I am still a voracious reader. But I read much less than I once did. One year I had a goal of reading and reviewing over 100 books. Now I read much less and seldom review books. There aren’t many new books that I purchase and read.

I’m also checking more books out at the local library on very diverse topics. And I’m reading more for entertainment than because I have to.

This is intentional.

With my previous reading habits I noticed a few things happening. For one, I was getting stressed out with a stack of free books that I had agreed to review. Many of them I wouldn’t have bought even at a .99 Amazon sale. Secondly, I wasn’t really chewing on what I was reading.

But more than anything I realized that I’m going to die someday. I started to think through the words of Ecclesiastes 12:12, “Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” I realized that there is a type of learning and reading that is pointless because it dies with you. So I asked this question over my reading:

Is my reading done for Christ or for me?

I realized, thankfully, that a good amount of my reading is done for the sake of Christ. I read to be better equipped to help others. I read to enrich my relationship with the Lord. I read to enjoy God’s creation. I read to be better at writing.

But some of my reading was pointless. And so I gave myself permission to stop reading. Here are 6 reasons not to read a book.

  1. I will not read a book just to say that I’ve read it. That’s pride. Pride is dumb.
  2. I will not read a book to stay relevant. I’ll never keep up. And because of the timeless and always relevant gospel I don’t need to.
  3. I will not read a book solely to win an argument. Winning most arguments is a waste of time. There might be exceptions to this general rule—but for the most part reading for the sake of winning an argument is the type of knowledge that puffs up.
  4. I will not read a book to try to accomplish something that only Christ can do. If I’m struggling with how to be a good husband a book might help. Or maybe I just need to pray and apply what I’ve already learned.
  5. I will not read a book simply because it is free. Send me all the free books you want—but if it’s terrible or even unhelpful to me I won’t read it and I won’t review it.
  6. I will not read a book because I started it. If the book isn’t good or it isn’t helping then I’ll put it down.

There are other reasons not to read a book—but here are six rules that keep me from reading more books than I ought.

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