Martyn Lloyd-Jones: Advice on What to Read

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: My advice to you is: Read Jonathan Edwards. Stop going to so many meetings; stop craving for the various forms of entertainment which are so popular in evangelical circles at the present time. Learn to stay at home. Learn to read again, and do not merely read the exciting stories of certain modern people. Go back to something solid and deep and real. Are we losing the art of reading? Revivals have often started as the result of people reading volumes such as these two volumes of Edwards’ works. So read this man. Decide to do so. Read his sermons; read his practical treatises, and then go on to the great discourses on theological subjects. —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Jonathan Edwards and the Crucial Importance of Revival,”Puritans: Their Origins and Successors (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1987), 369-370. Lloyd-Jones elsewhere explained the importance of this practice in his own ministry: In my early days in the ministry there were no books

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Pastors: Fight for the Time to Read!

From Justin Taylor: Charles Spurgeon, reflecting on 2 Timothy 4:13 (where Paul said to Timothy: “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments”): We do not know what the books were about, and we can only form some guess as to what the parchments were. Paul had a few books which were left, perhaps wrapped up in the cloak, and Timothy was to be careful to bring them. Even an apostle must read. Some of our very ultra-Calvinistic brethren think that a minister who reads books and studies his sermon must be a very deplorable specimen of a preacher. A man who comes up into the pulpit, professes to take his text on the spot and talks any quantity of nonsense is the idol of many. If he will speak without premeditation, or pretend to do so, and never produce what they call a dish of dead men’s brains—oh,

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5 Questions To Ask of a Book

Tim Challies: …It will be helpful to assume that the book in question is meant to address the Christian life, falling under the broad categories of Christian Living or Spiritual Growth or something similar (I would have very different questions to ask of a general market book or of a Christian biography). Here are five questions, plus a bonus, that I ask myself as I read. Does It Draw Its Truth from Scripture? First and foremost, a good book will have a heavy dependency upon Scripture. Whatever truth it seeks to teach will be ultimately drawn from God through the Bible rather than from any kind of human wisdom or experience. In the Bible God gives us the great privilege of seeing the world through his eyes and seeing life from his perspective. Therefore, whatever we teach about living the Christian life ought to depend heavily upon his wisdom. This is the key difference between Randy Alcorn’s Heaven and Don Piper’s 90 Minutes in Heaven—the first is

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John Wesley on how to read a spiritual book

From Fred Sanders: In 1735, John Wesley published an abridgment of Thomas a Kempis’ classic 1441 book The Imitation of Christ. Wesley’s edition was called The Christian’s Pattern. By way of introduction, Wesley gave his readers a short set of directions “concerning the manner of reading this (or any other) religious treatise.” The instructions were not quite of Wesley’s own devising; he translated and modified them from the Latin introduction of a 17th-century edition of the Imitation. So here are tips on devotional reading, inspired by a 15th-century classic, composed by an anonymous 17th-century commentator, and edited by John Wesley in the 18th century; posted on a 21st-century blog. Why? Because this is classic advice on exactly how you do it: Schedule time for spiritual reading, read for a changed heart and ask God to make it happen, read “leisurely, seriously, and with great attention,” get into the attitude of the work you’re reading, finish books, look for action points, and pray for

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Tips for Reading Well

Here are a few tips from Justin Childers for growing in your ability to read: Learn to mark up your books – Outline, underline, index, highlight, summarize, and do whatever else it takes to engage a book. Always read with a pen in hand. You are not just passing your eyes over a page. You are engaging with the book. Set reading goals for yourself – He who fails to plan, plans to fail. If you don’t plan to read good books, you won’t. Don’t just buy books, build a library – A library is a place to go for helpful information. Build a library of different types of resources that you can rely on when you need good information. Vary your reading between old and new books – CS Lewis counseled us to read an old book after ever new book. This is wise counsel indeed. Read only the best books – There is simply not enough time to

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Preach Christ

From The Crucifixion of Ministry by Andrew Purves: To ministers, let me say this as strongly as I can: preach Christ, preach Christ, preach Christ. Get out of your offices and get into your studies. Quit playing office manager and program director, quit staffing committee’s, and even right now recommit yourselves to what you were ordained to do, namely the ministry of Word and sacraments. Pick up good theology books again: hard books, classical texts, great theologians. Claim the energy and time to study for days and days at a time. Disappear for long hours because you are reading Athanasius on the person of Jesus Christ or Wesley on sanctification or Augustine on the Trinity or Calvin on the Christian life or Andrew Murray on the priesthood of Christ. Then you will have something to say that’s worth hearing. (HT: Tullian Tchividjian)