It is important to make the most of reading time by choosing carefully what to read. In my opinion, it is good to study a variety of genres. At any given time, I have around five to seven books going. Here are my top seven categories for reading:
- Scripture – The rest of this list is not necessarily in any order of significance, but the Bible is at the top purposely. Never let any book- even Christian books- replace the reading of Scripture.
2 Timothy 3
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Read the Bible daily. Enough said.
- Theology – Theology is simply “the study of God.” With this definition in mind, every Christian should be a theologian. Jesus calls his followers to worship God in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and theology is a means to fueling this type of worship, as it helps us systematically process what the Bible teaches us about God.
*Warning: Remember, Scripture always trumps any book on theology.
- Church/Christian History – Church History is an often neglected area of study. But why?
What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecc. 1:9)
We have much to learn from our Christian heritage. We would be wise to gain understanding from those who have gone before us. Church history can widen our perspective, help us in doctrinal issues and apologetics, keep us from repeating mistakes of the past, and encourage us in suffering. The church has an amazing history that should not be neglected.
- Leadership – Personal growth and insight can be fueled from reading leadership books. If this genre is new to you, I recommend starting with The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler, or any of John Maxwell’s books.
Additionally, there are a plethora of leadership Podcasts that are packed with helpful information. My favorite is Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership Podcast.
- History – This is my least favorite area of study. United States and World History have always been weak subjects of mine, but I am recognizing their benefits more and more. As our understanding of the world deepens, our effectiveness in the world grows. Our ministry opportunities broaden as we grow in knowledge of the world and cultures around us.
- Fiction – It may surprise you that I have included fiction in my top reading categories. I am a proponent of this genre, simply because it equips me to be a better storyteller. This is incredibly helpful, both in preaching and general conversation.
- Family – I want to be the best husband and father I can be. There are many great Christian books, blogs, and podcasts out there that are immensely valuable for growth in this area.
I hope this helps you gain a balanced reading diet. If this list seems overwhelming, start with the Scriptures and one other genre.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss