Books are friends

Books are friends…

THERE’S a phrase that my wife Lin and I have used with our children, and now with our grandchildren. When they are mistreating a book, bending its covers or throwing it around, we say firmly ‘Books are friends.’

It sounds like a simple message, the sort of thing that parents and grandparents would say when encouraging a child to read. But it’s actually pretty revolutionary.

What do I mean? Well, books can change lives. Innocent-looking covers can conceal ideas that can deeply impact the world.

Some of the books available to borrow at St Leonard's

Bookshops and on-line retailers are promoting books for summer reading, with images of people on the beach or by a swimming pool, reading the latest paperback through their sunglasses.

As Christians, this could be a good time to open up the Bible and take a longer look. To say a prayer and ask God to speak to us through it as we read.

How you read the Bible is up to you. Some people like to read whole chapters or books. Others like to read just a few verses and then meditate on what they’ve read. One of the gospels in the New Testament is a great place to start.

There’s such a wide range of Bible versions available. You can read the traditional King James Version, or modern versions such as the New Revised Standard Version and the New International Version.

If you like a modern paraphrase that gives the meaning without a word-for-word translation then The Message version is well worth a look.

And you don’t have to stay with paper! On-line versions include – that offers a whole range of translations you can read on your screen.

Or there are Bible apps that you can download to help you get into reading the Bible – many with daily reading plans to help you on your way.

At St Leonard’s, we have a wide range of Christian books to borrow. Just take one off the shelf and return it when you have read it. There’s no charge or borrowing period.

If you have read a good Christian book recently, please let me know, and perhaps write a brief review of it for the magazine.

This summer, let’s remember that books are friends, and can help each of us grow in our Christian life.

Rev Peter Crumpler

This article first appeared in the August 2016 edition of the St Leonard's parish magazine.