Read Ecclesiastes 12:12-13
12-13 But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. There’s no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you’re no good for anything else. The last and final word is this:
Do what he tells you. (THE MESSAGE)
Many of us have had the experience of someone urging us to read a particular book. It has changed their life and they assure us it will change our life as well.
This can present some problems. What if we don’t particularly like the book? What do we say when we give it back? Then again, perhaps we have enough to read and enough to do without an extra book on our shelves. However we think it is impolite to refuse the offer and so take the book and either take the time to read it or let it gather dust till we return it.
It is understandable that we recommend good books to one another. They can be life-changing. But most books aren’t. If reading books alone brought about maturity, many of us would be models of Christian living. Books can help, even those urged on us by others. But different books appeal to different people. God has made us different and what encourages one person may irritate another.
The best a book can do is to urge us to draw closer to the life-changing God. They can’t effect the change themselves. As our ancient writer says, lots of books are published. Some are a great blessing; others are mere revenue earners for publishers. In the end, what matters is to honour and obey God. Reading books can be a means to that end, but never a substitute for it.