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Part 2: Clearing the Ground

Last time, we were reminded that we’ve all been given the amazing gift of literacy. We answered ‘why read?’ by proposing that Christianity is a ‘Word’ faith and that world history has been hung on words. There are many other reasons that I hope will compel
you to read. 

For some, the most important reading you need and could start with is a regular diet of Bible reading. That is, reading right out of the Holy Book, not commentaries or pamphlets on it. There is nothing wrong with good devotionals, etc., but you need
direct exposure to the Sun. Above all, read Scripture. But the appeal of this series is that we should go beyond Scripture in our reading bearing in mind Tony Reinke’s advice that: “Scripture is the ultimate grid by which we read every book” (Lit!, p. 26).

With that important preface, we now should spend some time clearing the ground. By that I mean, overcoming your objections and fears. Here are several examples: “I’ve no time; I’m a slow reader; I hate reading; I’m a visual person; I only like
to read for entertainment; I can’t afford to read; I just finished school, and need a break;
or, I’m too old to start a new habit.”
Do this: Write your excuse on a sheet of paper: Now, on a non-windy day, go outside and light a match to that piece of paper. After it burns up, step on the ashes of that paper. Video record if necessary or invite a friend or two over to witness this victory,
pray and then go inside and crack open that book. Be done with that excuse.

While that ceremony will not change you into a voracious reader nor instantly rid you of obstacles, etc., the point is that before you turn over this new leaf you ought to tenaciously confront the worst obstacle to the personal growth that reading affords—yourself. Remember: reading isn’t just a human thing. It’s inherently Christian. The Apostle Paul wanted to read till his dying day. While he was on death row, he wrote to his son in the faith: “When you come, bring… also the books, and above all the parchments (2 Timothy 4:13).”

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Part 3: Getting Started

Part of being a healthy church is developing a culture of Christian literacy. This is not just about reading the Bible. It’s about knowing how to read all kinds of information and how to process it in the light of God’s Word. Psalm 36:9 says, “For with you is the
fountain of life: in your light do we see light.” I am more convinced than ever that my enjoyment of Scripture and Scripture’s mastery over me pushes me to read out of my comfort zone; it stokes the flames of curiosity and drives me to read various kinds of
literature. But for our purposes, I’d like to focus this article on reading Christian literature.
Where do you start?


1) Ask– The first step into becoming a reader might be to ask someone for help. Ask someone you trust (and better read than you) who will not give you recommendations that might be cumbersome or potentially misleading to your
faith. Ask them what they’re reading and what they would recommend.
2) Join– Nothing will help you stay accountable than simply asking someone in church if they’d read a book with you. Tony Reinke’s Christian Guide to Reading Books, affirms the power in communal reading: “Reading books together with other Christian friends provides us with a place for collective discernment, and a
place for spiritual illumination. And those are sweet moments!”
3) Go– Go to Barnes & Noble and just start walking through the aisles. Grab a book and sit down. Go to the public library keeping in mind, however, that they don’t usually have a healthy selection of Christian literature. Go online to Amazon.com or (one of my personal favorites) wtsbooks.com. If you’re wondering whether or not to buy a book or spend your precious time reading it,
read a book review. Several fine book review sites exist at Challies.com, World magazine or Christianity Today

“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”

― Desiderius Erasmus

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