Posts tagged ‘reading’

March 1, 2015

Daily Devotionals: (March 1st): Reading with Profit

by Aaron Dunlop

Patrick of Ireland: A Devotional History

Reading: “When thou comest, bring with thee … the books.”  2 Timothy 4:13

The Christian’s primary reading must always be the Word of God—He has revealed Himself to us there. There is, however, great benefit in the reading of other material that points us to Christ. Christian poetry, church history, Christian biography, and theological and practical works are all a great resource for Christian growth. Paul was a lover of books; we know that he was well read, not only in Scripture, but in the Greek classics of his day (Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12).

During the month of March we will be considering the life of Patrick, missionary to Ireland. I have found over the years that a good biography is a great tool for devotional reading. Here are a couple of pointers on how to read a biography with profit.

Look for those things in the life of the subject that imitate Christ. Paul said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Here you should be rebuked as you identify things in your own life that are missing. You will also get ideas for practical Christian living and be motivated to greater zeal, more love for God’s people, and greater service.

Look for the working of God in the life of the subject. The apostle Paul says that the saints, when they saw the power of God in his conversion, “glorified God in me.” I can glorify God in the lives of His saints and pray that others might have reason to glorify God in my life.

As you read about the lives of God’s people you will see He is for them, especially in times of difficulty. When you come into your own times of difficulty, you will remember what you read and be helped. You will see that the Lord helps, fortifies, and brings His people through times of great trial. As we consider the life of Patrick, we will see this in his experiences; scriptures will come to mind that are given context, that are illustrated, and confirmed in him. Lord, may the Scripture be confirmed in my life and may those around me have reason to glorify God in me!

“Books may preach when the author cannot, when the author may not, when the author dares not, yes, and which is more, when the author is not.”—Thomas Brooks 

Subscribe to these devotionals, learn the history of a man who truly was a saint, and learn how to read biographies devotionally for your spiritual good.

March 1, 2013

Daily Devotionals: (March 1st): Reading with Profit

by Aaron Dunlop

Patrick of Ireland: A Devotional History

Reading: “When thou comest, bring with thee … the books.”  2 Timothy 4:13

The Christian’s primary reading must always be the Word of God—He has revealed Himself to us there. There is, however, great benefit in the reading of other material that points us to Christ. Christian poetry, church history, Christian biography, and theological and practical works are all a great resource for Christian growth. Paul was a lover of books; we know that he was well read, not only in Scripture, but in the Greek classics of his day (Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12).

During the month of March we will be considering the life of Patrick, missionary to Ireland. I have found over the years that a good biography is a great tool for devotional reading. Here are a couple of pointers on how to read a biography with profit.

Look for those things in the life of the subject that imitate Christ. Paul said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Here you should be rebuked as you identify things in your own life that are missing. You will also get ideas for practical Christian living and be motivated to greater zeal, more love for God’s people, and greater service.

Look for the working of God in the life of the subject. The apostle Paul says that the saints, when they saw the power of God in his conversion, “glorified God in me.” I can glorify God in the lives of His saints and pray that others might have reason to glorify God in my life.

As you read about the lives of God’s people you will see He is for them, especially in times of difficulty. When you come into your own times of difficulty, you will remember what you read and be helped. You will see that the Lord helps, fortifies, and brings His people through times of great trial. As we consider the life of Patrick, we will see this in his experiences; scriptures will come to mind that are given context, that are illustrated, and confirmed in him. Lord, may the Scripture be confirmed in my life and may those around me have reason to glorify God in me!

“Books may preach when the author cannot, when the author may not, when the author dares not, yes, and which is more, when the author is not.”—Thomas Brooks 

Subscribe to these devotionals, learn the history of a man who truly was a saint, and learn how to read biographies devotionally for your spiritual good.

March 1, 2012

Daily Devotionals: (March 1st): Reading with Profit

by Aaron Dunlop

Patrick of Ireland: A Devotional History

Reading: “When thou comest, bring with thee … the books.”  2 Timothy 4:13

The Christian’s primary reading must always be the Word of God—He has revealed Himself to us there. There is, however, great benefit in the reading of other material that points us to Christ. Christian poetry, church history, Christian biography, and theological and practical works are all a great resource for Christian growth. Paul was a lover of books; we know that he was well read, not only in Scripture, but in the Greek classics of his day (Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12).

During the month of March we will be considering the life of Patrick, missionary to Ireland. I have found over the years that a good biography is a great tool for devotional reading. Here are a couple of pointers on how to read a biography with profit.

Look for those things in the life of the subject that imitate Christ. Paul said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Here you should be rebuked as you identify things in your own life that are missing. You will also get ideas for practical Christian living and be motivated to greater zeal, more love for God’s people, and greater service.

Look for the working of God in the life of the subject. The apostle Paul says that the saints, when they saw the power of God in his conversion, “glorified God in me.” I can glorify God in the lives of His saints and pray that others might have reason to glorify God in my life.

As you read about the lives of God’s people you will see He is for them, especially in times of difficulty. When you come into your own times of difficulty, you will remember what you read and be helped. You will see that the Lord helps, fortifies, and brings His people through times of great trial. As we consider the life of Patrick, we will see this in his experiences; scriptures will come to mind that are given context, that are illustrated, and confirmed in him. Lord, may the Scripture be confirmed in my life and may those around me have reason to glorify God in me!

“Books may preach when the author cannot, when the author may not, when the author dares not, yes, and which is more, when the author is not.”—Thomas Brooks 

Subscribe to these devotionals, learn the history of a man who truly was a saint, and learn how to read biographies devotionally for your spiritual good.

