Books are like little black dresses. They don’t ever go out of style.
I don’t think I can say the same for all the investments currently in my closet.
So, set a goal for yourself for the new year. Be intentional about building your theological library in 2013.
Building a library for yourself and your family can be a wise ministry goal that can yield results for generations. But if you’re having trouble deciding whether those new pumps or that hard-bound classic wins out, here are some reasons to expand your bookshelves over your closet space.
Why build a library? One word – discipleship.
- When you build a library, you are compiling some go-to discipleship resources for yourself. My friends have asked me some really tough questions – questions that require some digging! Often I don’t know the answer, but I can direct them to a book or resource that can! Then we can work through their questions together.
- When you build a library, you are embedding a desire to read God’s Word in your family. As your children see you digging into God’s Word utilizing a variety of resources, they too will become resourceful in mining the Scriptures for themselves.
- When you build a library, you are ministering to others. I’ve lost count of the number of titles I’ve given away or lent to others. Books are a great non-confrontational way to engage the lost with the gospel as well as to build up the body of Christ! So, if I’ve lent you a book, will you kindly return it?
What about kindle or e-books?
I always said I would never own a kindle (and I still don’t). The feeling of holding a heavy book in my hands and hearing the rustle of pages cannot be duplicated with an electronic device.
But with the purchase of an iphone, I downloaded the free kindle app and with it lots of e-books. There is something to be said for no shipping fees! Right? Additionally, publishers often offer special deals on their e-books, book bundles, or even offer books for free to increase the following of a new or specific author. You can score some great e-books on the cheap this way!
I still think that old school paper and binding are the way to go – both to convey to your children the importance of reading and the priority on developing good study habits in God’s Word – but there are some titles that I probably wouldn’t keep on my bookshelves but still am curious to read.
HOW DO YOU BUILD A LIBRARY? Here are three tips to get you started!
1. Set a goal to buy one new book a month for one year.
This is a great option if you are looking at books on a higher price point like commentaries, classic works, or reference books.
But, an investment of one new book a week in 2013 could yield you 52 books by the end of the year! Yes, this is a sacrifice! But, you will have some tangible blessings to show for your investment that don’t ever go out of style!
To meet your goal of buying one book a month, join a book club like The Book Club at Desiring Virtue. If you’re juggling work and/or the schedules of multiple children, then this virtual club is a great way to hold yourself accountable to both buying and actually reading the books on your list. The coordinator, Jessalyn Hutto, has a great line-up of titles for 2013. Join me over there!
2. Make a REAL wish-list of books.
When I say make a list, I don’t mean a mental one. Because when you go to Half Price Books, you can easily get sucked into a section of books and nary be seen again. But if you have an actual list, you can quickly check their stock against the authors on your list.
Amazon wish-lists are great, but don’t prove helpful if you don’t have a smart phone to access your account while in a bookstore. So, I recommend keeping a hard copy in your wallet or typed into Notepad or Evernote app on your phone.
3. Draw from trusted sources.
To make your list, start following some of your favorite and reputable Bible teachers and scholars online and find out what resources they recommend. Or start by subject and ask your pastor or trusted friend in Christ for their top recommendations.
Here’s a few of the sources I’ve used to build my book list:
- This exhaustive list by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Daniel Akin includes the best commentaries, must-read Christian works, study books, and more. Download this resource today!
- For reviews on Bible commentaries and other Christian works, check out this source – Best Commentaries.
- I’ve also found numerous new titles reviewed over at The Gospel Coalition on a rotating basis.
- Also, many of my favorite bloggers have a recommended resource page listing their favorite books. For children’s books and youth recommendations, check out Redeemed Reader. For parenting books, check out When You Rise and To Show Them Jesus. For some great Bible study books and marriage material, look at these picks by Desiring Virtue.
If you’re really serious about discovering new titles, look up the publishers of your favorite books and ‘like’ them on Facebook. Publishers are eager to get the word about new books and will often give away free copies on social media as a way to promote their authors. I recently won this book by Dr. Andreas Kostenberger from Kregel Publications and was pretty much over the moon about it!
Footnotes are another often overlooked resource for adding new titles to your library that you probably wouldn’t find on the shelf at your local LifeWay or Christian bookstore. Check out the books of your favorite Christian authors and teachers and see who they cite the most.
For 2013, I’m planning to beef up my bookshelves with some good titles on the Psalms, a few new releases in Christian Living, as well as some books on ministry and culture.
Are you building your library? What titles are on your list for 2013?