"When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments" 2 Timothy 4:13.
Paul asked for this little known servant Carpus to bring his scrolls and parchments (literally membranes). We are not given information as to what was written on these documents. It is commonly known that written materials were expensive in the New Testament times and therefore the reading of the Scriptures was something that Christians delighted in. Everybody did not have their own copy of the Old Testament, never mind the whole of the New Testament. Written Christian materials were important for Paul, both of the written word of God and no doubt other material as well for his spiritual edification. Reading, hearing, listening and filling our mind with the things of God instead of the things of the world has always been a central component to spiritual growth, sanctification and also the means of propagating the gospel.
Why is it then today that Christians are reading so little of quality Christian books? It is commonly known, especially in the UK that professing evangelical Christians are not reading quality Christian books for their spiritual profit. Here are some possible reasons:
*The internet provides their materials and there is no need to buy books
*The evangelical church is waging or declining and people do not need to keep buying books when their library is full
*The church is spiritually lukewarm and impacted by theologies that over-emphasise personal experience at the expense of solid biblical study.
* Churches and ministers are doing very little to promote the reading of good Christian materials
* An assumption that Christians cannot or will not read anything but a thin easy-to-read book and we must not expect anything else. In other words giving into laziness and accommodating people's personal preferences rather than giving people solid food.
No doubt there could be other reasons and do feel free to make a blog comment to suggest other reasons. It is one thing to diagnose a problem, it is quite another to find the right solution.
2 Corinthians 13:5-6 "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!".
First, we all need to examine ourselves. Are you reading excellent quality Christian books including reading the Bible on a regular and consistent basis?
Second, how can we as ministers and in churches promote the reading of good books? How could your church promote a book of the quarter or book of the bi-month to promote reading and spiritual growth?
Third, when we have conferences or other events, how could you go about contacting a publisher for discount and selling good books at good prices?
Fourth, seek ways to promote the reading of good books. A personal recommendation does a huge amount to get people to buy a book, read it and thereby grow in the Lord.
Proverbs 4:23-27 "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.