I read…a lot. I typically read several books at once and will hurry through some, while pacing through others. Books like Grudem’s Bible Doctrine and 12 Sermons by Spurgeon on Prayer have to be read slowly and I typically try to ingest about a chapter each week.
Other books, I get in my hands and read in as few settings as possible. I’ve actually found that if the book centers on one central idea, this is the best way to walk away with that singular idea in mind.
But I’m learning to combat a habit I have, and I’ll bet that I’m not the only one.
Usually when I read a book by a Christian author, I automatically insert my understanding of the Gospel into it, and neglect to take the time to consider the author’s views on it. I find that too often, I gloss over it and press my belief structure down on top of their own. In doing that, I’ve often found myself following the author down a path to solve a problem that I don’t think is really a problem.
See the problem?
Here’s what I’m learning. There’s one central question that I have to ask of any book I read:
What does this say about the Gospel?
Asking this question will save us all a lot of headaches. A faulty understanding of the Gospel – and while this isn’t a post about Rob Bell, his books would certainly fall under this category regardless of what he says he believes (his books tell a different story altogether) – leads to a diminished view of God, an elevated view of ourselves, and a general rejection of the truth of the Bible.
So the next time you pick up a Christian book, or a church book, or any non-fiction book in general, ask yourself what the author is saying about the Gospel. You’ll be surprised by what you read.