Books are among God’s good gifts to us. In my last post, I shared my own reading preferences. But what’s a girl to do if she enjoys reading and is drawn to the “Christian” best seller list more than old theologians? She can choose by reading carefully and cautiously. Simply put, read but read well.
When choosing a title, consider its author above all. It is sad that reputable publishers often promote authors in the Christian genre whose work reads with a disconnect — Engaging personalities are marketable. Nevertheless, if we are being taught through the writer’s own words, they should be held to a biblical standard. The apostle Paul commended the Bereans for verifying his teaching. We should do no less.
Best known for her book Housewife Theologian, Aimee Byrd simplifies tools for honing and testing authors in four easy questions. I’ve pulled a copy of them from my desk drawer:
- What does the author say about God’s Word?
Is the Word authoritative or optional? Can we trust the Bible, or does the author instill doubts? Are verses taken within context and interpreted properly or misused?
- What does the author say about who man is?
And related, what does the author say about sin? Do we need a Savior to save us from sin and the wrath of God or a life coach to help us reach our full potential? Is there a ladder we need to climb or a formula we need to follow to achieve the desired end apart from the gospel?
- What does the author say about God?
It’s sad that this question even needs to be asked, but just because someone uses the word God or Jesus does not necessarily mean they are accurately teaching the Triune God of the Bible.
- What does the author say about what God has done and is doing?
What is the author’s worldview and his/her stance on creation, fall, redemption, and restoration? Is he/she offering our best life now or our best life then?
Finally, Let us make use of the good books God has provided! For further help on discernment, I recommend No Little Women by Aimee Byrd.