Article by John Warren AntalikaDeacon at GraceLife London
Reading was never a passion of mine. In fact it was arduous labour motivated by necessity and devoid of desire. When I went back to Mauritius in 2014, I saw my childhood Bible and what’s interesting with this Bible is that only a few verses from Genesis chapter 1 were highlighted. This is because when I was young, I would start to read and then give up before half way. But as I grew up, I realised that I didn’t have a passion to read because I didn’t have a passion for the subject I was reading. That was evident when I became a Christian. As I had a passion for God, I had a passion for His Word and so reading His word became a delight instead of a laborious task.
Maybe you one who start to read a book and then give up or as we live in a hyper-socialise, highly technological and hugely entertainment oriented culture, you’ve lost interest in reading or even substituted it. However in light of the changing culture, reading does not have to be a substitute or be a replacement but instead it ought to become a displacement. That is, using what the culture is offering to us and allow that to promote reading. Ebook is a perfect example of that. Ebook, a product of our technological age, has not become a substitute for reading instead it has changed the way we read. Nowadays you do not have to carry a systematic theology with you, it is saved on your online library and is accessible to you wherever you are. So it can be safely asserted that no one has an excuse not to read. But if you struggle with reading I think one of the keys is having a purposeful and practical reading plan. I have called it the 3 P’s for effective reading and they are Planning, Purpose and Practicality.
Many find reading difficult because they simply do not plan. They just pick up a book thoughtlessly and read for the sake of reading. Planning what you are going to read is helpful because you will then likely be thoughtful about the books you plan to read. But even when people plan their reading, many times it’s purposeless and beyond their ability. Therefore they give up on the plan as they enter into February. But things could be different if you make a plan that is purposeful and realistic. It’s not just about the What you read but also about Why and that gets us onto the purpose of reading.
When you plan your reading, you should be at the same time thinking through the reason(s) why you have chosen those books. Many people struggle to read a particular book because they haven’t given attention to the purpose as to why they are reading that book. Reading does become boring when you do not know why you are doing so. When I pick a book, the initial questions that I ask myself is why do I need to read this book, can I read it and do I need to read it now? I may read for the intellectual pursuit of a particular subject important to me or for the benefit of my spiritual life or simply for pleasure. Every year, part of my reading plan is a book on the attributes of God because of the spiritual benefits that I gain from it and books on worldview for apologetic purposes. You may want to read a book on counselling because you want to be able to effectively counsel others. So think about the purpose as to why you are reading and let that determine the book you pick this year.
As you are being purposeful in your reading, make sure that you are being realistic and practical too. Do not create a plan where you have set yourself to read 7 books a week. Be reasonable and do not compare yourself with others who can actually read 7 books in a week. They may have a different purpose in reading 7 books a week. Having said that, do stretch yourself. Seek to improve and get better at reading. There are ways and techniques which are effective in helping you to improve on your reading speed. In fact, you can Join us on the 2nd and 9th of January and learn how to increase your reading speed.
So this Year, ‘Tolle Lege’ - Take Up and Read!
But With a Purposeful, Practical Plan