“The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:11-14
Of the making of books there is no end. I am trying to read more this year. Not just to make sure that I keep up with my own reading of Scripture and our family Bible reading, but also reading outside of the Bible. Last year I didn’t do so well on my reading goals. This year I want to try and improve.
Everyone’s time is limited. So, if you have to pick and choose, choose Scripture first. Feed yourself with truth. Make sure you have a plan to read the Bible. Outside of that there are many books. As the author of Ecclesiastes points out, of the making of them there is no end.
I like what Charles Spurgeon the 19thcentury preacher once said. “Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.” Again, if time is limited stick with Scripture. But there are many good books and resources that can help us grow. I find that the more I read it helps me as a pastor. It encourages me and helps me in my ministry.
I also encourage you to read a variety of things if you are able. I try to read through the New Horizons, the monthly magazine that our denomination puts out and also the Ordained Servant that is for church officers. Both are found at opc.org. I try and read World Magazine, which gives the news from a Christian perspective. I like history and theology books most of all, I guess. But I also need to make sure that I don’t get stuck in a rut reading the same types of things all the time.
Here are a couple of recommendations for you to look at further:
Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life by John Calvin.
I’ve had this little booklet for many years and never bothered to take the time to read it. It is short and it is a portion of Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. What I really enjoyed was the bite sized portions of practical advice for living the Christian life.
The Problem of Slavery in Christian America by Joel McDurmon
I didn’t read this book this year, but it is a must read for anyone who wants an eye-opening look at American History. We must be honest with the past.
I put links to both of those books for you to check out on your own. If you are like me, I am finding I am using my kindle more often not just to save money but space on the bookshelf as well.