Saturday, February 20, 2016

A pastors gotta read…

About two years ago I started reading multiple books at the same time, i.e. having more than one book going at any particular time.  Since then it has usually been one work of systematic or biblical theology, another book that is work-related, and then something of personal interest.  This general plan has grown a bit, at least at present, and the stack in the picture is what I'm currently reading.

Working our way up from the bottom is Calvin's Institutes, volume 2, my reading in systematic and biblical theology. I was hoping to finish this by Easter but it will take a bit longer than that.  I haven’t decided what will be next here, but I have narrowed my choices to two. 

Next is Amillennialism, by Kim Riddlebarger, my work-related reading.  I finished it today.  I keep an "on deck" collection of this category of reading, so I know what the next few books are.  And next comes Preaching? by Alec Motyer.

Next is my Bible.  Last year I read through it using the M'Cheyne reading plan. This plan guides a person through the Psalms and New Testament twice a year and the remainder of the Bible once a year.  Reading the Bible in a year was so good for me, personally and pastorally, that I'm doing it again this year and plan to repeat for at least as long I remain in pastoral ministry.  This year I have adapted the M'Cheyne plan, which ordinarily has four separate selections of scripture each day.  Instead of reading from four different books of the Bible each day I am reading 4-5 chapters from one book each day.

Next is a collection of sermons, and in this case a volume of the Classic Sermons series, edited by Warren Wiersbe.  One of the drawbacks of preaching each week is that I don’t get to listen to other pastors preach God's word.  I have about 20 volumes from this series, plus a number of other books filled with sermons that aren’t doing me any good just sitting on a shelf.  So this year I have added reading sermons to my reading "plan".  I'll add that this particular series has exposed me to the work of Alexander MacLaren and G. Campbell Morgan, and their sermons are pure gold.

Next is something from my general reading, in this case a brand new book about Teddy Roosevelt and his life-long fascination with natural history. My reading in this category is usually history, fiction or biography.

And finally, on top of the pile, is Preaching & Preachers by Martyn Lloyd-Jones.  I've had it for a while and I'm not sure where I picked it up.  I have long known that many preachers highly commend it and two weeks ago I learned of an online reading group that was going to read it, so I signed up and got started.

A pastor has got to read.  A pastor has got to preach.  And a pastor has got to get out and do pastoral care, in homes, at the hospital, and even over the phone.  I am thankful that God gave me a love of reading, which over the past two years has helped shape me as I carry his love to his people here in Dulce.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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