At the beginning of 2017 I made a decision to be more deliberate and intentional about my reading. I was falling into bad reading habits, and as a result I was getting through fewer and fewer books, and recalling less and less of what I had read in those books. A quote from John Piper challenged me to schedule reading time into my daily calendar. He said:
Suppose you read about 250 words a minute and that you resolve to devote just 15 minutes a day to serious theological reading to deepen your grasp of biblical truth. In one year (365 days) you would read for 5,475 minutes. Multiply that times 250 words per minute and you get 1,368,750 words per year. Now most books have between 300 and 400 words per page. So if we take 350 words per page and divide that into 1,368,750 words per year, we get 3,910 pages per year. This means that at 250 words a minute, 15 minutes a day, you could read about 20 average sized books a year!
Gosh, 15 minutes a day of discipline really starts to stack up. By God’s grace it has been a fruitful year of reading, and I have learned a great deal again, especially in terms of how I ought to read more going forward.
So, here are the third group of 5 of the 25 books that I enjoyed this year, with very short reviews to whet your appetite. You can find the first 5 here, and the second 5 here. My simple hope is to encourage you to read more and to enjoy your reading more. They appear in the order that I read them.
The Imperfect Pastor: Discovering Joy in Our Limitations through a Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus – Zack Eswine
Extremely disarming and wonderfully helpful reminder to accept and actually enjoy one’s limitations. This was my second read of it and I will return to it again at some point. I give this to young pastors just entering into the ministry.
Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will – Kevin DeYoung
In a year where Sue and I wrestled with God’s will maybe more than ever before, this was a soothing balm for our disquieted souls. His distinctions of “Decree, Desire and Direction” have stuck with me. Well worth a read. Typical DeYoung.
Is God Anti-Gay? And other questions about homosexuality, the Bible and same-sex attraction – Sam Allberry
I love and respect Sam Allberry a great deal. Writing from the perspective of someone who experiences same-sex attraction, Sam cannot be easily or flippantly dismissed. Deals with the same, well covered biblical arguments, but Sam’s voice is an important one in the discussion.
As Kingfishers Catch Fire: A Conversation on the Ways of God Formed by the Words of God – Eugene Peterson
Taken from a collection of Peterson’s sermons that he has preached over decades and divided into sections related to text, this ends up serving as a sort of poetic Biblical Theology tool. Peterson is a master at understanding narrative form, and at helping the reader to immerse themselves in different parts of the text. I hope and pray that this will make me a better communicator of the gospel. Would read a sermon a night before going to bed, and I enjoyed that routine very much.
I am nervous to dive into a book when it has received as much hype as this one has. My nervousness was unfounded here though. Brilliantly told. Surprisingly blunt, honest and non-defensive. A glimpse into a part of American life that I hadn’t looked into before. Simply marvelous. I read it in like two sittings.
Well, that’s the third 5. Will try do 5 every day this week to get us through the list. What about you? What have you been reading? Let me know.