“bring … my scrolls …” (2 Timothy 4:13)
Any minister worth his salt spends significant time reading. Reading other people’s perspectives helps keep a man humble; he’s not just listening to himself. Reading helps keep his eyes and mind open; others can often see what he can’t. Reading teaches the teacher; teachers need teaching, too. Reading helps keep you fresh; what you can think up goes through something like a straw, but deliberately exposing your mind to the words of others turns that straw into a fire hose.
So what am I reading these days? Obviously, I’m majoring on things with the apostle Paul in mind as we read through, and I preach through, Paul’s letters this year in the Daily Disciple project. You can see a list of what I’m reading through in that regard on a previous post. Obviously, some of those works are “reference works” and don’t lend themselves to “cover-to-cover” reading, but are designed for “consultation reading.”
But what of things not related to Paul and not “consultation reading?” You can keep up with such by checking out the sources for the quotes I regularly share via MoSt Church’s e-News and on this blog. If you’ve been paying attention to those sources, you know I’ve been paying close attention of late to Eugene Peterson’s first two volumes of his projected five-volume series – Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places and Eat This Book – as well as N.T. Wright’s “already classic” Simply Christian. All three have been especially “good stuff” I would highly recommend to all!
There’s also another sort of reading I do that’s quite simple – I pick out one book that I read through very, very slowly through the year, taking the whole year to do it. This year’s book for me is John Piper’s latest – What Jesus Demands from the World. Divided into fifty segments, it’s perfectly suited for a once-a-week, through-the-year sort of reading. I suspect already it will help me keep in mind this year what last year’s emphasis in my sermons was all about – the toughest things Jesus said.
Feed your mind. Read. read good stuff. Read with the Lord in mind.