December 31, 2011

Do you plan to read your Bible in 2012?

by Calvin Goligher

It is impossible to imagine Christianity without a Bible. Without that one book, there would be no church, no worship, no prayer, no instruction, no obedience—in short, no Christianity at all. We might invent substitutes for these using our imaginations, but we would never devise a religion that would be acceptable to God.On the other hand, it is entirely possible to imagine a Christianity with only the Bible. To take away every other piece of literature would no doubt greatly impoverish the church. Nevertheless, with only the Bible we have sufficient guidance to have true worship, prayer, obedience, repentance, faith, doctrine, evangelism, and church life.I think all Christians would readily agree that the Bible contains a greater wealth of truth than all other literature combined. We are used to the idea that without the Bible we can never know God, but that with the Bible we need nothing else to know Him. But how many of us demonstrate this principle in our daily lives? If you’re anything like me, you know that it is far too easy to neglect reading the Bible because we are busy reading history, theology, sermons, biographies, devotionals, or some other literature. As a result, we get our knowledge of God and our Christian experience secondhand, from the hearts and minds of some great authors rather than from the heart and mind of God.

There is nothing more important for our Christian life and health in the coming year than for us to come to know God in His Word, rather than in a series of books about His Word.

To encourage and help you in your personal reading of the Scriptures in this coming year, here are a few suggested reading plans. Each one has advantages and drawbacks, so choose the one you think will be best for you; it might even be a good idea to choose a different plan from the one you did last year.

M’Cheyne’s Bible Reading Plan is a classic. Four chapters per day from four different places in the Bible. In one year, you’ll read the Old Testament once and the Psalms and New Testament twice.

If you are feeling ambitious, check out Grant Horner’s plan. It is deliberately less neat-and-tidy than M’Cheyne’s. Horner has provided ten lists of varying lengths. Each day, read one chapter per day from each list, and you’ll have a year of constantly reading and re-reading different parts of the Bible in new combinations.

Equally ambitious, and a little simpler, is James Gray’s method of reading the Bible for mastery. Taking one book of the Bible at a time, read it right through twenty times before moving on to the next book. Start wherever you like, and move at your own pace through each book of the Bible. Fred Sanders explains the rationale and advantages of this method.

If you don’t think you’ll be able to handle such heavy or rigid plans, you might appreciate the flexibility of the “Bible Reading Plan for Slackers and Shirkers.” Read something from each genre (Poetry, History, Letters…) once per week.

If simplicity, independence, and flexibility are what you need, Don Whitney’s Bible reading chart might be the most helpful. Hang it up on your wall, and just cross the chapters off as you read them—in whatever order, and at whatever pace you please.

Scripture reading breeds Scripture reading! 

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September 12, 2011

On Reading

by Calvin Goligher

The Scriptures are very clear that doctrine is of the highest importance to the Christian. Our religion is not merely a code of ethics, to tell us how to live; nor is it a merely an institution, in which to participate unthinkingly; nor again is it merely an experience, to perpetually seek after. The Christian religion is certainly concerned with ethics (God’s law), institutions (God’s Church), and experience (without which there can be no knowledge of God). Each of these vital elements of Christianity, though, are grounded upon and defined by the Truth that Christianity proclaims. There can be no Christian morality, no Church life, no genuine spiritual experience, where there is no Christian Truth to believe. Truth by itself is never enough, of course; but it is a necessary minimum.

As Christian young people, then, our greatest need is to understand the Truth of the Scriptures. In other words, we need to understand doctrine. Now, we live in a culture of pragmatism. That is to say, our generation is inclined to focus on what is practical, what is tangible, what is “relevant.” We like to express contempt for mere “theory,” and get our hands dirty with “real stuff.” In Christian circles, this is expressed as a preference for “action” over “doctrine.” We like to do, and we have little time for knowing. This is a very problematic way of thinking for the Christian. If we neglect doctrine, we are not neglecting pie-in-the-sky “theory,” we are rejecting God’s Truth, which is at the heart of our religion.

There is a very great irony in this general preference for “action” over “doctrine.” The irony is that our generation is the most privileged in history, in terms of access to information, literacy, and education. From childhood we are taught to read, to examine, to analyse, to predict, to estimate, to search, to connect, in order to gain knowledge of truth. Particularly in the Church, we have computer programs, websites, e-books, booksellers, and libraries full of Christian truth at our fingertips. We are awash in information, awash in truth, and so we place very little value on it. Christians in past generations who couldn’t have even written their own name, on the other hand, paid dearly for access to the truth of God’s word.

The problem, perhaps, is particularly acute among Christian youth. We have been led to believe that the hard work of thinking about our faith is not all that important. The pastors and leaders in our Churches have often assumed that we will find doctrine boring and irrelevant to our lives, and so we have come to believe that it is. So here we are, the generation of Christians with, overall, the best education, the most access to information, and the most free time to devote to learning Biblical doctrine, and we don’t care.

What are we to do? What is our responsibility before God? Among other things, I think we can start giving more attention to reading Christian literature. In order to encourage and help Christian young people in this, I am planning to regularly review suitable books here. Merely reading books, of course, is not enough. Knowing doctrine, for that matter, is not enough either. We must also pray that the Holy Spirit will bless our reading, and use it to build us up in our understanding of Christian truth; in seeking to know Christian truth, we must primarily seek the knowledge of Him, whom to know is eternal life (John 17:3).

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