Jesus commanded His followers, “Take care how you listen” (Luke 8:18). In the next two episodes of the Behold Your God Podcast, John Snyder, author of the Behold Your God series, and Matthew Robinson, director of Media Gratiae, talk about how we can apply this command to the books we read and the sermons we listen to.
Christians simply are readers. God has revealed Himself to humanity through special revelation, which is only recorded for us in the 66 books that make up our Bibles. Christianity is a reading religion by definition, but we are not at liberty to read indiscriminately.
Christians have been purchased by a King—the only One who can say, “I am the Truth.” As subjects of Truth, we no longer have the freedom or leisure to bring error into our lives. So, in responding to the command “Take care how you listen,” we want to be sure that what we read is as close as possible to the truth of our King, as revealed in His inerrant Word.
With so many books and so little time in our lives to read, how do we know which books will be worth the investment? How can we “take care” what and who we listen to?
John Snyder shares some practical guidelines in this week’s podcast that have helped him distinguish the good from the best.
First, find writers worthy of your trust. Think of the authors you know and trust today. For you that may be Spurgeon, Sproul, Piper, MacArthur, et al. Dig into their writings and find who they love to quote. As John says in the podcast, “Read the favorite authors of your favorite authors; read the heroes of your heroes.”
Second, search a trusted publisher. John and Matthew list a few of their favorites. You can find the list, with links, at the bottom of this post under Recommended Resources.
Thirdly, find a source for good recommendations. The elders in your local church would be best suited to recommend books on the particular themes you're interested in or issues you’re struggling with. Beyond that, a good retailer who is careful to only stock the best books is a great resource. In addition to their own publications, Reformation Heritage Books sells titles by many great authors and publishers. John also mentions that he has shopped with Cumberland Valley Bible Book Service for decades. On the CVBBS site you will find an “Expert Book Advice” page where pastor Steve Martin has compiled lists of some of the best books that relate to common issues Christians face today.
Take Care How You Read
We intrinsically know that we would approach Dr. Seuss in a different manner than we would a play by Shakespeare. But we often do not think about that reality when turning the pages of a biography or a devotional book. Both genres can be beneficial, but each should have a particular category in our mind and they should not be allowed to cross over into other categories.
So how do we approach different genres? John and Matthew specifically discuss biographies and devotional literature for the remainder of the podcast.
In the Supporters-only episode, John and Matthew share some of their favorite books from the different genres we’ve discussed. They also share some benefits and dangers of reading biographies and devotional books.
We are making access to the Supporters-only bonus episode public again this week. This weekly extra episode is one tangible way for us to show appreciation for those who come alongside Media Gratiae financially, assisting us in the ongoing production of Bible studies and other projects, including this podcast. Thank you!
If you would like information about becoming a monthly supporter, guaranteeing future access to our supporters-only content, click here.
Recommended resources during the main podcast:
The Greatest Fight in the World by Charles Spurgeon
Puritan Paperback Series (The Banner)
Recommended resources during the Supporter-only podcast:
*A new biography of Amy Carmichael from The Banner we like but did not mention.