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What's Your Favorite Book?
Thursday, July 13, 2023 by Sarah Schwerin

My literary obsession began at an early age when I visited libraries and brought home armfuls of books. In elementary school, I hated classroom reading time. As students read aloud, I skipped ahead and never knew where the class was when it was my turn. In middle school, I hid novels in my math and science textbooks. My favorite part of the school day was always silent reading time. I still love snuggling up with a good book.

As a lifelong bibliophile, I even love writing and talking about books. I used to be confused when discussing literature and someone would say their favorite was the Bible. As a Christian, I smiled and nodded, not wanting to offend anyone. I might have even agreed. But inside, I was sure the person was lying. Or maybe they didn’t remember the last novel they’d read.

Even though I grew up in a church, I thought the Bible was something that gathered dust on your shelf. If you were a good person, you might lug it to church from time to time. If you were really good, you opened it up when the pastor referenced it, but novels were most interesting to me. In fact, I’ve hidden many novels in my Bible, so my pastor father wouldn’t notice. As I grew up, I read the Bible and attempted to study it, but only because I thought I should. It was a drudgery, another thing to check off my list. It wasn’t until I became a mother that I changed my opinion.

Motivated by free child care, I attended Bible studies at my church. During many of the studies, I said little. I listened, relishing the adult conversation. Most of the women loved the Bible. They said it was their favorite book. I was skeptical, but I envied the joy and peace that oozed out of them. I thought they behaved that way because they had easy lives. They didn’t need the escape of novels like I did. As the studies continued, I searched their attitudes and speech. They either had no challenges in their lives or the Bible wasn’t their favorite. How could it be? Had they read it? It was filled with names I couldn’t pronounce.

After a few months, I learned I was mistaken. The women in my studies struggled just like I did. They had real pain and real problems. Like me, they needed an escape. But they didn’t go to novels first, they went to the Bible. As I listened to them talk, I hungered for what they had–peace and joy despite troubles and discouragement. I started to not just read the Bible, but to study it. I made it a habit to study every day, even if it was just a few minutes. Because I had small children, I couldn’t keep up with the homework, but I was consistent. My kids scribbled in the study books and in my Bible, but I kept it up. The Bible isn’t just a book, but the living word of God. God spoke to me as I read. I didn’t hear an audible voice, but the words connected with my heart more deeply than any novel ever had.

As a young mother, overwhelmed with diaper changes and toddler tantrums, the Bible offered advice and encouragement. As my kids and I grew, the Bible kept speaking to me. I learned different lessons and found different nuggets of encouragement in the pages. Now that my children are becoming young men, God’s word is still relevant. No matter what stage of life we are in, no matter what we are going through, the Bible speaks to us.

What is your favorite book?

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart,” (Hebrews 4:12, NKJV). 

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Comments

Candyce Carden From georgia At 7/14/2023 5:45:59 PM

Great post. I relate to much of it.

Yvonne Morgan From At 7/14/2023 11:29:56 AM

Great message Sarah and thought provoking. I’m not sure I could pick one favorite book other than the Bible.

Reply by: Sarah Schwerin

Thanks for reading.

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