Thursday, August 13, 2009

Discipline to Read!

Reading is a discipline and as Donald Whitney once said, “Discipline without direction is drudgery.” Some of you may be intimidated to read non-fiction/ theological stuff. I’ve found it to be immensely edifying though it was definitely a learned discipline. As a youth I’d read comic books and an occasional fiction book- which I’m not disregarding, but we need to challenge ourselves. So allow me to suggest a plan for you that seems to work for me (most times). My biggest problem with books is that I get drawn in easily and discouraged once I realize that I’m trying to read 17 books at a time! This is where the discipline comes in.

On Mondays and Tuesdays my goal is to read something from a “classic”. You need to read old stuff. Right now for example I’m working through Augustine’s Confessions. On Wednesdays and Thursdays my goal is to read something “contemporary”. These are the days I have the least spare time available so it forces me to read more old stuff than new which is good. Currently I’m working through Russell Moore’s new book Adopted for Life. On Fridays and Saturdays my goal is to read “commentary”. This is reading that is directed toward the study of the Bible (which I haven’t mentioned because that is a book to be read daily). Right now I’m reading parts of Derek Kidner’s commentary on Ezra and Nehemiah from the Tyndale set. Sundays is either a potpourri day (catch up on any of the aforementioned books) or a break day (watch football).

This plan- classics/ contemporary/ commentary- guards against getting bogged down, bored, or just listening to one author for a long period of time (in case you are like me, a slower reader). Don’t worry about how many pages you cover. Just make forward progress and be willing to punt. If it is a bad or unhelpful book don’t feel guilty about not finishing it. Remember reading isn’t about boasting in your intellectualism. That’s idolatry of the self. Reading is about growing in Christ and exercising your mind to the glory of God. So start reading!

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