bus riding and book reading

one great benefit of my bus ride to and from work each day is the 30-45 minutes each way that i have to read. and i have really been able to work through some great books the past few months – reading some new, some old, re-reading some, and otherwise slowly savoring each one as i seek out truth that will push me forward in my quest to live an unstained and unwasted life.

following is a list of some of the books i have read over the past few months, am currently reading (or re-reading), or am planning to read in the coming few months:

let me pause here and remind my fellow followers of christ that the bible should always be our primary text everyday! other books are great, but if we neglect the word of god itself, we deprive ourselves of that which is god-breathed, life-giving, temptation-defeating, mind-conforming, heart-penetrating, and soul-satisfying. martin luther understood this and lived this as perhaps no one else has. he wrote:

“… the Bible is being buried by the wealth of commentaries, and the text is being neglected…”

writing about this, john piper notes that, “For Luther, this is no mere purist, allegiance to the sources. This is the testimony of a man who found life at the original spring in the mountain, not the secondary stream in the valley. For Luther it was a matter of life and death whether one studied the text of Scripture itself, or spent most of his time reading commentaries and secondary literature. Looking back on the early days of his study of the Scriptures he said, ‘When I was young, I read the Bible over and over and over again, and was so perfectly acquainted with it, that I could, in an instant, have pointed to any verse that might have been mentioned. I then read the commentators, but soon threw them aside, for I found therein many things my conscience could not approve, as being contrary to the sacred text. ‘Tis always better to see with one’s own eyes than with those of other people.’ Luther doesn’t mean in all this that there is no place at all for reading other books. After all he wrote books. But he counsels us to make them secondary and make them few.”

in your daily reading, don’t neglect the primary source of the word of god!

* paul david tripp and daniel taylor are two of the speakers who will be at the desiring god national conference in minneapolis, september 26-28, 2008.  i have been to the desiring god national conference every year for the past three years and plan to attend this year as well. the theme this year is “the power of words and the wonder of god.” when i first heard about the theme, it did not “grab” me, but once i read piper’s invitation, saw the list of speakers, and saw the trailer video, i was really moved by god and shown how this is a powerful topic to dig into. and this is an area of my life (and all of our lives to various degrees) that needs the power of christ to change in radical ways. we all struggle in many ways with speaking god-glorifying, people-loving, truth-defending, restoration-giving words to each other as husband/wife, to our children, to our co-workers, to fellow believers, to strangers, and to anyone else in our lives. what we say, how we say it, and ultimately the heart from which every word emanates is of life and death importance. check out the trailer below (and maybe i will see you at the conference):

well, i hope you have your own reading list for the next few months. (if not, pick something from my list and let me know what you think when you are done reading.) summer, in particular, always seems to be a time when people like to pick up a book and read. of course, i would argue that we should be reading – and training and sharpening our minds through that reading – all the time. but i want to be sure to not leave you with the impression that the quantity of books you read is what is of most importance. it is not. john piper puts it this way:

“Reading great books and reading them well is what is important. Meditative reading, reading which stops and ponders, reading which sees deep into reality – that is the kind of reading which profits. That kind of reading should never end for you. “

it is definitely quality over quantity when it comes to reading. happy reading to you!

interesting quotations and/or references

A Compelling Reason for Rigorous Training of the Mind: Thoughts on the Significance of Reading (John Piper)

How Do You Decide Which Books to Read? (John Piper)

The Ripple Effect of the Word: More Thoughts on Reading and Writing (John Piper)

“A student who does not want his labor wasted must so read and reread some good writer that the author is changed, as it were, into his flesh and blood. For a great variety of reading confuses and does not teach. It makes the student like a man who dwells everywhere and, therefore, nowhere in particular. Just as we do not daily enjoy the society of every one of our friends but only that of a chosen few, so it should also be in our studying.

The number of theological books should…be reduced, and a selection should be made of the best of them; for many books do not make men learned, nor does much reading. But reading something good, and reading it frequently, however little it may be, is the practice that makes men learned in the Scripture and makes them pious besides.” (Martin Luther)


~ by david on June 14, 2008.

2 Responses to “bus riding and book reading”

  1. […] power of words and the wonder of god in a previous post, “bus riding and book reading,” i mentioned that two of the authors of two of the books i am reading will be speaking at […]

  2. […] sins: confronting the sins we tolerate” (one of the books i list in my post, “bus riding and book reading“). he goes on to write: “If I spill black indelible ink on a rug you bought at the […]

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