It’s been said that men no longer read. I have no idea how true this is, but if it’s true then we have a crisis on our hands. The forecast is not good. We will be left with an ill-informed, illiterate generation—men who lack knowledge for encouraging their wives, teaching their children, serving in the church, and living in society.
If you can read, then let me encourage you to read. If you’re a Christian man, then let me encourage you especially to read. I’d say that number one in your top ten list of books should always be the Bible, for this word will equip you for life now and life eternal.
Beyond this, I recommend you choose wisely what books to read. There are more books produced every day than you could read in a lifetime—so be selective. Begin by filling your mind with matters of substance, meaning, logic and truth. Aim to fill your heart and mind with the glory of God, the wonder of his salvation, the freedom of his grace, and the hope of eternity.
Two books in my recommended top 10 would be Knowing God by JI Packer and The Cross of Christ by John Stott. These two books take you to the heart of what matters really matter. Neither is short or simplistic, but they’ll both reward your time and attention. Many readers I know have started both, and yet finished neither. But don’t give up. Take them in chapter-sized bites and enjoy the nourishment.
If you’re like me, then you can read something and quickly forget it. There’s no point in reading for reading’s sake. Read to remember, to learn, and to apply. I suggest having a pen or pencil in hand as you read. When you discover a helpful explanation, a good idea, or a point to apply—use your pencil to help it stick. Underline, write in the margins, put boxes around great quotes, asterisk points that you plan to apply, write practical notes at the end of the book to follow up later.
Better still, write yourself a summary and share it with others.