As most know, I am a staff writer for the website GotQuestions.org, and I received a question that I wanted to share as well as the answer that I provided. The question had to do with reading and spending time studying with one another (as well as individually). It is amazing how many opportunities we are given every day to learn … and how we willingly just let them pass us by! Thank you for reading and God bless you.
Our church recently implemented a new program for our elders and deacons. Each quarter, the leadership reads a book on a selected Christian leadership topic (e.g., The Christian Husband, When God Builds a Church). Our leadership team was fractured and a decision was made to change how we approached leadership by spending more time in study with each other. Leaders were given the choice of participating or voluntarily stepping down. One deacon refused to participate and refused to step down, so he was lovingly asked to step down. Things got bad really fast, and he has now left the church. Before leaving, he argued that the requirements of a deacon do not include reading books. By requiring our leaders to study together this way, are we adding to scripture in a manner that goes against Biblical teachings?
Thank you for writing to us. This is not really a biblical-based issue, but more like one person who did not feel they should be assigned reading assignments and so that person literally “picked up their toys and went home”. I am sure Proverbs 15:1 could’ve applied here, but he was already determined to be in rebellion and not willing to budge an inch. As a pastor I’d say this was more of an issue submitting to authority than reading a book now and then. I’d encourage you to try to reach out to this brother if it’s possible, and perhaps work to bring him back with some grace and maybe this information here.
Back on topic, what we see from the Bible is Jesus was learned, and He encouraged the disciples to learn by teaching them, therefore we can take that example as learning is a good thing, for a smart disciple really is a thinking disciple. Let me give you some verses to chew on a bit:
Proverbs 1:5 says, “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance”;
Proverbs 18:15 says, “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.”;
Proverbs 10:17 says, “Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.”; and
Proverbs 9:9 says, “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.”
In just those FOUR verses we see where learning is a good thing … so my friend, learn all you can — because God’s knowledge is VAST and He desires that we seek Him out (I encourage you to check out Proverbs 25:2 for proof of this).
God bless you. ~ Rev TJ
So, what do YOU think? Should we read a book now and then or scoff it off merely as “not needed”?