The Apostle Paul was used of the Holy Spirit to write, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.”(II Tim. 2:15) I believe that a faithful pastor must with great passion seek to understand the Word of God! The call to preach is a call to study, understand, and ex positionally teach what they have learned from God’s Holy Word! This cannot be done correctly without hours and hours of weekly study. Paul also said to Timothy, “Give attention to reading.” I know he was speaking of the public reading of the Word there but certainly Paul was tying together public reading after personal reading of that divine Word! While in prison Paul asked young Timothy to bring his scrolls and parchments. A careful study reveals that he is asking for some copies of the Old Testament and some books or notes that he has need of. What is interesting is Paul goes on to says " whatever yo do don't forget to bring the parchments." This is not because Paul did not have a television, gym, games or something else to help him with his boredom. Not at all, it was because he wanted to study more about God for his own good and to share what he learned with others.
I am sure that nearly every pastor has a TV set, and would not think in these days of being without a car, a cell phone, laptop or Ipad but what about his Bible and his books? In my early years as a pastor my mentor Pastor Ralph Rickner taught me the importance of reading and in building a personal library. He taught me the importance of reading the right authors and to have the proper resources to study. Times have changed and now we can read books and commentaries online , watch videos, listen to teaching, countless new methods of learning. All these new ways help us to cut down the time and effort it takes to find what we are looking for. But still we need to read and study! It is imperative for a pastor to stay informed and on the leading edge of things. So we need to listen, watch and read consistently.
But may I also encourage EVERY BELIEVER to do the same. Turn the television off and read your Bible daily. Schedule time to read several books a month. Find some good christian blogs and systematically read them daily or weekly. Turn off the music for awhile and read. Lay a good book by your bed and read a few minutes before you go to sleep, ( may I encourage you to read something before bedtime that will relax you not stir you up). Take a book with you to work and when you have a break time or lunch time read as you eat. Find some good magazines, periodicals, short article reading that would be helpful in your growth as a Christian. Read specifically on practical things of life, ( parenting, finances, health, etc.).
Below are some books through the years that have helped me tremendously, in important areas of life.
1. Whose Money is It Anyway! John McArthur ( Finances and Stewardship)
2. Things To Come! J. Dwight Pentecost ( Bible Prophecy & the Future)
3. Revival Lectures! Charles G. Finney ( Personal Revival)
4. The Power of Pentecost, The Golden Path to Successful Personal Soulwinning, Prayer- Asking and Receiving and The Home! Books by John R. Rice all published by Sword of the Lord Publishers.
5. The Fulfilled Family! John McArthur ( The Family God's Way)
6. A Man Called Peter! Catherine Marshall ( What Life is Really All About)
7. The Greatest Fight in The World! Charles Spurgeon ( Our Spiritual Battle) Really anything by Spurgeon.
8. Life on the Highest Plane! Ruth Paxson ( Progression of the Spiritual Life) - A must read.
9. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit! R. A. Torrey ( The Holy Spirit's Work in Us)
10. Books on Prayer! E.M. Bounds ( Dozens of books on Prayer Life)
Why not purchase a book for yourself and begin a good personal discipline of reading. Perhaps you would want to encourage another to read by buying the same book for them and saying lets read this together and discuss it as we read it. Our " Lighthouse Bookstore" is open before and after services where you can go and order a book of your choice
Terry has been the Senior Pastor of Liberty for 30 years. He and his wife, Karen, have 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 1 spoiled dog named Cooper.