Reading is slowly becoming a lost enjoyment. In our media driven culture, it is easier for us to take a couple hours to watch the movie rather than devoting several hours to reading a book. The unfortunate results of this modern media mind-set are a weakened vocabulary, shorter attention spans, more shallow thought, and increased appetites for mental “junk food” rather than mental and spiritual “steak and potatoes.”
The negative effects of these challenges cut deeply into the Christian faith, especially since one of the cornerstones of our spiritual growth is reading and studying Scripture. When we talk about recovering the discipline and joy of reading, the daily practice of Scripture intake is where every Christian should begin. There is no substitute for filling our minds and hearts with the words of God’s divine revelation. Being saturated with Scripture deepens our knowledge of the Person and character of God, it conforms us to the Person of Christ, it guards our minds and hearts from sin, and it equips us with biblical wisdom and knowledge to live and witness.
Once we have established firm habits of Scripture intake and prayer, it is also beneficial to begin reading other solid Christian material. To that end I want to recommend some of the books I have been reading recently.
Just before Christmas, I finished a book by Vaughan Roberts called “God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible.” This short book is only about 150 pages, and it examines the Bible from the perspective of biblical theology, tracing the whole story of the Bible as God’s unfolding plan of redemption. It is written at a lay-level and would be an excellent read for anyone wanting to deepen their perspective on how all the different books of the Bible together reveal a unified message of salvation.
Just after Christmas, I began reading John Piper’s newest book, “Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God.” The premise of this text is that loving God with all our mind means “our thinking is wholly engaged to do it all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all things.” (pg. 85) This text is spiritually nourishing and intellectually challenging, and I commend it to you highly.
In my discipleship groups, I am also working through three other books. I am finishing for the third time “Disciplines of a Godly Man,” by R. Kent Hughes, and I am re-reading “The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright,” by John Piper, and I am reading one of my top 10 favorite books of all-time, “The Holiness of God” by R.C. Sproul, for the fifth time. I commend any one of these books to you as well, especially Sproul’s book.
I hope you will go down to our Aletheia Center and browse all the incredible books that are available to you right here on our church campus. Right now, we are giving away FREE COPIES of “What is a Healthy Church” by Mark Dever and “What is the Gospel” by Greg Gilbert. These two small books would be excellent reading material for you and your family in the coming weeks. I love you all dearly!