As believers we should be reading on a regular basis, in fact, daily. Of course, we should be reading our Bible but there is so much other material that we also should be reading and digesting.
A mentor many years ago taught me that believers are readers. And, he emphasized even more strongly that leaders are readers, I totally agree.
When reading your Bible remember that there is no test when you get to Heaven. So, all the details like how many sons Noah had and their names are simply not that important. The overall purpose of the story has some merit. But, most importantly – and often forgotten – is that the Bible is simply one of a number of tools to help us to come to know God the Father better. So, we read it not just for information. We read it for insight into the character and nature of the God we follow, worship, and serve.
However, we also need to be reading books written by Christians. A word of warning as you choose what to read – there is a lot of fluff out there. Books with little to no substance. Books that are more self-help than Christian. Books that are launching or jumping on a current bandwagon. Books that are heretical. So choose wisely what you read as you want to invest your time and money wisely. It is often good to ask a mature leader what he would recommend and stick with something that has been tried and tested and proved useful and beneficial. Remember, just because the author is well known or has a large church does not make the substance of the book worthwhile.
Add to this the fact that, as believers, we should be reading some of the more popular books that those who are not believers are reading. Find out what the culture and society is focusing on. I manage to do this by simply walking through bookstores in airports. And, even the Relay stores that stock snacks and drinks also have a small selection of books available. These books are what those who travel are reading and usually a good indication of what the general public is reading. Yes, I know, they are usually not written by Christians but so what? Keep in touch with your world and culture by reading some of what others are digesting and enjoying.
It is also good to read the classics like Moby Dick, The Phantom of the Opera, David Copperfield… these help to ground us in the wider world of literature and remind us where things have come from. They give us literary context which is always good.
Reading a book a week is not difficult. My mentor taught me that you simply take the number of chapters in any given book and divide that by seven. This shows you how many chapters a day you need to read to finish an average book in a week. Of course, that might mean less television, less idle (non-productive) chatter, less time to gossip with others, and a cell phone on ‘do not disturb.’ But, believe me, it is worth it.
In my busy life I have chosen to stop watching television and talking to family or others at 10:00p. This gives me 90 minutes to go to my study and read. It has made an amazing difference in my life. And, I read widely. My Bible reading is a morning event. Early, before others wake and phone starts to rink and ding. However, just before bed and after reading my book a week (really two a week) I read a chapter of the book of Proverbs and usually three chapters of the psalms. Great way to relax and refocus before bed.
So, believers and leaders are readers. Reading is so important in the life of a Christian. Summer is a good time to add reading to your somewhat slower good weather daily schedule.