I am a huge advocate for reading, but I did not use to be. When I was younger I loathed reading. Whether it was a book, a magazine, or even an article in a newspaper; I did not find joy in reading. That only changed when I was a senior in high school because my Youth Pastor asked me – and a few other young, immature boys at the youth group – if we wanted to start going through a book as a group. A few of us showed interest and the group began. We would all meet at a local restaurant in Martinsville to grab a bite and talk about a chapter from the book we were going through. By the way, because we were ambitious, prideful teenagers we picked the biggest book available to us called Bible Doctrine by Wayne Grudem and Jeff Purswell. 528 pages. We started with reading a book we would not finish in our lifetime. Actually, Bible Doctrine is a condensed version of Wayne Grudem’s full book called Systematic Theology. 1264 pages. Suddenly our book choice felt a little less daunting.
Over the course of two years, we would all meet together an talked through theological topics, applying theology, and any wild question that came to our teenage brains about God. Through confusion, trial and error, and correction of accidental heresy, we all grew in our understanding of God. Through this process I developed a joy for reading like I had never experienced before. That sent me on a path in 2015 of reading about 5-7 books a year. Today I read about 10-14 books a year. I say that because my joy of reading hasn’t stopped and I continue to read books and articles that teach me new things and encourage me in my faith. The liturgical habit of reading, thinking, and talking about what I learned and believe is not only transformative to my character but spiritually nourishing. The growing process is beautiful.
“Never Satisfied Are The Eyes Of Man…”Proverbs 27:20
In an age where social media and television rule our entertainment (and what we believe), it can be difficult to allot time for reading. The truth is most of us have to make the sacrifice to spend time to read but that is the cold truth of the matter. We all make sacrifices everyday on what to use our time for. Whether we are cooking, watching television, working, showering, or going on a hike; we are all making sacrifices in what we COULD do with what we actually DO. Spending less time watching television and more time reading and critically thinking has helped me grow in maturity and prioritize the things that are most important in my life. I have noticed in myself that I can get caught up in binge-watching a Netflix show or movie marathon if I am not careful with my time. Most of the time I feel physically and mentally drained afterwards; and that’s the problem. When we subject ourselves to mindless activity, our brains become just that – mindless. Now do not get me wrong, I still enjoy movies and television shows but I also am choosing to spend a little more time engaging my brain with reading and less time conforming into a couch potato. My point is to say, read more and see what happens. I am willing to bet that 15 minutes a day of reading, over the course of a week, will not only prove that reading is beneficial but will even spark a joy for reading. However, if you hate what you are reading; try something different! There is a lot of content out there, find something that interests you!
I hope that, if you are one of the few here reading this blog, then you will be encouraged to read more! Whether you choose to read more news articles (from a wide range of platforms) to become a better informed citizen, you start reading 30 minutes a day out of a book – that has always looked interesting to you but you never truly started it – or you dive deeper into reading the Word of God by reading whole Epistles or tracing motifs throughout the Bible. Whatever it is, I implore you – read more, because what we put in is what we get out.
Recommended Reading: Books About The Benefit and Formative Nature of Reading
- Competing Spectacles – Tony Reinke
- Lit – Tony Reinke
- On Reading Well – Karen Swallow Prior