The God we serve is a relational God. He communicates with us. He speaks and he listens. He has also created us as relational beings, created to communicate. Through communication we can know God and know each other, as well as the world around us.
The Bible is God's primary source of communication to us - a book. Through it inspired words He has revealed himself to us and his plan for our lives. We read to know him as a person, as well as for wisdom, comfort and inspiration. The Bible is relevant for our lives and is our authoritative guide to living a life that pleases God.
The Bible is THE book that we should read and meditate on. It is our authoritative guide for life. However, we need to understand that’s its primary goal is to tell us the story of God’s plan for the ages. Although is also has information and insight into a wide variety of other areas of life, it is not a textbook containing everything we need to know. We must also take time to read our world, to read other people, to read events, and to learn from history. God is speaking through everything that is taking place around us. We must learn to hear his voice in many contexts.
Solomon was given wisdom as a gift from God but he also acquired wisdom from studying and observing God's world (see 1 Kings 5:29-34). We can do the same. After all, 'all truth is God's truth'.
As followers of Christ, I believe that we should give ourselves to continual growth and learning, feeding our heart, soul and mind on a daily basis. God's Word, as contained in the Scriptures, is to be our 'daily bread' (Matt.4:4. 2 Tim.3:16), enabling us to know God and gain wisdom for life.
We can also benefit greatly by reading widely from a variety of fields of knowledge.
A very helpful book about the general art of reading is How to Read a Book – the classic best-selling guide to reading books by Mortimer Adler.
A few thoughts on the art of reading:
- "Have you not read …? [Jesus – Matt.12:3, 5; 19:4; 21:16, 42; 22:31]
- "When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers.' [Paul - 2 Tim 4:13. NLT]
- "Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture … Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress." [Paul to Timothy – 1 Tim 4:13-16. NIV]
- "Who you will be in five years time will be a result of the people you meet, the places you visit, and the books that you read." [Source Unknown]
- John Wesley had a passion for reading and most of it was done on horseback. He read deeply and on a wide range of subjects. He told the young ministers in the Wesley societies to read or get out of the ministry.
- Oswald Sanders encouraged spiritual leaders to read for: (1) spiritual quickening, (2) mental stimulation, (3) cultivation of style, (4) acquiring of information, and (4) fellowship with great minds. [From chapter 12 of his book Spiritual Leadership]
- "Leaders are readers." [Rick Warren]
- "The person who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the person who can't read." [Mark Twain]
- "One half of people who graduate from college never read another book." [Herbert True]
- "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." [Alvin Toffler]
- "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." [Richard Steele]
- "There is more treasure in books than in all of the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." [Walt Disney]
- "Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere." [Mary Schmich]
- "To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." [Victor Hugo]
- "I've travelled the world twice over, met the famous; saints and sinners, poets and artists, kings and queens, old stars and hopeful beginners; I've been where no-one's been before, learned secrets from writers and cooks; all with one library ticket to the wonderful world of books." [Anonymous]