Why I Read Christian Books All Wrong

I have a problem – a reading problem. When I read certain Christian books (especially those written by Puritans and the modern-day writers who love them), I can walk away from their paragraphs and pages discouraged, rather than built up and spurred on in the faith. I’ve felt everything from prideful offense at these books, wanting them back on the bookshelf, to embarrassment, as I fight a sense of defeat.

But why?

These are rock-solid books. Faithful books. God-glorifying, Christ-exalting, gospel-centered books, many of which have stood the test of time, and for good reason. So what is my problem? What is it within me that causes me to read this way?

The problem is with my heart, which is easily deceived. I forget important realities that should filter all the reading we, as Christians, do:

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2016 Reading Favorites

In closing the 2016 reading year, a few lessons come to mind that I’ll take with me into 2017:

  • I will read fewer books, and slow down with them, if it means enjoying and comprehending more of what I read.
  • I will choose better books rather than more books.
  • I will ask for more book recommendations.

I used Tim Challies’ Reading Challenge this year, which was useful in helping me read beyond categories that I would normally read. But, as the adage goes, “Know thyself,” I should’ve predicted that my Type A personality would steal some of the joy of this challenge, in favor of meeting (or beating) my reading goal.

Regardless, 2016 was a year of great books. The titles I’m sharing with you below were my favorites, and they follow the criteria I used in last year’s Reading Favorites article:

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6 Great Books to Read at the Start of the New Year

What would it look like for you to know Christ in 2017?

Resolutions toward physical fitness, habit changes, and life goals are commonplace in any given December, and when placed under God’s ultimate control, these are good pursuits. But there’s a better pursuit, the Bible tells us, one that takes to heart—well, our hearts.

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:7-8)

To prioritize growth in godliness for the purpose of knowing God is every Christian’s job, whether at the start of a new year or the dawn of each new day. Morning by morning, as we wake up with breath in our lungs, we’re beckoned to spend our moments on the greatest pursuit in existence: to know Jesus more intimately and to become like him.

One way to move toward this goal? Read great books. Not just any Christian books—great books. Books bursting with true, theological riches. Pages plumbing the depths of the gospel of Jesus. Titles trumpeting the value of holiness, the perfection of God’s Word, and the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice for sinners stumbling their way to glory. Turn the pages and treasure the paragraphs of great books that will spur you on to know Christ and grow in godliness.

The Bible comes first. Great books follow. Here are six I’d recommend you read this new year…

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2015 Reading Favorites

Well – I’m no Al Mohler, and I certainly wouldn’t qualify for Tim Challies’ “obsessed” category on his Reading Challenge…but I read more books this year than I thought possible. Shout out to Tony Reinke, whose book Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books spurred me on to do so! 

My husband and I decided to set aside other activities (ahem, television) in favor of reading. While “obsessed” may not be the right word, we are certainly more hungry than ever to research good titles, put together a hearty stack of reads, refine our note-taking process, and then mull over and discuss our thoughts about each book upon its completion.  Continue reading