I’ve been thinking a lot on books for awhile, and my thinking was prodded again by a the last couple disscussions I’ve had with my youth pastor, Jon Kopp. What first started me thinking about this topic was when I read a passage from Ecc. 12:13-14 and put it together with a passage I had memorized in 1 John 2:27, the two of them say,
“But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body. The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.”
“As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”
From those two passages we can conclude that we shouldn’t be so consumed with always having a book we’re reading, and we need to realize that there is no inspirational thought that isn’t already in the Bible. Now, there can be books which help us understand a concept from a different perspective, but we need to be discerning in our reading; and not go out to read a book because it’s the latest best seller.
There comes a point when it would be more worthwhile to pick up our Bibles and read it, rather than a book. I’m reminded of an illustration I recently heard, about David Livingston.
As David was going deep into the heart of Africa, he had many men carrying all his belongings. Because of the large load he had given the men, they were quickly becoming weak and unable to go on. Livingston decided at that moment to start picking out a few books a day, looking over them, and casting them aside. Finally all of his many books were gone, and there he stood holding his Bible. He looked down at it, and said to himself, “This is the only book I really need.”
Let me say that there is nothing wrong with building your library, there is nothing wrong with reading a good book, but we have to balance our time and make sure that we don’t become too consumed with reading our books and neglect to read the Bible. It’s also a matter of being good stewards of our money. Books aren’t cheap, and they can easily burn a hole in our pockets. Of course if you’re like Jon, he’s given a set salary just for buying books, and he’s always finding these places that are giving away books; now, that’s a great position to be in.
So take a second and ask yourself these questions. Which book am I learning out of most, is it the Bible? Which one do I spend more time reading? Does the book compliment my Bible reading on a regular basis, or is it the other way around? Am I balancing the spending of my money, or could it be better spent on something else?