Reading for Depth

Quick head’s up. Some friends and I have started a podcast. We talk theology, Bible, Jesus, and life in general. Check out the Colossians 3:1 Podcast when you get a chance!

I am what you might call a bibliophile, a lover of books. I love reading and collecting books. The collecting part has become a hassle through various moves, not to mention a strain on the finances. Eventually, I found (No this is not a sponsored blog post.) If you are unfamiliar with Scribd, think Netflix for books. For a monthly fee, you can access all the books and other media available in their system.

The trouble I am finding is that “collecting” books is a whole lot easier and quicker than reading them. My “to read” pile seems to expand exponentially every week. This stack of books waiting to be read has become an increasing source of angst and frustration. The books I am reading, I try to read quickly, sometimes skimming the material like I was back in college. The goal becomes less reading to understand and more reading to say I have read.

Obviously, this defeats the very purpose of reading. Not only that, but the joy I used to find in reading is circumvented by the desire to check a box. Ugh!

Not so long ago I heard some wise words from Dallas Willard, relayed through one of his disciples. “Read for depth, not breadth.” Since then, I have been meditating on and trying to practice this in my own reading.

Read slowly. Take your time with a book and read to understand. Do not let other concerns distract you from trying to take in and process the words of the author. Read a book multiple times if that is what it takes.

Read fewer books. Use discernment and do not add to your list or stack every new book that comes along. Just become something is new, does not make it worthwhile.

Read authors and books that have stood the test of time. Our culture has a habit of platforming young, charismatic people. I have no problem with youth; however, I grow weary of watching platformed leaders, speakers, or authors take a public nose dive because their fame outpaced their character development. I want to focus on some who have been through the fire and are still standing on the other side.

To my fellow bibliophiles I encourage you to resist that urge to grab one more book. Instead, settle down and read a good book and enjoy it!

To those who are not readers, I encourage you to take up the habit. If nothing else, get in the habit of listening to audio books. There is a depth of wisdom out there waiting to be mined, if only we will pursue it.

Published by Sam Draper

Sam has been with Greencastle Christian Church in Greencastle, Indiana since 2017. He is married to Jessie and they have one son, Joey. Sam completed his Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Formation in 2019. Sam’s favorite hobbies include biking, reading, playing board games, and eating Chipotle burritos.

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