For a book lover, there never seems a time when there is not a book lying on the bedside table for picking up at every spare moment. When the latest book has been finished, the bookworm would quickly look for a new volume. If there is nothing left on the reading list, he may consult book review sites to get suggestions of more books to devour. The same can be said for the Christian book fanatic, as believers find that books are a great way to build themselves up in the knowledge of Christ and His love and plans for them.
Book review sites are great sources of book suggestions, but for Christians, there are certain things to bear in mind when looking through Christian book reviews:
- The book reviews are written by people from different walks of life. This means that there will be reviews written by pastors and ministers, while others will be written by laymen. While this is supposedly irrelevant information if you look at the essence of Christianity being simply about Jesus and His love, the natural man tends to put much emphasis on position, even positions within the church. This should give you an idea how to read book reviews: those who boast of their position are more likely to sound so sure of themselves to the point of putting down books that do not agree with their theological beliefs. As such, it is important to understand that reviews written from this perspective may be highly subjective and should be taken with a grain of salt, especially if there are already arguments in light of theology and doctrine. For example, some books like Wild at Heart can sometimes receive comments about points that a reviewer finds difficult to agree with, but that does not mean it is not biblically sound, only that it is difficult for the reviewer to accept. After all, a Christian is not designed to be a truth-fighter, but rather, a lover of Jesus. That is the main reason why a person becomes a Christian, after all: receiving His love as displayed on the cross.
- Book reviews show you a glimpse of how a book affects readers. This is a very important thing you can get from book review sites: how does a particular book affect the reader? This is not merely about emotional impact, such as when a book drives a reader to cry out of pity or regret. What this means is that you can actually get a gauge about whether a certain book edifies Jesus and makes the reader fall more in love with Him. You can detect this in the general tone of book reviews: are the readers happy at having read the book, grateful to His love, and exuding love as a result? Or are they cranky, legalistic, and expressing frustration and disappointment at their and other people’s failures? A good book to consider adding into your reading list is the type that results in people praising His goodness and expressing love back to Him out of gratefulness and awe at His works. For example, the book Destined to Reign always results in people who are amazed at His grace and wind up loving Him back.
- Book review sites should be honest about whether a book is worth recommending or not. To be honest, not all Christian books are worth your time reading. Not only are they a waste of time, they actually result in you losing the joy of your salvation as you struggle to live up to man-made standards. This is not to put down the authors, as they are seriously sincere in their desire to see change, but they simply miss out on the beauty of being called His chosen ones: the ones He delights in and enjoys even in weakness. As such, a Christian book review site should not be afraid to give an honest review of how certain books affect the heart and the spirit, and only recommend books that truly edify the heart and draw the reader closer to Him.
Once you have this mindset in reading the content in Christian book review sites, you will be well-equipped to find the best book to add to your reading list or give to your loved ones.