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?