Hope for ex-readers

  • Richard Sweatman
  • 5 September 2018

Are you an ‘ex-reader’? Did you read Christian books in the past but have long since given up? If this bothers you, it should. Reading quality Christian books is good for you and for the people who know you. But don’t despair; you can start reading again. Here’s how.

1. Give away your unread books

If you’re an ex-reader you probably have a pile of books on your shelf or bedside table that you bought in a moment of spiritual fervour but have never actually read. They are probably excellent books and yet you will still never read them.

The best thing you can do with them is give them away. Consider if the subject is relevant to someone you know. Take a photo and offer them to your friends online. Give them to your pastor or church library. Any of these things will drastically increase the chances of your good books being read and benefitting somebody. That somebody may even include you if the reader comes back to tell you all the things they learned!

2. Give away your unfinished books

You probably also have various books that you started reading but never finished. These too are likely to be excellent books and yet you will never finish reading them.

This is not a serious problem. Most books divulge their best ideas within their first half. Reading until that point (or thereabouts) was valuable at the time. After all, starting books is better than never opening them at all. If the book cannot sustain your interest, the blame may lie with the writing or your attention span, but that doesn’t really matter. Either way you should give the book away. See above for how.

3. Buy (or borrow) only books you actually want to read

Once you’ve cleaned out your shelves and bedside table, go obtain books you actually want to read. Don’t worry about famous, worthy or impressive books that you feel you should read. You never will. Choose books you actually want to read.

Interesting titles, nice covers, topics that feel relevant, an author you like, a challenge that excites you—these are all valid reasons to buy a book. Choose books that stand a chance of competing with your phone for your attention.

If you don’t want to risk reading unhelpful or silly Christian books then ask your pastor for their advice, or go to just a few reputable publishers (yes, Matthias Media for example).

4. Read with others

Consider gathering a few friends and read a book together. Sometimes, like exercise, we need people around us to keep us accountable. You’ll probably uncover and remember more than if you read alone, plus you’ll be helping others mature alongside you.

5. Repeat these steps every year

Keep your momentum going.

Reading Christian books is such a good thing that it is well worth becoming an ‘ex-ex-reader’. Clear out those old books, find a new one and start reading today. Your life and faith will be better for it.