beauty, but it is also fallible, imperfect, and of temporary value.”
“Many authors are average (grass). Other authors are incredibly talented, fruitful, and colorful (flowers). But all authors (grass or flowers) are fragile.”
“no matter how ‘lit’ it is with truth, goodness, and beauty, no other book is infallible. All man-made books are hindered to some degree by errors, inconsistencies, and insufficiencies.”
“we must be determined to read the imperfect in light of the perfect, the deficient in light of the sufficient, the temporary in light of the eternal, the groveling in light of the transcendent.”
“If we fail to make this distinction, if we fail to prioritize the eternal Word over temporary books, our reading will never be distinctly Christian.”
“For every one book that you choose to read, you must ignore ten thousand other books simply because you don’t have the time (or money!).” - Ah, how true it is!
“Having a clear purpose for why you read will ensure that the few books you choose will be the books most likely to benefit your life.”
“no book is more important than the Bible. It is the divine and inspired word of God, true and reliable in everything it affirms. In it we learn the touchstone truths that shape our worldview. If we neglect Scripture in order to read only other books, we not only cut ourselves from the divine umbilical cord that feeds our souls, we also cut ourselves from the truth that makes it possible for us to benefit from the truth, goodness, and beauty in the books that we read.”
“The bottom line is that no single book should receive more attention in our lives than Scripture.”
“Christians should neither undervalue nor overvalue literature. It is not the ultimate source of truth. But it clarifies the human situation to which the Christian faith speaks. It does not replace the need for the facts that science and economics and history give us. But it gives us an experiential knowledge of life that we need just as much as those facts. Literature does not always lead us to the City of God. But it makes our sojourn on earth much more a thing of beauty and joy and insight and humanity.”
“Or do you love to read? That desire is a gift from God that can be used to benefit those around you. If you love to read, find someone who doesn’t, grab two copies of a book, go sit in a coffee shop, and grow in grace together. This is one way God’s gifts in the life of an introverted Christian can bless those in the local church.”
“Our goal is not to finish a book, or merely to talk about a book; our goal is to use our books in order to further display Christlike character.”
“I love that God designed books and reading for the purpose of our mutual edification.”
“But life is more than books. With all the new books being published – and all the old books still available – we must be careful to not over study. For many of you, this will not be a problem. The risk is for those who want to read every book that looks interesting. If this is you, you will run the risk of book fatigue. You will exhaust yourself, Solomon says. For one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his library.” - good reminder for such as myself who has a hard time resisting a good-looking book!
“As Christians we cannot make literature our religion. We do not value literature for itself. We do not worship classics. We treasure values and priorities that far exceed the sum worth of the greatest library. Our end is not literature, no matter how true, good, and beautiful it is. Our end is God, the One from whom all truth, goodness, and beauty originates and finds its perfection.”
“Books enhance our learning and pleasure, but they cannot sustain our souls. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can offer us eternal wisdom and pleasure.”