Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Why Read?

Being Christians, reading should come naturally to us. After all, our lives are grounded in and we grow as we read God’s written word in the Bible. Further, God’s word exhorts us to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Rom 12:2). While God’s word remains the primary vehicle for this transformation, it is to our advantage to read other Christian books as they also help renew our minds.

I began reading Christian books about two years after my conversion and the earliest Christian books I read included ‘Keeping Your Ethical Edge Sharp’ by Doug Sherman and ‘The Power of Commitment’ by Jerry White. I then moved on to the Warren Wiersbe commentary series on the various books of the Bible. These books really helped me to understand and apply the Bible better. I am not sure if yours is the same experience as mine but there were times, in my early years as a Christian, when I felt I was floundering in trying to understand what each book was trying to say. Understanding verses and short passages was not difficult but understanding the book in its entirety and discerning the themes were beyond me. Reading other Christian books helped me to grapple with unfamiliar sections and relate them to other passages in the Bible. It increased my joy to realise that the Bible does make sense and that God remained the same throughout the ages.

We have often heard it said that it is better to learn from the mistakes of others than our own mistakes. In the same way, it is better to mine the riches of other scholars and mature Christians who have years of ministry experience and thoughtful reflection on biblical issues behind them. Their scholarship will help us to understand God and his mission and purpose for the world much better. This is especially so today when we are faced with a whole plethora of modern issues like homosexuality, euthanasia, workplace ethics, etc. It helps us to look at the experts and then to form our own opinion as we look back to the Bible as the final authority to confirm our stand. This is one way God reveals his truth to us. From experience, I have found that God’s truth, when gleaned this way, becomes, in a certain sense, his personal revelation to me.

Thus it is that I am very encouraged by some members of our church taking steps to foster the reading habit in our church. They have set up a library on HPC’s premises and arranged the books according to a topical index. This makes it easy for you to browse through books on topics close to your heart. They have also set up a blog at detailing the topics and book available. I must say it is a wide range of books. I was pleasantly surprised to see Sherman’s ‘Keeping Your Ethical Edge Sharp’ but then many of the Christian books are actually timeless and worth reading years after their publication date.

My encouragement is for you to stop by this book hub and if you are not sure where to start, I’d like to suggest Index 248 – Christian Living. I doubt you can go wrong here. Who knows? You might find the book you pick up worth your while to even give up that TV reality show you have been following faithfully.

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