It doesn’t matter if you are thinking about heading off to seminary or not. If you are a Christian college student you should be working on your own personal library. I know books can be expensive. Wait a minute. If you go to Christianbooks.com and search for Crossway and click lower price books show first. Then you’ll be like me searching for books and you will find some good deals on some solid literature.
Gods providence and Christian generosity
Now I have been out of college for three years. My wife and I are headed to seminary in about 4-5 months Lord willing. We have a lot of books to take with us. When we got married our library grew significantly. No, out of the hundreds of books I have, I only have read about 30-40% of them. I have started 50% of them. And the rest are to be used when I get to seminary. Over the years God has been gracious to me in throwing people in my way that have been so kind and generous to let me pick some books from their own personal library for myself. God has given us one Book. The Bible that is to be held higher than any other book that comes through our hands. I love the Word of God and my time in it ought to come before my time reading for seminary or casual reading. Being involved in the local church as a church member has grown my affections for wanting to know more about the church, and what the church is for.
The Lord renewed my love for reading
As a high school student after God revealed His Son to me and He became my Lord I didn’t like to read. I like to read when I was in elementary school, and middle school. But when I had to be tested over what I read I was scared. Books became monsters and reading became treacherous work. However God drew me towards Christian non-fiction books my sophomore year in high school. Books like Sword and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson, or The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis gave me a glimpse into how God can use authors to grow my affections for His work. My heart was hungry to know more about this God I had recognized my life was surrendered to. Christianity regenerated my appetite for reading. Then I began to notice how important reading was for other Christians. I remember being given My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers when I was a young boy. I also remember being gifted a book called What He Must Be by Voddie Baucham when I was 12 years old from an elder at the Reformed Presbyterian Church. It blew my mind how important reading was to the Christian. And now something that I once loved that school made me despise was something that as a new born Christian I learned to love again.
You gotta start somewhere
When I started college I had maybe 10 books in my collection. My mother helped me build on it through the amazing bookstore in town called Vintage Books. I loved that bookstore. I bet I bought over 50 books from Mrs. Lynn Wiman. She was the one who gave me my first devotional. You know the Oswald Chambers one? I am so grateful for all the people God placed in my life to build my collection of solid reads over the years. By His grace I was offered a job at the Heart& Soul Bookstore in my sophomore year of college. There I learned how to find good Christian books. I developed my own method for finding solid books. I write about that here. Finding healthy resources was important to me and I had to pass this on to my friends. Vintage Books and Heart& Soul were places I directed my friends to. Now there are websites like Westminister Theological Seminary that give rock solid books for a great price. Also you can go to Amazon and find used books. You really don’t have a good excuse if the money is low. Often I try to lend books out. In my lifetime I have given out 10-20 books. I only got maybe 5 back, but I am okay with that. What young college students need more than anything today is to have healthy Christian books on their bookshelves or their nightstand. There is a ministry called Founders Ministries who published an article on the importance of churches having what they call a “book table.” They write about the importance of a book table here. This morning at church our pastor announced before the church like he does monthly directing our congregation to the table that our members setup each Sunday that has books that we lend out. It is based on an honor system and I have known a few college students who are utilizing that table right now. My dad when visiting, has borrowed a book that helped him with teaching the kids at his church. I am glad to see this at our church.
Be a theologian in whatever field the Lord takes you
My challenge to college students is this. No matter if you are going into the engineering field, business field, nursing, or parks and recreation you need solid, nourishing, books within your reach. The easiest reach is the one where you don’t have to reach that far. Meaning your own library that is in your own apartment, home, or dorm. The church should come alongside and help you with this if you are having a difficult time finding the right books. In the later years after reading and jotting down notes in these books I hope your son or daughter will be passed down these books and they’ll see your hard work in becoming more and more like Christ. Of course I hope they open your Bible up and see the long term affects of plowing and the digging in it. Books may not last forever, but if the author is pointing you to Christ and helping you point others to Christ then that should cause eternal impact for you and others God places in your life. Build your library, and glorify God while you are building.