When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”
― Desiderius Erasmus
If you’re anything like me you love to read. I even grew up watching famous children’s literature show Reading Rainbow. If this doestn’t relate to you, hang tight with me here. We are about to talk about why reading is important, then, I will show and give a brief discription of my summer reading list, both theological, and some good fiction. I hope some of these titles and thoughts here stir you to more and better reading skills.
There are many good reasons we should read. It broadens our ability to think, our knowledge base, and its just plain enjoyable sonetimes! We should read with puropse, accuracy, and with goals. Don’t forget: reading can be FUN TOO! We also shouldn’t JUST be reading deep theology. Reading practical Christian literature can give you a handle on cultural implications, and simple things that can shape your walk with Christ. Also, read non-Christian literature. This can give your mind time to rest, and allow you an opportunity to just enjoy a simple story.
These eight upcoming points are from “Doctrine and Devotion” podcast. (BTW, check them out! Great content. Link in description.) These are so good I couldn’t really come up with a better list. They are eight ways we should be reading. Credit to Doc and Devo for these clear and concrete points. Here they are:
1. Know your goal. (Why are you reading this book? What is the purpose?)
2. Chose wisely. (Know WHAT you’re reading. Don’t just read things you always agree with.)
3. Get oriented with what you read. (Read the preface, intro, source material, etc.)
4. Read Prayerfully. (Ask God to help shape and change you when you read.)
5. Read Carefully. (Know what is agreeable and disagreeable. What is the author saying?)
6. Mark it up. (Underline thoughts that stand out. Summarize points. Key ideas.)
7. Take Notes. (Know where things are in the book.)
8. Share what you are learning. (With friends, your pastor, community, etc. Let them know what you know after reading.)
Here is a short list of the works I am currently reading, and will attempt to read, over the course of the summer months: (Besides the Bible, obviously)
Calvin’s Institutes is a masterpiece of Christian doctrine, particularly from the Protestant Reformed faith. It should be standard Christian literature for all believers, regardless if you agree with all of his theology or not.
Van Dixhoorn’s excellent work gives modern clarity and understanding to the creeds and confessional documents of my denomination (Presbyterianism), the Westminster Standards. If you’re a Reformed Christian trying to make sense of these documents, this is a work you should get and work through.
New Testament scholar, Dr. Michael J. Kruger’s work Canon Revisited, examines the New Testament canon, and its authority. Where did we get our New Testament? What about The Apocrypha? why are the Gnostic Gospels not inspired? Why do we have the works we have? Why are certian works left out? Why does it matter? This work will take some time and research, but is highly rewarding for a serious student of God’s Word.
Biographer Ian H. Murray has compiled many of well known former pastor of London Metropolitan Tabernacle, Charles Spurgeon’s personal letters to his wife, children, and seminary students into this wonderful volume. You will see many of the Prince of Preachers’ triumphs and struggles in this collection. If you like biographies and memoires, this is for you.
James R. White is one of the leading Christian apologists on the planet. This is his tireless work on Islam. Important general information. Distinctions. Beliefs. Customs. Refutations of claims by Muhammad, from scriptural exegesis, as well as historic citations from the Bible, Hadith, and the Quran. This is one I have been waiting to read for quite some time.
This is a little book on the Biblical story of Jonah I picked up at a bookstore. I love Sinclair Ferguson’s expositions, and I expect this one to be both deep and practical.
I love comics. I love Marvel. Stephen King is one of the greatest writers of our generation. This is a no brainer. The tale of Roland Deschain comes to visual life in this collaboration from Marvel Comics and Stephen King. This graphic novel series is based on the novels from the Dark Tower Series, where the wild-west meets the science-fiction genre, and splashes horror elements throughout. Very mentally engaging and vivid series.
The first two books of this series were absolutely BONKERS! Brandon Sanderson is a master storyteller, and I absolutely could NOT put the first two books of this series down! If you like great fantasy worldbuilding, fast action, and a unique universe, read The Stomlight Archive is for you!
This is just a small sample of some really good books LeVar Burton would so pointedly declare: “of course, you don’t have to take MY word for it.” (Reading Rainbow)