CE_FobZUgAE8QCSOscar Wilde said, “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” And Thomas Jefferson said, “I cannot live without books.” So, I want to continue what I began in two previous blogs by sharing with you another tip that I have used over the years to become a better reader. Here it is…

TIP# 4: Read using Categories…Categories of reading will help you avoid getting bogged down in one area. I use categories to select an entire years worth of reading each January. It has been my practice for years now to read in five specific categories. They are: Biographies—I am always reading the biography or autobiography of someone. The Lives of other people inspire and teach us, providing both good and bad lessons for life. History—remember the old saying, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. History gives us perspective and a framework through which we see the world. I also include in this category books on culture and sociology, which help to connect the past to the present and point to possible trends for the future. Professional—I am always reading something related to my work. In my case that means something related to ministry, leadership, theology, pastoring, preaching, church growth, etc. I want to keep learning how I can be more effective at the work God has entrusted to me. Personal Spiritual Growth—My personal relationship with God demands that I read books that will address my personal spiritual life. These include first, the Bible then devotional books, books on Christian living and personal discipleship. Wildcard… this last category is just what it says. It means it can fit any category; it may be an overlap of one of the categories above. It may be something completely out of my routine. Sometimes and some years I take an area that I have no knowledge in, but want to learn about and I’ll read books about that subject for an extended time period. I also put works of fiction here because I read very little fiction–maybe 2 to 3 fictions a year, so this for me is the appropriate category.

It is not necessary to use my categories to become a better reader. In fact determine your own, it will help you stay interested. The point is, categories help you identify what you want to read. I generally read 4 to 7 books at a time, so I am reading at least one book in every category almost all the time. I know that is not for everyone, I am not even suggesting it because reading multiple books at a time is not necessary to become a better reader. But reading in categories, and rotating them, will help keep you well rounded as a reader. For example if you use my categories and are reading a biography now, when you finish that book, read your next book from one of the other categories and repeat the process until you have read from each category and then start over. One word of caution however…be careful not to create too many categories to start out. It has been my experience that 5 or less categories are about all you can manage without growing discouraged and getting lost in the process. And that is counterproductive to becoming a better reader. Wisdom says to start with a few, 3 or less, and add a couple more over time.

Blessings as you read, most of all read your Bible… More tips to come.

For God’s Glory Alone,



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