inREVIEW — Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books, by Tony Reinke

by Lee Buford on February 9, 2013

Lit! - ReinkeDo you read a lot? Any? Have you thought much about reading? Would you like to read more? As a Christian, what can and should you read, and what should you stay away from? (Scripture aside, not all things are profitable, right!)

These are all questions most of us have been asked or have at least thought about, even if only in the confines of our own minds. Tony Reinke has written an excellent book, Lit! A Christian Guide To Reading Books, and here’s why I think you’d benefit from reading his book.

Reading is many things to many different people. For some (me included) it’s a passion and a joy. It’s something we look forward to, anxiously awaiting the next great and promising read that is soon to be “hot off the presses” (or dropped electronically to Amazon’s online bookstore). Yet, for others, the excitement and anticipation are not there … reading is a task, a chore, and a dread. But it doesn’t have to be … in fact it shouldn’t be, especially for the Christian reader.

I’d seen Tony’s book, but hadn’t gotten around to reading it until Grace for Sinners posted about how much he enjoyed the book and recommended it. I took his advice and decided to jump in, and I’m glad I did!

As a Christian reader myself, there are numerous areas of the book that caused me to rethink (or think more deeply about) some of my previous notions about reading. Most specifically, I was reminded of the importance of reading everything through the lens of Scripture and my identity in Christ. As Reinke puts it,

Scripture is the ultimate grid by which we read every book. Scripture is perfect, sufficient, and eternal. All other books, to some degree, are imperfect, deficient, and temporary. That means that when we pick books from the bookstore shelves, we read those imperfect books in light of the perfect Book, the deficient books in light of the sufficient Book, and the temporary books in light of the eternal Book (p. 26/Kindle loc. 352).

For the Christian, reading is done in communion with, and aided by, the Holy Spirit. But, as Reinke reminds us, “having the ‘mind of Christ’ will not make you brilliantly smart.” Reading will not necessarily make a Christian reader smarter; nor will it ensure the Christian learns or knows more about God than a non-believer. Communion with God will, however, shape our discernment and aide our ability to see that which is of eternal importance. This is stated well in his paraphrasing of the following quote from Puritan theologian John Owen:

The difference between the knowledge of believers and unbelievers is not so much a difference in the matter of their knowledge but in the manner of knowing. Unbelievers, some of them, know more about God, his perfections, and his will, than many believers do; but they know nothing as they ought, nothing in a right manner, nothing spiritually and savingly, nothing with a holy and heavenly light. The excellence of a believer is not that he has a large grasp of things, but that what he does grasp, which may be very little, he sees it in the light of the Spirit of God, in a saving, soul-transforming light; and this is that which gives us communion with God (p. 36/Kindle loc. 550).

This book has a wealth of information, tips, and helpful perspectives that are sure to enlighten and inform the way you read, relative to both Christian and secular books. Reinke offers solid suggestions and ideas in a variety of important areas, including reading with resolve and how parents can encourage and help their children to become good readers who appreciate the value of a good book.

Reading is a gift, a blessing for which we should all be thankful, and it is a marvelous vehicle by which God sanctifies and molds us for the mission to which He’s called and equipped us. I’m certain that Tony’s book will help greatly in your seeing and better understanding this process.

Give it a read, and let me know what you think!


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