mercredi 7 décembre 2011

What should you read?

Last week i have written a post on the value of reading, from a personal perspective. I wasn't ready to post another one so soon, i planed to do that after few weeks, due to personal consideration. However i received this email from one J.C member, which has encouraged me to write a follow up post!
"Love yr post about reading, so true. Someone famously said that our lives are too short to learn everything by experience, but we can learn from others' experiences and avoid the mistakes they have made, share their lessons..."

This short comment really bring the point I was looking for. The kind of book(s), I think we should read, should be those book(s) that a) is/are aligned with our personal life purpose or targets, b) are written by people we assume possess the right experiences that we currently need.

a) Do you know what you (really) want?

There are a lot of books out there. How to go about selecting the one that will benefit you the most? In selecting the kind of books you should read, i encourage that you considers - i) goals that you have, ii) goals that you think you have, and iii) the goals that (you know) you should have. In brief, draft in your mind or in your diary your priority or priorities. Look for blind spot in your knowledge, and commit yourself to enlighten it. You can't know everything, so choose the kind of knowledge that will respond to a specific need in your life, like: an intellectual need, or a spiritual need, or an emotional need or even a health related need; etc.

Napoleon Hill described the situation best:
"It is most appalling to know that ninety-five percent of the people of the world are drifting aimlessly through life, without the slightest conception of the work for which they are best fitted, and with no conception whatsoever of even the need of such a thing as a definite objective toward which to strive." - 1928 The Law of Success Lesson Two A DEFINITE CHIEF AIM
If you happen not to know what you need, turn to God and ask Him to let you know, what you need to know and be open minded when the answer comes. The primary way He might talk to you will be in your reading of the Biblical books such as the Gospels, epistles and so on. Let His words renew your mind so that you can find your purpose through His Will: "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2 (New International Version, ©2011)

b) Who should you read?

When I started to know where my gaps where in my spiritual knowledge, it was when i started debating sectarians. I read the Jehovah Witness book, magazines and journals as well as the Brahanamists books and booklets. And many other Christian books. At end i was confused! Plain and simple. Then one day, i bought
two medium size books by an unknown author. I was attracted by his name and his book titles. His name resembled mine, so i said to myself "not bad!" It is like that I came to know and started reading Derek Prince. The year was 1999. I never regretted reading him since. God used him to removed my spiritual confusion and since then i can't stop recommending him to every breathing soul that i meet in my Christian pilgrimage. And since that time, i made a personal commitment to never read a book written by someone who has less than 20 years of experience in the Christian ministry. I admit, you don't need to take that as a personal rule, i don't follow that rule anymore neither. But it really helped me a lot at the beginning to "listen" - i mean to read - those with extensive experiences. If you read those who have great experiences that they have harvested throughout their years, you might be surprised by what you might end up knowing after you finish reading them.

I also read books that are up-to-date. This may not be necessary if you read a theological book, but it is crucial if you read an apologetic book or scientific book. These last two are always changing, one needs to keep up with current knowledge in those fields if s/he wants that the new acquired knowledge may serve him/her better.

Thus when i buy books i look at the author, and at the date of publication. These two points are crucial for me. It doesn't have to be like that with you, especially if your interest is more on historical books, biographical books, Novels and so on. Your current interest and need will indicate you who you should read and if the document dates is relevant to take into account. Just an advise, diversify your authors even in the treatment of a specific topic. Read authorities from different school of thoughts. Each one has the ability to add value to your understanding. It helps not to be confined into a narrow understanding of a topic.


Know what you want and need, this will orient to you to be specific in what to read, just as the Apostle Paul knew what he needed the most when he wrote to Tymothy:

"When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, ESPECIALLY the parchments." 2 Timothy 4:13 (New International Version, ©2011)

For Paul to emphasis the need of the parchments over the scrolls - point to purpose driven man. He knew what he needed the most and he also know where to find them - in the parchments. Remember to learn your lesson from those who have demonstrated or are acclaimed to have a pretty good experience. Don't feel shy to discriminate in your readings, you need to do that if you ever wanna learn the good things and to learn it fast (Hebrew 13:7).

Have a good day in Jesus' name.

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