Week two

A couple weeks back, I took up a challenge from our pastor: No theology books, no podcasts, just read the Bible and see what happens.

Two weeks in, I can say a couple of things with certainty: Reading the Bible as pleasure reading in addition to study is bizarre. It’s also really is a pleasurable experience.

This past week, I was reading through Ecclesiastes and stumbled upon a particular verse that resonated with me, and I will now share it with you.

“The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:11-12, emphasis added).

I think I’m really starting to get my pastor’s point in asking many of us to do this. Study is great, and should be done. It’s great to read books (at least books that are actually good). But my zeal should not be for studying or for reading books for the sake of reading books.

My zeal should be for Scripture, the wise words “given by one Shepherd.”

My zeal should be for what God has said, rather than what someone else says.

Bookstores, especially Christian ones, are full of works by authors that, I am increasingly convinced, like nothing better than to show how “wise” or “enlightened” they are. They’re nothing more than spouting “irreverent, silly myths” (1 Tim. 4:7). And in doing so, they prove themselves to be fools. Their words sound nice, but don’t help. Their arguments are charming, but without substance.

It’s vanity—utterly meaningless; “a striving after wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14b).

Why do we spend so much time reading nonsense (and I’m speaking to Christians here), when we could better spend that time with words that matter?

There’s always going to be a “new, hot” author or book. There’s always going to be some new wind of doctrine… but we need to be equipping ourselves through the study of Scripture so that we can discern whether their words are to be embraced or ignored.

So that’s how the second week has been. How’s it been going for you?

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  • Petra

    Such a good post, Aaron.
    -P-Boz

    • http://hardwords.wordpress.com Aaron

      Thanks Petra – hope you’re having a swell day!

  • http://girlforgod.wordpress.com mom2olivia

    Wow, I have been thinking this Exact thing lately! I’ve come to realize that of course I’ll never be able to read every great book by every great author like Spurgeon, Lewis, or Piper, to name a few (that I want to start reading) and who are well know for their Godly wisedom; but what’s more I need not concern myself with as you say, all these Christian authors that overflow our bookstores and leave our heads spinning. Just yesterday, I went to the website for the Nation Day of Prayer, and they have a book section. I was contemplating buying this one book mentioned that was writting on prayer for seminary students; and then I thought, no; I already have a few books on prayer, and really, the one I need to be seeking on how to pray better and more efficiently is Jesus himself. I need to stop running to the latest titles and get back on my knees and ask God to teach me through prayer and by being in His word. Jesus has so much to teach us, if we only take the time to stop and listen to his heart. Blessings, Robin

    • http://hardwords.wordpress.com Aaron

      Side note, I have to say, the best Christian bookstore I’ve ever been to (because I didn’t want to punch myself in the face) was in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, when I was doing an interview there last fall.

      The place was FULL of Spurgeon and John Bunyan. It was like a little piece of theology geek heaven… in Dartmouth.

      Back on topic, it’s always sneaky how there’s that urge to pick up a new book to see what it has to say, rather than the one we know is right, right?

      Glad this post was beneficial, Robin – have a great night!