The other day, I began thinking about why I love reading books so much.
What prompted the consideration was a question from my dear wife. One afternoon, we were talking about different things about to Christian living. It was a great talk, but we ended our conversation with some unanswered questions.
So I finished our conversation with something men do when things get deep–a man-grunt, “Hmmm.” Followed by, “I want to see if I can find a book on that.”
To which my wife replied, “What is it with you and your books?”
Good question! What is the deal with me and books?
Reading is Like Having a Personal Dialogue
I need to make a confession. I’m not that smart of a guy. In fact, there are plenty of more intelligent people out there than me (Thank God).
That’s where books come into the picture. There is nothing particularly exciting about white paper with black ink. But throughout the years, I have come to see books not just as ink on white paper but a dialogue with a person.
Reading a book to me is like having a private conversation with a person who has spent a considerable amount of time studying a particular topic or biblical passage. The person has learned something valuable and want to share it with someone like me. What a privilege!
It gets even better. The author has spent time making his learning easy for me to understand. He has laid out everything in a book in a thoughtful and logical order. He presents good biblical arguments and reasoning in a simple way. He brings it to life with appropriate illustrations to help me understand his points better. And he sprinkles it with helpful applications to show how it applies to my life.
What a treat! What more could you ask for? Who wouldn’t want a conversation with someone like that?
What Does The Dialogue Look Like?
I like browsing through the pages of a book before reading it. I do this to see what the author is going to say and catch his flow of thought. Then I start reading the book.
I imagine that the author is speaking to me as I’m reading the book. To engage in a dialogue with the author, I use highlighters and a pen. I use specific highlight colors to mark what stands out to me. To navigate the author’s flow of thought. And to better remember key sections. I use my pen to make comments. To note where I agree (“Ohh. Good point”) and where I disagree (“Heresy. Get the torch!!”). It all helps me engage with the author and remember much more of what I’m learning.
If you saw my books, you might say they look like coloring books, but there is a purpose to the madness. It’s all part of the dialogue with the author.
Here is the key to get excited about reading books. You have to change your perspective on reading. You have to view it as a personal conversation with a real person who has something valuable and beneficial to teach you.
As a side note, it means you need to be teachable and desire to learn. Otherwise you don’t have the proper motivation or attitude. We know that a car without fuel ain’t going anywhere.
Let’s Get Practical
Give it a try. What biblical topic or book do you want to know more about? Take an actual moment and think about something specific.
Now that you have a topic or Bible book in mind, find a good book by a good Christian author. Then get some highlighters and a pen and let the dialogue begin.
“What should I do if I can’t think of good topics or don’t know any good authors?” You ask. I would suggest you check out Tim Challies’ website. He has a good selection of books and authors on many different topics. He has also reviewed lots of books, which will help you sort through the good, bad and ugly. You can find his website at: https://www.challies.com/recommendations