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Any leader should read books because, as I said in my previous post about books—leaders are readers.
Any leader should read books
Where is that in the Bible?
I hope I do not have to convince you that the Apostle Paul was a great leader. In 2 Timothy 4:13 (ESV) we read
When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.
As J. Oswald Sanders says
The books which Paul desired Timothy to bring to him were most probably a few choice works—Jewish history books exegetical and explanatory of the Law and the Prophets, and perhaps some of the heathen poets from which he quoted in his sermons and letters. He [Paul] wished to spend his last weeks or months to the highest profit in studying his precious books—a student to the end.
Read the lives of William Tyndale, John Wesley, A. W. Tozer, Samuel Brengle or Charles H. Spurgeon and one of the things you can learn is that they were ferocious readers. Moreover, they were great leaders in their generation in the Kingdom of God. Were they great leaders only because they read books? Of course, not. However, reading books helped them tremendously to become excellent leaders.
Any leader should read books but not to the expense of the Bible. I only assume that by now you know that I teach people of the paramount interest any leader should have in studying the Bible with the purpose of applying and communicating it to others.
I want to recommend 5-6 more books to add on your list:
1. Any leader should read Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders
I cannot speak too highly of this excellent book. Really, if you desire to become a spiritual leader or if you want to improve your spiritual leadership you need to read this book. It is probably the best Christian book on the topic of leadership that I have read so far. Moreover, it is packed with precious gems and gold nuggets. John Maxwell, talking about this book said:
As a young pastor, J. Oswald Sanders’ book Spiritual Leadership was the first book I read that awakened me to the subject of leadership. No other book has influenced my life the way this one has.
Sanders discusses topics like natural and spiritual leadership, qualities essential to leadership, the art of delegation, the cost of leadership, the responsibilities of leadership, the peculiar perils of leadership, the reproduction of leaders and much more. His book is packed with Bible verses and examples from great men and women of God. It is a must read! And when I think I paid only 20 cents for this fantastic book…It is worth so much more!
2. Any leader should read The Emotionally Healthy Leader by Peter Scazzero
The thing I probably like the most about this book is the emphasis on the inner life of a leader. I love how Scazzero guided my steps into a deeper understanding of this vital principle. To lead out of my marriage, out of my relationship with God and the “rule of life” are probably the best things I take with me.
To lead out of my marriage and make sure I communicate to my wife using her own love language is at the top of my priorities. As Scazzero says, this is the first item on my leadership job description. Now I pray daily for wisdom and strength to continue to the end of my life to follow this principle. As someone said, a strong church is made of strong families and as a leader I need to be a good example.
By recommending this book (or any other) does not mean I agree 100% with everything written in it. Nevertheless, it is a great book to read and my advice is to only take what you sense is good.
3. Any leader should read Money, Sex, and Power by Richard Foster
I highly recommend this book especially if you are a leader in a Church or para-Church department/ministry. Richard Foster writes from his long walk with God and deep knowledge of the Bible, about topics like kingdom use of unrighteous mammon, simplicity, sexuality and marriage, singleness, the marks of spiritual power and the practice of power. And much more!
As J. Oswald Sanders, Richard Foster gives many examples from Church history and from the lives of more recent men of God. Above all, his Bible knowledge of the topics is quite impressive. If you want to know more about the topics of money, sex, and power or if you need to prepare a teaching about these subjects then Foster’s book might be exactly what you are looking for.
4. Any leader should read Approaches to Paul: A Student’s Guide to recent scholarship by Magnus Zetterholm
Magnus Zetterholm is a brilliant scholar—I am sure he does not need my compliments because he knows that. I had to study his book for one of my Seminary courses and it changed my view of Paul. The book is a scholarly research into the different approches to Paul and his teachings over the centuries. He talks how Paul was pictured by the Christian Church fathers and theologians from the 1st century up to our days. Zetterholm did a tremendous work exploring the views of so many Bible scholars and theologians and in his book he takes the reader on a journey to understand how Paul viewed and observed the Torah.
Paul is commonly thought to have left Judaism because he had realized that the Torah represents a person’s ambition to become righteous by means of his or her own efforts.
Want to know more about the topic? Make sure you read Zetterholm’s book. It is not always an easy reading—I found it quite challenging.
5. Any leader should read The New Testament and Jewish Law: A guide for the Perplexed by James G. Crossley
Maybe as a Bible teacher or preacher yourself or only as a simple Bible student you read your Bible and have found a difficult passage you do not understand. It happened to me many times. And maybe you asked yourself if there is a book that can help you understand those difficult Bible passages from the New Testament where Jesus talks about Sabbath observance, or where the text speaks about purity and food, divorce, interaction with Gentiles, an eye for an eye or other Jewish Law customs. Well, this might be the book you are looking for!
James Crossley does an excellent scholarly work in showing the cultural background of some of the most interesting passages in the New Testament. Understanding the Law and the culture in the time of Jesus can make a big difference in your application of the Word of God and in your preaching.
Crossley when talking about his book says:
This book will work with the assumption that people concerned, even obssessed with details of the Law are neither wrong nor right and it will leave the theological issues of grace and salvation to theologians that way inclined the way intented.
It is worth having this book and reading it!
6. The Holy Spirit Is Not For Sale by J. Lee Grady
Thinking at the celebration of Pentecost I want to recommend one of the best books you can read about the Holy Spirit. Lee Grady, who is also my mentor, wrote an excellent book in which he shares many personal and ministry examples of how people today treat the Holy Spirit. Lee Grady is also an excellent writer and his insights will help you deepen your spiritual discernment about the work and the Person of the Holy Spirit. I know I’ve learned so much from it!
Any leader should read as much as he or she can. We should all learn from each other!
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