What to Read—Solomon’s Wise Advice
“TO THE making of many books there is no end, and much devotion to them is wearisome to the flesh.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12) In penning those words some 3,000 years ago, wise King Solomon of Israel was not discouraging reading. Rather, he was commenting on the need to be selective. How timely that reminder is today, as billions of pages of reading material roll off the world’s printing presses annually!
It is evident that the “many books” to which Solomon referred were not upbuilding or refreshing. Therefore, he argued that devotion to them, instead of providing positive and lasting rewards, is “wearisome to the flesh.”
However, was Solomon saying that there are no books that offer sound, reliable guidance that can benefit the reader? No, for he also wrote: “The words of the wise ones are like oxgoads, and just like nails driven in are those indulging in collections of sentences; they have been given from one shepherd.” (Ecclesiastes 12:11) Indeed, there are written words that “like oxgoads” can provide positive motivation. They can spur a person on in the right way. Furthermore, “like nails driven in,” they can serve to strengthen one’s resolve and have a stabilizing effect.
Where can we find such wise words? Preeminent among such, according to Solomon, are those that originate with the one Shepherd, Jehovah. (Psalm 23:1) Therefore, one can do no better than turn to the book that is inspired by God—the Bible. Reading such inspired words regularly can help one to become “fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”—2 Timothy 3:16, 17.