On Book Addiction or The Right Use of Gutenberg’s Offspring

One interesting transformation that I see post-conversion within Christendom is the growing fondness of books. A person is converted to the Truth. One day they are fed a filling theological book and suddenly they gain a growing desire to consume meaty bibliographies and tables of contents. As their soul is nourished by sound biblical teaching found in the printed word the Jesus-puff-n-fluff potpourri-scented-candle books quickly become junk food.

Soon books, books, and more books swell the mind and portions of the monthly budget begin to be siphoned off to fill the appetite. Parts of the house are designated as bookville and the family learns to fear trespassing into that space without authorization.

Walls become knowledge shrines. Plank shelves that once housed souvenirs and cute crafts are now cluttered with Gutenberg’s offspring. Two factors lead to this phenomenon. One is a good motivation and aftereffect and the other is the same ole dragon breath of self.

The good aftereffect comes from a right view of Scripture. If one is convinced that God has spoken to us through Holy Scripture then it immediately follows that we should have a high view of the God-breathed text. (Those who hold to liberal convictions and unorthodox doctrine routinely exhibit a low view of the divinely given autographs making claims of corruption and unreliability. Not only is this seen by their quick retreat from meaningful exegesis into a philosophy of personal eisegesis but it is also observable when you speak to them about their epistemological assurances.)

From Scripture we learn that God has given the church those of supernatural gifting who are teachers. [1Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11] One way that teachers can teach is through writing; therefore, we have a good amount of reliable teachers throughout church history who have written helpful books. Mature steadfastness in attaining truth produces a love of books especially when one is convinced that God has used the printed word to communicate truth and understanding to man through it. Hence, many believers find themselves eating hotdogs on the last Friday of the month since the newest steak has just been released by Audubon Press.

The other motivation is not as noble and forthright. The other catalyst can be yet another sneakiness of pride. Some believers are motivated by the desire to look studious and well-read and as a result spend a good bit of time collecting books that really only amount to puffed-up fixtures. The urge to prop ourselves up under bigger-than-reality imagery infects all of us at some point. In fact, there seems to always be a percentage of propping in almost all that we do. We should destroy that motive whenever we see it in our hearts. [Romans 8:12-13]

Be that as it may, it suffices to say that being a voracious reader with an appetite for true beef is a good and godly thing. May we all learn to balance our ego, inventory, budget, and doctrine by the never ending wisdom and grace of our precious Lord and Savior.

Now get back to that book!

About ostrakinos

Pastoral sojourner in the world. Raising up four daughters. Citizen of earth. Resident of heaven. Taking ten looks at Christ.

Posted on June 9, 2006, in Book Love. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. If only I had the time to read the books I have. What will I do with those coming in the mail?


  2. excellent ! That really needed to be said.

  3. Charlie Jackson

    A wonderful patient of mine brings me twenty some books every time she comes in, saying she is cleaning out her house, and knows I will appreciate the spiritual books she brings. I skim read a lot of them and they are great. I don’t skim the Scriptures, or Oswald Chambers, or Charles H. Spurgeon, but read and reread, and in the Scriptures attempt to memorize. What opens the eyes of my heart, becomes a part of me, and what I breathe out is what I breathe in, that trusted inhalation that I pull in to the very last alveoli, over and over again; the rest is probably not fluff, but might be dragon breathe if I really did trust it over and over. Also, I have learned the library is a better place to get books because owning them gives me the illusion of permanence- some day I will get around to reading this- and there is only one permanent book, that will be my guide at least until I die. Thomas Merton may be better than a comic book but what he says will never sink in tantalizing my brain cells momentarily. What I breathe in will last forever

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