Reading Well Pt. 2

Among the great books I’ve read by a contemporary author is just about anything by Warren Wiersbe. From his “Be” series commentaries to his compilations of Christian biographies, I dig this guy. His commentaries are full of application for the New Testament believer, while giving plenty of insight and context to literal interpretation of the scriptures. As a biographer, he never fails to make even the super-est of super saints human, real and inspirational.

Among my favorite Wiersbe books are the ones that he has written regarding Christian service. “Ten Power Principles” is a great one, and of particular note is “On Being a Servant of God”. Written for the ministry worker, it holds application for anyone who walks with God, since each of us have a “good work” we were created for. In this book is a fine chapter on reading.

In another of his books, he exhorts us to not just be buyers of books but readers of books. He is clearly a guy who enjoys reading for the sake of doing it, as well as the profit he receives from the material. In “On Being a Servant of God” he takes on, in his typical concise and balanced way, what he calls “several myths about reading that ought to be exposed, slain and interred once and for all.” They are:

You have to be a ‘student’ type to be a reader
Reading books will of itself guarantee growth and success
You have to read many books, especially best sellers to qualify as a good reader
The myth of the big library
The best book myth
The myth of the approved author


Since yesterday I ranted a little about book recommendations, I want to hit a couple of gems from the best book myth. Wiersbe relates how he is frequently asked for a recommendation of the best book on a given subject. He says, “I know what the best books are for me, but I’m afraid I can’t prescribe for everyone else.” In the general sense, I’ve found this to be true. One of the most difficult things I do is put out a recommendation list with ten categories that will be given to a group of women in every stage and season of Christian life. On an individual basis, when asked for the best book on end times, (or any topic) I usually respond with a bunch of questions-who’s it for, are they born again, have they had much teaching on the subject already? What I have found great value in may be completely over the head of someone new to the faith, or someone who has been in a church with a different eschatological position. What’s best for me isn’t the question, what’s best for them is. And by best I mean most helpful to their understanding of God, His word and what they should do with both.

Wierbe goes on to say, “A book is a tool, and the hammer that is just right for me might be much too heavy for the little boy next door. I once gave a book to an associate that I found very useful, and a few years later he gave it back to me. His honest explanation was “I don’t know how to use it.”
I love this thought, that a book is a tool. As I said, the objective of a book should be to help us to know God, His word and what our response should be. It should inform, instruct, inspire us. It should rightly represent God, line up with His word, and show us how to be disciples, followers of Jesus. It is a tool, and when handing a tool to someone, we should ask if they know how to use it. We should be equipped to tell them a little something about it other than “this is a hammer, bang something with it.” In fact, we should ask the Lord if this person even needs to be offered this tool.

My daughter scrapbooks. It is one of the three ways we prove she is not actually my clone. There is nothing about the art of scrap booking that I am capable of, not picking out paper, envisioning page design and certainly not using those funky scissors that make even funkier edges. Those tools in my hands will not produce the results they do in the hands of my daughter. Consider why you recommend a book, who you are recommending it to, and what you can do to help it be a valuable tool. We have opportunity to encourage and equip someone in their relationship with God-make it count.

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