Most of you reading this find that there is value – great value – in reading the Bible. It is, as the Psalmist put it, a lamp to our feet and a light for our path (Psalm 119.105). It is God’s revealed Word in writing, the library of books in which we find God’s will for the human race, in which we find everything that can profit us for salvation.
Reading the Bible is good for your soul.
Do you also read the writings of those who have read the Bible and found their lives enriched by it?
There is a whole category of Christian literature entitled, ‘Spiritual Classics’. There are varying opinions as to what gets classified as a classic piece of spiritual literature, but the writings of many of those who have contributed toward the church’s understanding of God and of itself generally qualify. Think of people like Athanasius, Augustine, Benedict, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, John of the Cross, Brother Lawrence, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Wesley. Rarely is an author considered a spiritual classic while still living, though one might argue in favour of Eugene Peterson today, or even A.W. Tozer 50 years ago.
Many of these authors can be found online, whether in free books or for purchase. A few, like C.S. Lewis, can usually be found in big-box bookstores. To find many of the others, you have to find a really good quality bookstore. There are few Christian bookstores left, but the better ones will carry classics. Many better general, mom-and-pop bookstores will keep some of these classic writers in their religion section.
There is a whole world of learning to be had at the feet of these great thinkers and writers, but most Christians simply don’t know they exist. Now you do!
If you sometimes struggle for devotional reading that challenges your spirit, consider adding one of the great classic Christian writers to your routine. You will find blessing from their words, and perhaps even a certain affinity, when you realize that these great men and women of the Christian faith had struggles and doubts and difficulties alongside the joys of life in Christ – just like we do.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” (Hebrews 12.1, NLT).