Pastor Nathan's Newsletter Article September 2019
Christian: Work to Become a Reader Nathan Moore, Associate Pastor
I love to read. I hate to read. I'm a slow reader. I don't have time to read, I can't focus enough to read.
Chances are, at one point or another, you've probably said one (or maybe all) of the statements above. There seem to be two kinds of people in the world: those who love to read and those who think they hate to read. But can a Christian hate to read? Is that even allowed?
Now I can't share with you all the merits of reading in this short article (not surprisingly I can recommend several books on reading), but I want to give you three reasons why I believe all Christians should work to develop the discipline of reading. Though I admit I wonder, will non-readers even read this article?
Reason 1: God has chosen to reveal himself through words, I suppose he could have sent a movie, or a piece of art, or whatever. But God, who created the whole cosmos by the word of his mouth, who invented language in Eden, chose to reveal himself through words. Even when revealing himself on Mount Sinai, he covered himself with a cloud and gave Moses a book-a very, very heavy book. With his very finger (Deuteronomy 9:9-10), God gave words to his people-words that are lasting, permanent, and fixed. And he didn't stop there, he proceeded to give lots of other words for "all Scripture is breathed out by God" (2 Timothy3:16). Words are a medium blessed by God. And if you want to know God, you must access him through words. Christians must be readers.
Reason 2: To be a disciple is to be a learner. Literally. "Disciple" literally means to be a "learner." Following Christ means that we have committed to adopting the life-long mindset of learning. As David Mathis says, "Teaching and learning are at the heart of our faith... Our master is the consummate teacher, and the central task of his under-shepherds in the local church is teaching." In other words, we are a community of learners. Collections of words (known as books), whether they are about the Bible, about the Christian life, or about the world God has made, are central to the task of learning.
Reason 3: God has given books as a gift. Ephesians 4 speaks of how Christ "gave gifts to men" (4:8). He later identifies one of those gifts as "teachers" (4:11) who are to "equip the saints for the work of ministry... until we all attain... mature manhood" (4:12-13). For sure, much of that teaching comes through the ministry of the Word in your local church. But how much more teaching is contained in books?! Books give you access to the wisdom and knowledge of others. Others who are wiser than you (and me!), more mature than you, or just plain different than you. The best books contain sentences or stories or ideas that will instruct you, challenge you, inspire you, and motivate you: books will change you. It is hard to despise books without being guilty of despising wisdom for "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Proverbs 1:7)
Several of our Equip Classes this fall center around books. They are essentially reading groups. That is, participants will read a chapter or two at home during the week and then come together to discuss it on Sunday evenings. Reading is a skill, a skill that is learned and practiced. If reading is a discipline you need to grow in, consider joining one of these Equip classes. They are gently paced and will provide accountability and discussion which is sure to enrich your reading experience.