Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How To Choose Inspirational Books - Part 1

An important area for your spiritual development is your intake of good inspirational or spiritual books and reading material. Regardless of whether you are a fast reader, slow reader, a lover or a hater of reading, in order to grow spiritually and in Christ-likeness you must read good books.

Naturally the first "book" that you must read is the Bible. Choose a good translation and determine to read a portion of it each and every day. Start in the beginning, either the Old Testament or the New Testament, but read Scripture.

Let me encourage you to set as a goal to read inspirational or spiritual books during the year. Set a reasonable goal. By this I mean first, don't set the goal with so many books that you are never able to achieve your goal. But secondly, don't undersell yourself either. Don't be coy and say you will read one or two books during a twelve month period. You know what your reading level is, choose appropriately. It may be 1 book a month, 2 books a month or 1 book every three months. Set a number for your goal.

Let me address two areas that might pop up in your thoughts as you think on this. First, what do I read, second, where do I find the books I should read.

What Should I Read?

Allow me to suggest some areas or topics you should be utilizing as a steady diet. This list could go on forever. One or two a year from these categories will give you a good balance and will aid what you read in Scripture. Rule One - never replace the reading of Scripture with the reading of any book of any category. Simply put down the gossip rags, the T. V Guide, The Soap Opera Digest, the Romance Novels so called Christian Fiction, and the remote control and pick one of these up and read.

  • Christian Growth Books
  • Devotional Books
  • Autobiography or Biographies
  • Mission stories about missionaries
  • Doctrinal or Theological Books
  • Historical Books

Where Do I Find Good Books?

This is a good question. You need several sources to find good reading material that will help you grow in Christ-likeness. Let me say first of all that there are at least four areas in which you should utilize very sparingly and very, very, very, very, carefully.

Christian Book Stores 

(I call them Holy Hardware Stores)There is a lot of junk being sold in so called Christian Book stores that should be burned. Not everything in a so called Christian Book store is worthy of reading. Christian Book stores for the most part are in business for a profit. They do not discriminate about what they sell. They will sell very bad doctrine right along side of biblical teaching in order to stay in business. 

The Radio

I wish I could take the majority of the so called "Christian" radio programs off the air. There are far more false teachers on the radio than there are biblical teachers. Be very careful what you hear recommended or really "hawked" over the air waves. Much of the books recommended on the radio are just plain and simply bad doctrine. Many times an acceptable radio teacher/preacher will recommend bad books due to a lack of discernment. Be careful!

Television

See comments under "The Radio."

Friends

Yes, I included your friends as a source to be careful of. I was shocked how many of my friends recommended The Shack when it was popular. It blew me away that they did not have the discernment to see what a terrible book that was. If your friends are not consistently renewing or renovating their minds (Romans 12:1-2) with regular intake of Scripture, they will not know how to prove what is God's will and good and what is not God's will and bad. Therefore, they will not be able to recommend a good book to you over a bad book.

Tomorrow we will look at seven sources to select good reading material.

4 comments:

Scott said...

I've always found the "blurbs" to be helpful. If the book has recommendations from MacArthur, Piper, Carson, Sproul or the like; you can bet it's a good read. If the back cover has quotes from Hinn, Osteen, Meyers, etc.; put it down and run from the store!

Gregg Metcalf said...

Scott - Excellent comment! I appreciate and know that readers will benefit from your training and experience as a pastor. You are so right, the "blurbs" or recommendations, forwards, etc. are important, I should have thought of them. Thanks for your input! Hope you will also give some pastoral wisdom tomorrow.

Daniel Efosa Uyi said...

hey nice post Gregg . I love your style of blogging here. The way you writes reminds me of an equally interesting post that I read some time ago on Daniel Uyi's blog: How To Answer A Question From Someone Who Believes In You .
keep up the good work.

Regards

Melinda Skipper said...

Life as we all know, can have a habit of putting a choke hold on us and it can feel like a constant uphill struggle. We won't always have somebody to lean on or share our problems with and it may seem like we're on our own. The truth is we'll be in situations like these a few times in our lives and in turn we have to learn to deal with it by finding a way to inspire ourselves.

Ilchi Lee Books