“What Christian books have you read?”

That was one of the questions on my application form for bible college (more on that here).  I scanned the rest of the form and decided  that the two lines provided  wouldn’t be enough  space.

So one night, I sat down, trawled through my memory, our library catalogue, e-book  purchase history, and typed out a 3-page list of books I’ve read  (book nerds go  here).*

Upon reflecting on the last  13  years of reading Christian books, here are some observations:

  • Lots of books on worship, service planning and music ministry
  • A few authors are recurring favourites: for example, Mark Dever, Tim Keller and Vaughan Roberts
  • I’ve only read  two  books on parenting (either I’m deficient in this area, or parenting  isn’t learned in theory  but in practice)
  • I’ve read two Rob Bell books (and found both frustrating and concerning)
  • I’ve read three biographies (I’m keen to read more)
  • I haven’t read many books by dead people (I’m keen to read more)
  • I tend to read according to immediate needs and interests rather than looking further ahead
  • For every book I read, there’s another one that I haven’t started.  I’m rebuked of my wastefulness, for  sucking  in literary oxygen  from social media feeds instead of the books in front of me.

More importantly, however, reviewing my reading list makes me thankful:

  • I’m thankful for the opportunity to read. What a  privilege it is to live in a generation and society where books are freely available.
  • I’m thankful for how certain books have shaped my thinking on important issues: the gospel, marriage, family, worship, music, preaching, and so on. I’ve rarely changed my mind about something over a Facebook discussion. But time and time again, I’ve  changed my  convictions on something  upon  reaching the back page of a good book.
  • Finally, I’m thankful that reading books has helped me to  love God and neighbour better, by understanding his Word (the Good Book) better.

I know I’m not able to read everything out there (certainly not as much as  500 books a year like Don Carson). But I do  want to love God with my heart, soul, strength and mind, as a child who delights in His world and in His  Son.  And one of the ways I can do that is to read more.

Right  – off to read something new.

* This list is just for Christian books – I haven’t made up a list of all the other books that I’ve read.

“The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest men of past centuries.”
René Descartes