Bob Kauflin and Tim Challies recently wrote excellent posts on the place of reading in the life of a Christian and I would encourage you to read both posts. As a fellow lover of books, I thought I would add a couple of practical suggestions on what types of books to read. So here they are in no particular order.
Read Books By Dead People
We have a tendency to love what’s new and current. We like books that talk about new ideas, books by new authors, and books with new covers. We’re anxious to get the latest book by our favorite author. But in all our zeal for new books, we can miss out on the wisdom and insight of men and women that have been dead for hundreds of years. Hear the words of C.S. Lewis:
Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books.
We need to stand on the shoulders of men like Charles Spurgeon, John Owen, and C.S. Lewis. They knew God in a way that few people today do. So read books by dead guys.
Find A Dead Historical Hero
Don’t have a dead spiritual hero? Get one, and then read everything they wrote. Why should they be dead? Because, as John Piper says, that way they won’t disappoint you. My dead spiritual heroes are Charles Spurgeon and C.S. Lewis, and I’m slowly making my way through the vast number of books they’ve written. As I’ve read books by these men my soul has been fed and my love for God stirred.
Read Books That Make You Laugh
Humor and laughter are a gift from God, to be enjoyed for His glory. For a good laugh I recommend “Letters From A Nut” by Ted L. Nancy.
Read Biographies of Godly Men and Women
Few things stir my soul with fresh passion for God like a biography of a godly man or woman. When I read about the life of Charles Spurgeon, my heart is moved to love Jesus like he did. When I read about George Whitfield, I long to proclaim the gospel as he did. Get a good biography and let your heart be stirred by the example of a godly man or woman.
Read One Good Book Over and Over
Charles Spurgeon read “The Pilgrim’s Progress” over 100 times during his life. Why? Because the truths found within the book gripped his soul. I want to emulate the example of Spurgeon. I want to find one book that sets my heart ablaze with love for God and then read it many times throughout my life. Consider doing the same.
Read “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “The Lord of the Rings”