Reading: “When thou comest, bring with thee … the books.”—2 Timothy 4:13
The Christian’s primary reading must always be the Word of God—He has revealed Himself to us there. There is, however, great benefit in the reading of other material that points us to Christ. Christian poetry, church history, Christian biography, and theological and practical works are all a great resource for Christian growth. Paul was a lover of books; we know that he was well read, not only in Scripture, but in the Greek classics of his day (Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12).
During the month of March we will be considering the life of Patrick, missionary to Ireland. A good biography is a great tool for devotional reading. Here are a couple of pointers on how to read a biography with profit.
Look for those things in the life of the subject that imitate Christ. Paul said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Here you should be rebuked as you identify things in your own life that are missing. You will also get ideas for practical Christian living and be motivated to greater zeal, more love for God’s people, and greater service.
Look for the working of God in the life of the subject. The apostle Paul says that the saints, when they saw the power of God in his conversion, “glorified God in me.” I can glorify God in the lives of His saints and pray that others might have reason to glorify God in my life.
As you read about the lives of God’s people you will see He is for them, especially in times of difficulty. When you come into your own times of difficulty, you will remember what you read and be helped. You will see that the Lord helps, fortifies, and brings His people through times of great trial. As we consider the life of Patrick, we will see this in his experiences; scriptures will come to mind that are given context, that are illustrated, and confirmed in him. Lord, may the Scripture be confirmed in my life and may those around me have reason to glorify God in me!
“Books may preach when the author cannot, when the author may not, when the author dares not, yes, and which is more, when the author is not.”—Thomas Brooks