Recently I saw that Nancy Pearcey’s exceptional book on Christian worldview (Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity) had been translated into Portuguese. I let friends of ours who are missionaries in Brazil (where Portuguese is the language) know about it. They thanked me for letting them know, and they also commented that there is often a lack of options for Christian books in Portuguese. Spanish resources are more common, but there are not many in Portuguese.
I’ve encountered this lack with a variety of languages in the world. Some of you know that me and my spouse have had numerous foreign students live with us over the years…from about 8 countries. Sometimes certain students would express interest in our Christian faith, and I’d look for a good book on Christianity and/or a Bible for them. While some of these students spoke English quite well, people usually prefer to read in their first language. Therefore I’d look for a book in their language. The lack of choices was often frustrating. Here is a catalog that offers Christian books in 45 languages and Bibles in 80 languages. Yet, you’ll see that the choices are often rather limited or the books are only on the bare basics.
We are blessed with so many books about Christianity in the English language! Thousands upon thousands! Books on every aspect of the Bible imaginable: commentaries on each individual book in the Bible (all 66!), people in the Bible, geography and culture of the Bible, summaries of the Bible, themes of the Bible, interpretation of the Bible, history of how we got the Bible…it is almost never-ending! Not to mention a plethora of life application or Christian living books to help us apply the Bible to our everyday life or problems. As well as books on theology, church history, Christian worldview, apologetics, evangelism, etc. Biographies of historical Christians to encourage us. Devotionals. Reference sources galore. And the Bible itself available in a multitude of different versions, formats, and arrangements…to make it easier for us to read it. And this amazing spectrum of resources are available for every “level” too – children, teens, laypeople, introductory, advanced, academic.
I hope you’ll take a moment to ponder this. Is your head spinning? Do we even come close to taking advantage of all we have available to us? The point is not to make you feel guilty. Nor is the point to overwhelm you with so many book options that you have no idea where to start…and thus never start. But let’s appreciate all that we have available to us in English and not take it for granted.
In some languages of the world, a person may only have a Bible in their language and then maybe 4 or 5 other books on Christianity. That’s it.
Why not make it a goal to spend a little more time reading quality books on the Christian faith? I know not everyone is a “reader” – yet certainly we can all do a little better. Start with something that interests you and is on your level. I think some people fail because they start with delusions of grandeur – and pick books that are too lengthy or challenging. Often we need to work our way up to more challenging books. While I highly recommend the book by Nancy Pearcey mentioned at the beginning of this post, it is lengthy and involved. An author like Francis Chan might be a better place to start. His books are spiritually challenging – but also brief, written in an easy-to-read style, and for your everyday person.
But more importantly, if you’ve been neglectful of Bible reading, here is a link for some Bible reading plans. They vary in length and theme.