Sunday, October 19, 2008

Too Many Books, Not Enough Time

I love to read, but don't seem to have enough time to do it right now. There are multiple books sitting on my shelf just waiting to be devoured. Maybe you are in this same situation.

I'm currently reading:

E. M. Bounds on Prayer

Institutes of the Christian Religion

Outgrowing the Ingrown Church

This Momentary Marriage

What's sitting on my shelf waiting to be read:

Biblical Preaching

Essential Church

Francis Schaeffer Trilogy

Restoring Integrity in Baptist Churches

Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints

The Atonement

The Intimate Marriage

Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond

Twelve Challenges Churches Face

If you like to read, but cannot find the time, how do you deal with this? Do you read a book thoroughly, or do you skim?

What are you reading? Do you have any suggestions for good books to add to my shelf?


Aussie John said...

I never was able to read all the books I had accumulated. I gave 500 away and didn't make a dint in my "treasure", much of which was simply poor stewardship of time and money.

As students we were advised to read, read and read, and always those who agreed with our particulat slant on Scripture, which I now believe is not only bad advice, but destroys our ability to think.

It is ESSENTIAL to read good books, but they must include those who disagree with our theology, those who are critical of us, and even those who would dismiss us as irrelevant.

We must learn to question everything anyone teaches or writes, with a Berean spirit (Acts 17:11), and we will be amazed that some understand better than we, or our heroes. The hardest thing to do is to read without allowing the tunnel vision preconceived ideas on theology and practice to rule.

What use are we, as teachers, if all we are is apologists for what other people wrote or said,and who were God's men of the day? Has God bceased to be God? Where are His men for today?

As convicted and convinced as I am about the doctrines of grace as revealed in Scripture, I am as much convicted and convinced that a large part of our ecclesiology denies the efficacy of the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who have received of this precious grace.

Eric said...


Thank you for the advice about reading those who disagree with us. I need to do more of that.

Richard J said...

Right now, I'm working on 3 books:

Holiness by JC Ryle
The Well-Trained Child by Susan Wise Bauer
Brothers, We Are NOT Professionals by John Piper

John has a great point about reading people you disagree with. I don't do it enough. I also think it's important to read from different periods of history. Every generation is somewhat caught up in their own history, and it helps to see how authors from different eras tackle certain subjects.

Eric said...

Richard J,

I really enjoyed both "Holiness" and "Brothers, We are NOT Professionals." I don't think I've read "The Well-Trained Child."

You make a good point about reading books from different points in history. I'm trying to do that, but I must confess that I still read way more current books than older ones.

Anonymous said...


I answered the question you posed in a blog post a while back. You can check it out here. I am often asked how I read so much, so I tried to give that answer the best I could.

At the end of the day, for pastors like you and I, reading must be a priority. I make time for it every day, just as I do with private worship, study for sermon preparation, counseling, visitation, etc. I think too many pastors and lay people alike think reading is an optional activity -- I don't think it is. It's a discipline we get better at the more we do.

Current reads:

"A Little Exercise for Young Theologians" by Helmut Theilicke

"The Seven Deadly Sins Today" by Henry Fairlie

"Whatever it Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America" by Paul Tough

"Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life" by Donald Whitney

"Desire and Deceit" by Albert Mohler

"The Courage to be Protestant" by David Wells

"Total Church" by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis

"Death by Love" by Mark Driscoll

Eric said...


I agree that reading must be a priority. Thanks for the reminder.

As for your list above, I loved the Whitney book. It was very challenging and encouraging to me.