If you’ve been around church for a while, at some point someone has probably recommended a good Christian book to you. They might have even come to you and handed you a book. Good books have been a part of the Christian life from the days of the apostles, and can help to teach you more about what the Bible teaches and encourage you in your faith.
But maybe you’re not much of a reader. Or maybe you read such a book, but can barely remember anything about it after reading it. Here are some tips for getting the most out of a good Christian book:
Make time to read
Many Christians have a stack of Christian books that they’ve bought or received, but never read. What good is a book on the shelf, unread? Often we don’t read these books because we don’t make time to read. If you intend to read a book, make sure you have the time, then make time on a regular basis to actually read it!
I encourage underlining, highlighting, and writing in the margins. Physically interacting with the page helps keep your mind engaged as you read, and when you come back to the book later you’ll be able to see what stood out to you from the first reading.
What’s the point?
At the end of each chapter, answer the questions “what’s the point?” If it helps, you might even write out or type out a single-sentence summary of each chapter on a piece of paper or in a digital document. This will help you understand the flow and progression of the book, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. It will help you retain more of the reading, and it will help you explain to others what you’re reading.
Note any questions that come to mind as you read
Sometimes an author makes a statement that raises questions in our minds: “is that true?” “Is that biblical?” Taking note of these questions is valuable for at least two reasons: 1.) you can see if the author ever answers this question later in the book, or 2.) you might keep that question and do further research on it. That question might even lead you to read another book down the line.
I’m a big fan of audiobooks. You don’t always have time to sit down, sit still, and read a book. Audiobooks allow you the flexibility to listen as you do other things. I’ve found that I don’t retain quite as much from an audiobook when compared to a regular book. But isn’t listening to an audiobook better than not reading at all?
Finally, note any ways in which this book can connect with your daily life. What’s the takeaway? How should reading this book change a belief, action, attitude, or habit of yours?
Hopefully these tips will help you get more out of the books that you read!