This site lets you list all your books on a virtual bookshelf. People can visit your shelf to see what you’re currently reading or get your opinion on books that you’ve read (Click here to visit my Shelfari shelf). The site also allows you to network with friends and join groups based on similar reading habits. One feature that I’ve been enjoying has been its suggestions of people who share similar books on their lists. I’ll visit those people’s shelves to get ideas for future reading.
I’ve been at this for a couple weeks, and it is becoming an addiction far worse than Facebook ever was (By the way, you can add a Shelfari widget to Facebook as well). I’ll check to see what new books my friends have added, write some more reviews, add some more books I forgot to list, contribute to my ever growing “wish list,” and snoop on what other people are reading.
A couple days ago, in my snooping, I noticed that another woman with similar reading tastes listed a Bible on her bookshelf. At that point, I probably had around 40 books on my shelf, but I hadn’t listed a single Bible. Even worse, after I listed a couple of my favorite Bible versions (The Life Application Study Bible and the new ESV Literary Study Bible), I didn’t bother putting them in my top 10 list of books. In other words, I had Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice ahead of the Bible. I needed to get my priorities straight.
In a conversation with a deacon at my church recently, he told me that he’d rather read the Bible than watch TV or read anything else. That completely caught me off guard. I can’t say that I share that opinion. Most of the time, I’d rather read than watch TV, but for me, the Bible isn’t going to top the stack of fiction I have sitting on my nightstand.
Don’t get me wrong. I like reading my Bible. I do it every day. But I don’t know if I get the same sense of enjoyment from it that I get out of other books. Can I honestly say that I truly love reading my Bible?
There are a lot of reasons why I put other books ahead of the Bible. Perhaps with my daily devotion to reading it, I’ve made it more of a chore and less of a privilege. There’s also the fact that the Bible can be pretty hard hitting, where Jane Austen isn’t going to convict me of too much, except a little pride, or some prejudice here and there. When I read the Bible, I expect to be transformed, and sometimes, I just want to read for fun, for escapism.
I want to be like the Psalmist who wrote Psalm 119, who can’t get enough of reading the Bible: “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (119:97). Over and over, he mentions how much he loves reading God’s word. He calls the law “my delight” (119:77 & 174), and he prays to understand God’s word even more: “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (119:18). This is my prayer today, as well. I too want to see the “wonderful things” in this book and desire it more than any other books.
I put the Bible as my #1 book on my shelf (click here to see the list). My mind knows this, and I’m praying that my heart and desires follow.